In a move to bolster the ranks of the NSW Local Court, Attorney General Michael Daley has appointed two highly experienced solicitors, Keisha Hopgood and Stephan Herridge, to the bench.
The pair are among 149 judicial officers serving 131 courthouses across NSW.
Daley expressed his confidence in the new appointments, acknowledging the breadth and depth of experience they each bring.
“Ms Hopgood and Mr Herridge have had exceptional careers as solicitors and will bring their extensive experience to the Local Court,” he said.
“Ms Hopgood comes to the Local Court with impressive credentials and experience as a practising solicitor of 14 years, most recently with the Aboriginal Legal Service.”
Hopgood began her career at the Children’s Legal Service at the Legal Aid Commission NSW, where she gained expertise in criminal law matters, including bail and sentencing hearings and diversionary applications.
Her dedication and proficiency earned her a position at the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS), where she served in numerous leadership roles for the past six years.
At the ALS, Hopgood played a pivotal role as Deputy Principal Solicitor in developing and expanding the state-wide specialist Children’s Criminal Law Practice, solidifying her reputation as a dedicated advocate for children’s rights.
Hopgood later served as the Acting Principal Solicitor of the Criminal Law Practice before being appointed Principal Solicitor of Justice Projects Policy and Practice; and then Acting Principal Legal Officer.
ALS CEO Karly Warner commended Hopgood’s immense contribution to the organisation and highlighted her exceptional leadership qualities.
“Keisha’s contribution to the ALS, to the profession and to Aboriginal communities is enormous,” said Warner.
“Keisha has earned the overwhelming respect of all who are fortunate to work with her, be represented by her and live alongside her,” she said.
Keisha has earned the overwhelming respect of all who are fortunate to work with her, be represented by her and live alongside her.
Karly Warner, CEO, Aboriginal Legal Service
Hopgood is currently the Deputy Chair of the Law Society of NSW’s Children’s Legal Issues Committee and has been a member of the Indigenous Issues Committee and the Children’s Court Advisory Committee.
Stephan Herridge has also been appointed to the Local Court, bringing a wealth of expertise acquired through his career in England and Australia.
In the UK, Herridge headed a civil and family litigation department before specialising in child protection where he represented children and adults in court, including in the UK High Court.
Since relocating to Australia in 2005, Herridge has held notable positions within the Department of Community Services (now known as the Department of Communities and Justice), the Hawkesbury Nepean Legal Centre, and private practice.
With a focus on Children’s Court care and protection proceedings, Herridge has honed his expertise in this critical area of law.
His experience and deep understanding of child welfare issues will undoubtedly prove invaluable to the Local Court, Daley said.
The new magistrates will be sworn in early in June.