Lithgow's Michael Allen appointed deputy chief magistrate

STEPPING INTO THE BIG SMOKE: Magistrate Michael Allen will be working at Sydney's Downing Centre, the busiest local court in NSW. Picture: JIM BAR, CREATIVE COMMONS LICENCE
STEPPING INTO THE BIG SMOKE: Magistrate Michael Allen will be working at Sydney's Downing Centre, the busiest local court in NSW. Picture: JIM BAR, CREATIVE COMMONS LICENCE

The head of Lithgow Local Court, magistrate Michael Allen, is preparing for a change of pace.

After building his career as a barrister and magistrate in regional NSW Mr Allen will be moving to Sydney’s inner-city Downing Centre, having been appointed as deputy chief magistrate of the NSW Local Court by the Attorney General.

“Being asked and appointed is a great honour,” Mr Allen said.

“It’s a great honour because the Local Court of New South Wales is the busiest court in the Commonwealth and it has wonderful leadership under Judge Henson and the previous chief magistrates have been excellent judicial officers.”

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Attorney General Mark Speakman signed off on Mr Allen's appointment. Picture: JANE DOYLE

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Attorney General Mark Speakman signed off on Mr Allen's appointment. Picture: JANE DOYLE

“There’s no denying it will be a very significant change. I have not lived or worked in the city for decades,” he said.

Mr Allen has been presiding in the Bathurst Local Court circuit, which includes Lithgow, Blayney, Oberon and Rylstone, since 2013 and serving in Lithgow for the past three years.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said Mr Allen was well qualified for the role, which will involve supporting the chief magistrate, Judge Graeme Henson, in coordinating rosters for 138 magistrates across the state as well as managing sitting arrangements and the judicial education program.

“Magistrate Allen is a highly qualified magistrate and former barrister whose legal career spans more than three decades,” Mr Speakman said.

LITHGOW LOCAL COURT: File image.

LITHGOW LOCAL COURT: File image.

Before joining the judiciary, Mr Allen worked as a solicitor for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Legal Aid Commission.

Between 2002 and 2009 he worked as a barrister representing clients across a range of jurisdictions including the Local Court, Children’s Court, Family Court, District Court, Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeal.

Mr Allen said working in local courts such as Lithgow’s would assist him in his executive role.

When I walk along Main Street, I anticipate that I am anonymous to most people but in Lithgow everyone always says hello.

Michael Allen

“The Local Court is where the overwhelming majority of people first come into contact with the justice system. So you see people from all walks of life, whether they are from Bathurst, Lithgow, Oberon or the suburbs of Sydney.

“I was a solicitor for 16 years, a barrister for eight years and this is my tenth year on the bench, so I think that combination of experience will serve me well.”

He said he had enjoyed his time at Lithgow Local Court.

“I want to thank the wonderful, supportive and friendly staff. I will miss their friendship and help,” he said. 

“When I walk along Main Street, I anticipate that I am anonymous to most people but in Lithgow everyone always says hello.

“I find it such a friendly town and I love it’s architecture.”

Mr Allen begins his appointment as deputy chief magistrate next Monday.

“I will continue to have property near Orange, so I will be travelling up regularly and always find time to stop in Lithgow,” he said.

Mr Allen’s photo could not be published for safety reasons. 

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