Chief Justice Bryant (LLM 1999) AO was appointed Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia in 2004.
Born in Perth, Chief Justice Bryant is a third-generation lawyer who graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne and with a Master of Laws from Monash University.
Chief Justice Bryant was admitted as a legal practitioner in Victoria in 1970. She returned to Perth in 1977 to join law firm Lavan and Walsh (which became Phillips Fox) where she worked as a solicitor and counsel specialising in family law until 1990.
She was also a director of Australian Airlines from 1984-1989.
Between 1990 and 2000 Chief Justice Bryant practised at the Victorian Bar where she specialised in family law and de facto property disputes.
Through her family law practice, she also handled bankruptcy, human rights and equal opportunity matters. In 1997, she was appointed a Queen’s Counsel.
Chief Justice Bryant is recognised for the role she played in overseeing the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court where she was inaugural Chief Federal Magistrate from 2000-2004.
When appointed Chief Justice of the Family Court, she became the second woman in Australia’s history to head a federal court.
In 2009 Chief Justice Bryant was appointed Patron of Australian Women Lawyers in recognition of her support for women lawyers and efforts to promote equality of opportunity for women in the community.
In 2012 she was recognised in the Australia Day Honours lists with an Officer of the Order of Australia for her “distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly to family law policy reform and practice, through the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court, and to the advancement of women in the legal profession”.