11 February 2024

Sitting on the bench a 'homecoming' for ACT's newest magistrate, Alexandra Burt

| Albert McKnight
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The ACT’s newest magistrate, Alexandra Burt, has been welcomed to the bench. Photo: Albert McKnight.

The ACT’s newest magistrate has returned to the Territory to take up her role on the bench.

Alexandra Burt was officially sworn into her role as the ACT’s newest magistrate, the eighth on the bench, during a ceremonial sitting during the week, although she has been at work since January.

ACT Bar Association president Marcus Hassall said it was “something of a homecoming” to Canberra as she had grown up in Yarralumla and graduated from the Australian National University in Arts and Law.

He said she had a “wide diversity of legal experience” – as well as “a short stint on community radio”.

Magistrate Burt agreed with Mr Hassall, remarking how “being back in Canberra has taken me down many trips in memory lane”.

She most recently served as a magistrate in the Victorian Magistrates Court in Shepparton.

Before this, she was a criminal and administrative law barrister who appeared in both federal and state courts, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Mental Health Tribunal and the Forensic Leave Panel.

Magistrate Burt said she was appointed a magistrate in Victoria in 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she had to work from home, trying to find ways of distracting her children while also working on bail applications.

Once the lockdown ended in Melbourne, she decided to move to the country and was sent to Shepparton. She enjoyed her time there in small courthouses.

But this did come with challenges. She recalled that in one courthouse, they had to decide whether to have the computers on or the heating.

Magistrates Glenn Theakston, Alexandra Burt and Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker during the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

Magistrate Burt said the court played an important role in protecting those with vulnerabilities and she welcomed the chance to be part of the court system in the ACT.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said Magistrate Burt had vast legal practice experience obtained over 18 years, and her appointment was the result of a competitive recruitment process.

“I am proud and pleased to see so many skilled people wanting to make that contribution to our city,” he said.

He thought Magistrate Burt’s appointment would “strengthen” the Magistrates Court and she would make a lasting impact on the ACT justice system.

When he first announced her appointment late last year, Mr Rattenbury also appointed two additional acting judges to the ACT Supreme Court, Rebecca Christensen SC and Dr Anthony Hopkins.

Ms Christensen and Dr Hopkins have served as special magistrates of the Magistrates Court. Mr Rattenbury said they would assist the Supreme Court in flexibly managing its workload over the coming years.

Original Article published by Albert McKnight on Riotact.

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