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A District Court Judge with almost 40 years of legal experience has been named as the new Chief Magistrate of the NSW Local Court.

Judge Michael Allen is currently the resident list judge in Penrith and was a Local Court magistrate for almost a decade, before taking up the role of Deputy Chief Magistrate in 2018. 

His career has encompassed a broad range of legal work, including family and domestic violence, serious crime, workers compensation and civil law. 

Allen became a barrister in 2001 and practised across regional NSW, later working for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Legal Aid NSW. 

In a statement, Attorney General Michael Daley said he was delighted to announce the appointment. 

“Judge Allen is a highly experienced jurist,” said Daley. 

“I would like to thank the retiring Chief Magistrate Judge Peter Johnstone for his outstanding service over the past three years as Chief Magistrate and before that as the President of the Children’s Court.” 

The Law Society of NSW said Judge Allen would provide excellent leadership of the Local Court of NSW, the busiest jurisdiction in the southern hemisphere.

Judge Allen will be sworn in on 8 July 2024. 

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District Court Judge Michael Allen has been named as the new Chief Magistrate of the NSW Local Court

Meanwhile, the Attorney General has also announced the appointment of Belinda Rigg SC as a judge of the Supreme Court of NSW. 

Rigg is presently the NSW Senior Public Defender and has dealt with hundreds of serious criminal matters. 

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Belinda Rigg SC is the latest appointment to the NSW Supreme Court bench

Rigg’s work has included challenging murder trials, sentencing matters and appeals. 

“Ms Rigg’s expertise will be invaluable to the Court and everyone who interacts with it,” said Daley. 

The Law Society also welcomed her appointment, saying she has “outstanding expertise in the criminal law” and has been a “trailblazer for women in the profession”.

Belinda Rigg SC will be sworn in on 24 July 2024.