The Andrews Labor Government has reappointed Justice Philip Cummins AM as Chairperson of the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) and appointed Professor Bernadette McSherry as a VLRC Commissioner.
Justice Cummins was first appointed Chairperson in 2012 after more than 20 years as a judge of the Supreme Court. Since his appointment, the VLRC has contributed to significant law reforms, including access to medicinal cannabis, adoption by same-sex couples and the protection of children from sex offenders.
Justice Cummins served in all Supreme Court Divisions during his judicial career. As Queen’s Counsel in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory from 1978 to 1988, he practised in criminal law, common law and public law.
Since his judicial retirement, Justice Cummins has served as Chair of the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry from 2011 to 2012, Chairperson of the Victoria Law Foundation from 2009 to 2014, and is currently President of the Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies in London.
Justice Cummins is a Member of the Order of Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. He holds Master’s degrees in Laws and Science (Psychiatry) from the University of Melbourne, where he is now a doctoral candidate.
Professor McSherry is a leading academic in criminal law and mental health law, and the Foundation Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne.
Professor McSherry is also President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and of the Australian Academy of Law. She was a Legal Member of the Mental Health Review Board of Victoria from 2001 to June 2018.
She was a member of the Victorian Government’s Criminal Law Justice Statement Advisory Group, and Expert Advisory Panel for the Courts and Programs Development Unit from 2005 to 2007. She was also a member of the Consultative Committee for the VLRC’s Review of Guardianship Legislation from 2009 to 2010.
Professor McSherry holds Bachelor’s degrees in Arts and Laws (with Honours) and a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne, and a PhD from York University in Canada.
She replaces David Jones AM, who served on the Commission from 2012 to 2018.
Quotes attributable to Acting Attorney-General Marlene Kairouz
“Justice Cummins will continue to be an asset to the Commission, and Professor McSherry brings a wealth of legal and academic knowledge to her new role.”
“The Victorian Law Reform Commission ensures that our legal system is inclusive and accessible for all Victorians, and I congratulate Justice Cummins and Professor McSherry on their appointments.”