Honorary doctorate for Macquarie alumnus, Honorable Justice Patricia Bergin SC

23 April 2013

The Honourable Justice Patricia Anne Bergin SC has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa from her alma mater, at Monday’s graduation ceremony for the Macquarie Law School.

Bergin – or Paddy as she is known – has had two careers, first in education as a teacher and second in the Law as a Judge’s Associate, solicitor, barrister and judge. She was admitted to the Bar in 1984, took silk in 1998 and was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in March 1999.

Bergin was educated at Kincoppal Girls’ School at Elizabeth Bay before attending Sydney Teachers’ College. After graduation she worked as a teacher for five years before attending Macquarie University to study Law where she qualified for a Bachelor of Legal Studies on 10 December 1980.

At this time Bergin was one of the many mature aged part-time students who were attracted to Macquarie for the flexibility and quality of its programs.

During her years of legal study Bergin worked as a Judge’s Associate, first to the late judge Peter Leslie in the District court and then when he retired, Judge Des Ward QC. She then worked at what was then Pritchards Law Firm as assistant to the litigation partner. After graduating from Macquarie in 1981 she worked as a solicitor in Stephen, Jaques and Stephen, now King and Wood Mallesons.

During this time she was assigned to one of the firm’s senior lawyers to work on complex Supreme Court and Common Law matters as well as industrial relations matters. Bergin is remembered by her colleagues and peers at the time for her excellent work, great energy and for the impressive speed at which she completed each task. She is admired by the legal fraternity for her concise thinking and ability to cut to the heart of an issue.

Bergin is known for her high standards, strong ethics and tremendous command of the English language. In 1999 Margaret Hole, then President of the Law Society of New South Wales, observed during the Swearing in Ceremony of her appointment as a Judge to the Supreme Court of New South Wales “your Honour is known for being quick on your feet and having natural rapport with juries both in criminal and civil trials. You are also said to be without fear”. – Essential attributes for leadership at the highest level of the judiciary.

Not only has Bergin been an outstanding legal practitioner she has also made significant contributions to the legal fraternity through a number of roles: She has had three stints as a New South Wales Bar counselor, a visiting committee member of the Faculty of Law at Wollongong University and a member of the Legal Qualifications Committee of the New South Wales Legal Practitioners Admission Board.

In the late 1990s she also served as the Chairperson of the New South Wales Cancer Council. During her time at the Bar, Bergin examined and lectured the new barristers in ethics and in so doing worked towards the maintenance of high standards of practice and the integrity of practitioners.

Macquarie University is very pleased to have Bergin as an alumnus: she clearly represents the values and aspirations of Macquarie University. She is committed to her profession, is learned and has achieved many accolades during the period she has been a practicing lawyer.

Filed under: Alumni Campus news Law

Chancellor Michael Egan with the Honourable Justice Patricia Anne Bergin SC. Photo: Effy Alexakis, Photowrite.

Chancellor Michael Egan with the Honourable Justice Patricia Anne Bergin SC. Photo: Effy Alexakis, Photowrite.

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