Honourable Justice, AC
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
- Barrister, Feminist, Judge, Lawyer and Solicitor
- Alternative Names
- Hoare, Margaret Anne (Birth Name)
Justice Margaret McMurdo AC is the President of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Queensland. She was the first woman appointed as the presiding judge of an appellate court in Australia.
McMurdo was born in 1954 in Brisbane, the youngest of six children born to Gina, a homemaker, and Joe, a commercial law solicitor and ultimately senior partner at Thynne & Macartney. She attended New Farm State School and Brisbane Girls Grammar School (1967 - 1971) before studying law at the University of Queensland. During her university years, she volunteered at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1975.
On 16 December 1976, McMurdo was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland. She worked in the Public Defender's Office (1976-89), holding the office of assistant public defender (1978-89). McMurdo then practised at the private bar in Brisbane (1989-91), holding a commission to prosecute. She was a part-time member of the Criminal Justice Commission Misconduct Tribunal (1990-91). McMurdo was a founding committee member (1978-82) and then president (1980-81) of the Women Lawyers Association and a founding member of the Department of Children's Services Serious Offenders Review Panel (1978-83). McMurdo was appointed a judge of the District Court of Queensland on 29 January 1991, being the first woman to be appointed to the court. She also served as a judge of the Children's Court of Queensland from 1993.
On 30 July 1998, McMurdo was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the second president of the Court of Appeal. She was the first woman appointed as the presiding judge of an appellate court in Australia. McMurdo was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2007 and awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003. She was awarded the Queensland Law Society's Agnes McWhinney Award in 2006. She was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University by Griffith University (2000) and by the Queensland University of Technology (2009). McMurdo was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws of the University of Queensland (2012). She has also served as a trustee of Brisbane Girls Grammar School (1994-98) and a member of the council of Griffith University (from 2003).
On 23 January 1976, McMurdo married Philip Donald McMurdo who later became a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland. They have four adult children.