Social Justice Advocate Appointed to the Supreme Court of NSW

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Supreme Court of NSW

Her Honour Judge Dina Yehia SC has been sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales today. 

Judge Yehia has many years of experience in criminal law. She is also a tireless campaigner for social justice. 

After being admitted as a solicitor in 1989, Judge Yehia worked as a solicitor with the Western Aboriginal Legal Service for several years. 

She was then appointed as Solicitor Advocate for Legal Aid following which she was called to the Bar and became a barrister.

Judge Dina Yehia 

Judge Yehia was appointed Senior Counsel in 2009 and became the first female Deputy Senior Public Defender in 2013. She has been a judge of the District Court since May 2014. Her Honour is Chair of the Ngara Yura Committee, which raises awareness amongst judicial officers in relation to Indigenous cultural and social issues. 

Judge Yehia is also Chair of the Walama Working Group and a Council member of the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration and the National Judicial College of Australia. The Walama Court Working Group has been working to establish an Indigenous sentencing court as part of the NSW District Court.

Her Honour is also the Chairperson of Diverse Women in Law, which is a group which has the specific objective of mentoring women of diverse backgrounds in the law profession.  

Judge Yehia is also a Council member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration and the National Judicial College of Australia. 

Dr Nicholas Chen SC 

Dr Nicholas Chen SC is to be been appointed to the Supreme Court later this month. 

Dr Chen was admitted as a solicitor in 1992, called to the Bar in 1998 and appointed Senior Counsel in 2016. While at the Bar he has been Director of the Barristers’ Sickness & Accident Fund (Barcover) and a member of the NSW Bar Association Common Law Committee. 

Dr Chen has a wealth of experience in both commercial and common law, particularly in the area of medical negligence matters, inquests and inquiries. 

The role of the Supreme Court in New South Wales 

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. 

It has unlimited civil jurisdiction and hears the most serious criminal matters, such as murder and manslaughter, as well as the most serious civil matters involving sums of money greater than $750,000. 

Areas of civil law dealt with by the Supreme Court include contract and negligence cases as well as matters involving major fraud.

The Supreme Court also hears criminal appeals, including appeals against severity and conviction from the District Court of NSW.

It also has ‘supervisory jurisdiction’ over all other New South Wales courts and tribunals, which means that it has the power to overturn decisions of the lower courts. It generally exercises this power through its function in determining the outcome of appeals. 

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Sonia Hickey

Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist, and owner of 'Woman with Words'. She has a strong interest in social justice and is a member of the Sydney Criminal Lawyers® content team. Sonia is the winner of the Mondaq Thought Leadership Awards, Spring 2022.

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