Aboriginal Legal Service celebrates new NSW District Court judge

Sarah Hopkins is the first person from the ALS to be appointed directly to the bench

Aboriginal Legal Service celebrates new NSW District Court judge

The Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) has applauded the appointment of Sarah Hopkins as one of the newest judges of the NSW District Court.

“Sarah’s impressive legal acumen and commitment to justice are apparent to all who work with her,” ALS CEO Karly Warner said. “After 25 years at the ALS, we warmly congratulate her on this well-deserved appointment as a judge to the District Court of NSW.”

Hopkins has worked in various positions at the ALS since 1997, most recently as principal solicitor of justice projects, policy and practice. The ALS confirmed that she is the first person from the organisation to be appointed directly to the District Court bench.

Apart from her stint at the ALS, Hopkins is an accredited specialist in criminal law and has been a lecturer in criminal law and process at the University of New South Wales. Additionally, she is the founder and co-chair of Just Reinvest NSW, an independent, non-profit organisation that addresses the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the justice system.

Since 2012, she has been working on the Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project alongside the Bourke community. This project is an Indigenous-led, place-based, data-driven approach to improve outcomes for children, young people, and families.

Throughout her career, Hopkins has served on numerous committees, including the NSW Bar Association’s Joint Working Party on the Over-Representation of Indigenous People in the NSW Criminal Justice System, the Criminal Law Committee of the Law Society of NSW, and the Steering Committee for the Red Cross Vulnerability Report. She also served as vice president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

In 2017, she received the Community Lawyer of the Year award from the Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW.

Hopkins will take office on 2 February 2023.

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