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Justice Michelle May retires from the Family Court of Australia

In July 2017, Justice Michelle May is retiring as a judge of the Family Court of Australia, Appeal Division.

Born in England and raised in Brisbane, Justice May attended primary school in Coorparoo and secondary college at St Margaret’s Anglican School. She was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to attend the University of Queensland to study an Arts/Law degree.

Before starting her degree, she spent a year in the United States (1974) on a Rotary Exchange Scholarship and attended the State University of New York, where she completed a general study year.

Justice May was tutored in her law subjects by both Margaret White, who later became a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, and Quentin Bryce, later Australia’s first woman Governor-General.

Following graduation, she held the position of Associate to Judge Helman of the District Court of Queensland before being called to the Bar in 1978. Justice May was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1993, the first barrister with a predominantly family law practice to achieve that level of seniority in Queensland.

Justice May has served as the chairperson of the Family Law Panel of the Bar Association of Queensland and as a member of the Family Law Council. On 7 September 1995 her Honour was appointed as a Judge of the Family Court of Australia, being the first female from Queensland appointed to the Family Court.

In 2003 Justice May was elevated by the Attorney-General to the Appeal Division of the Family Court and, the same year, she was appointed a Co-ordinating Judge, a role involving administrative responsibilities for Queensland, Northern New South Wales and the Northern Territory. From January 2016, Justice May has been the Senior Administrative Judge of the Appeal Division.

We wish her well in her retirement after a stellar career that has been an inspiration to many women following in her footsteps in the legal profession.

This article was prepared by Margaret Miller of Bell Legal Group. Margaret is a Partner in our Dispute Resolution, Insolvency and Litigation team. You can contact her on 07 5597 3366 or by sending an email to mmiller@belllegal.com.au