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The Honourable Tom Bathurst has been appointed to lead the NSW Law Reform Commission, just months after stepping down as Chief Justice after 11 years on the Bench.

Attorney General Mark Speakman made the announcement on Monday, with Bathurst saying he is “honoured” to take up the position from 1 June 2022.

“It is a privilege to be appointed Chairperson of an institution with such a respected record of reform and advice work,” Bathurst said.

“I look forward to the opportunity to consider the law in a new light.

“The NSW Law Reform Commission undertakes significant work in researching, interrogating the law and advising on reform.”

Speakman said Bathurst’s tenure as Chief Justice for over 10 years and his previous experience as a legal practitioner for almost 40 years make him eminently qualified to take on the role.

“As Chief Justice, Mr Bathurst oversaw a number of reforms, including to the way the courts engaged with technology”, Speakman said.

“He has also held other esteemed roles in the legal profession, including as the President of the New South Wales and Australian Bar Associations.”

Speakman continued with Mr Bathurst’s vast experience and legal acumen.

“As Chief Justice, Mr Bathurst oversaw a number of reforms, including to the way the courts engaged with technology.”

Established in 1967, the Law Reform Commission of NSW independently reviews law reforms and provides legal policy advice to Government when referred by the Attorney General.

Bathurst’s speech at the 2022 Opening Law Term Address in March addressed the importance of an independent judiciary branch of the Government in the pursuit of a just legal system for all.

“The legal system, in its most expansive sense, must remember areas in which justice is far from perfectly delivered.  It must work together with communities to achieve outcomes which embrace a broad, society-wide conception of justice,” Bathurst said in his address.

“No legal system is perfect.  But good legal systems grapple with these questions.”

Speakman thanked outgoing Chairperson Alan Cameron for his service, leadership and thoughtful contributions to the NSW Law Reform Commission’s work over the past seven years.

“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring our laws and legal system continue to best promote access to and the administration of justice,” Speakman said.

“Good law reform requires both inquiring legal minds and detailed knowledge of our laws, the justice system that upholds them and the community the justice system serves.

Bathurst’s appointment will run until 31 May 2025.

In addition to this, Bathurst was also appointed by the Governor of NSW, the Hon Margaret Beazley AC QC, to lead an enquiry on the convictions of Kathleen Megan Folbigg.

Folbigg, convicted of the murder of her four children, is currently serving 30 years of imprisonment.

New developments in genetic science open the possibility of the different causes of death for two of the victims.

Speakman, whose recommendation to the Governor led to this second enquiry, believes that though he doesn’t recommend Folbigg to be pardoned, this new set of evidence “and its widespread endorsement by scientists, cannot be ignored.”

“At the conclusion of the inquiry, Mr Bathurst will prepare a report,” Speakman said.

“If he is of the opinion that there is a reasonable doubt as to Ms Folbigg’s guilt, Mr Bathurst may refer the matter to the Court of Criminal Appeal for further consideration”.