The Hon. Marcia Neave AO has had an outstanding career as a judge, lawyer, academic and public policy maker.
From February 2015 to March 2016, she was the chair of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. That Royal Commission was entrusted with the task of making recommendations regarding the family violence support system and justice system in Victoria, including government and non-government organisations, courts, police, corrections and child protection. The Commission’s Report including its 227 recommendations were provided to the Victorian Government on 29 March 2016.
Prior to her role as Commissioner, for nine years she was a Justice of the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Ms Neave was a legal academic for many years. She held chairs in Adelaide University, and later at Monash University and then Australian National University in Canberra. She was also a visiting Professor on three occasions in New York University’s Law School’s Global Law Program. In 2006 she became the first academic in Victoria’s history to be appointed to the Court of Appeal.
Throughout her career, Ms Neave has always been passionate about how the law relates to women and responds to their needs. In the early 80’s she took leave from the university and became Research Director and a part-time Commissioner at the New South Wales Law Reform Commission, which, among other things, examined property division and support after the breakdown of de facto relationships.
In 1985 she chaired the Victorian Inquiry into Prostitution, which recommended decriminalisation of prostitution, removal of most sanctions against sex workers, and the use of planning controls to control the locations of brothels.
In the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1999, Ms Neave was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her services to the law, and in 2001, she was awarded the Centenary Medal.
In 2001 she became the Foundation Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission. This enabled her to play a key role in modernising Victorian law, including recommending changes that addressed some of the systemic disadvantages faced by women and children within the legal system, in particular victims of domestic victims and sex offences.
In 2020, she was appointed Chair of Justice Connect, a legal services organisation with over 25 years of history designing and delivering high impact interventions to increase access to legal support and progress social justice.
The Hon. Marcia Neave is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and a life member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration.