Australians are reflecting on the remarkable life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who died at the age of 96 surrounded by members of her family in Balmoral, after more than seven decades on the throne.
Buckingham Palace released a statement just after 6:30pm on Thursday 8 September local time (3:30am Friday AEST), confirming the Queen had died peacefully at her Balmoral estate in the Scottish Highlands.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the statement read.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Her eldest son, Charles, is now king. He will take the name King Charles III.
President of The Law Society of NSW, Joanne van der Plaat, said the Law Society of NSW notes with sorrow the passing of Queen Elizabeth II after a life of service marked by dedication to her role.
“At the beginning of her reign, the Queen pledged to devote her ‘whole life’ to her duties as monarch, a promise she fulfilled when appointing Britain’s new Prime Minister just two days before she died,” van der Plaat said.
“Each working day, NSW lawyers engage in the administration of justice in courtrooms, many of which bear the coat of arms of the United Kingdom, symbolising the source of Australia’s rule of law. Prosecutors represent her in countless criminal cases where Her Majesty is listed as a party identified as Regina or simply The Queen.
“Australians’ views on the role of the monarchy may differ and, for many Indigenous people in particular, the institution represents the pain and dispossession they have experienced since colonisation.
“During her reign of 70 years, the Queen was a constant in the lives of many millions across the Commonwealth of Nations and the world, gaining broad respect for her grace and steadfastness in a period of immense change in the world.
“Her Majesty’s dignity and dedication to duty spanning generations have been an inspiration to many. The Law Society conveys our condolences to the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom.”
The Australian Bar Association has confirmed that, upon Her Majesty’s passing, persons appointed as Queen’s Counsel (QC) will automatically become King’s Counsel (KC). They do not need to seek a new letter patent of appointment or take further action.
Federal Parliament will also be suspended for 15 days.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese delivered a moving address about the Queen’s passing.
“The Government and the people of Australia offer our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, who are grieving for a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother—the person who for so long was their greatest inner strength,” he said.
“Australian hearts go out to the people of the United Kingdom who mourn today, knowing they will feel they have lost part of what makes their nation whole.
“There is comfort to be found in Her Majesty’s own words: ‘Grief is the price we pay for love’.”
“The Court notes with sadness the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and extends its condolences to members of her family. Supreme Court sittings will continue as scheduled” – Chief Justice of NSW Andrew Bell
“On behalf of the Judges of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, Division 1 and Division 2, I acknowledge and express a deep sense of sadness following the news announcing the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Her Majesty served as Head of State of the United Kingdom and Australia for an unparalleled seven decades, spanning periods of significant social change. In fulfilling her duties to the Australian community, Her Majesty did so with extraordinary commitment, and with great dignity and grace.
Judicial office holders across the Commonwealth, and the wider community, will no doubt mark this day as a significant day in history.
I am sure many people within the Courts will want to pay their respects over the coming days, and the Courts will follow protocols issued by the Government in respect of court business.” –Chief Justice Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, William Alstergren AO
With the accession of King Charles, criminal charges will now be brought in the name of the King instead of the Queen in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. This won’t impact criminal proceedings that have already started.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Sally Dowling, SC, said: “With the passing of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, sovereignty has passed to King Charles III. Indictments presented from today forward for arraignment should be in the name of his majesty rather than her majesty to reflect this.”
Section 8(1) of the Crown Proceedings Act 1988 in NSW states “no proceedings (whether civil or criminal) involving the Crown shall abate or be affected by the demise of the Crown”.