Michael Allen farewells Bathurst for new role at Downing Centre

HE may have been appointed to one of the most senior legal roles in the state, but Michael Allen cites his time as Magistrate of the Local Court, Bathurst as one of the great privileges of his career.

Mr Allen was appointed as Deputy Chief Magistrate of the Local Court of NSW late last month, replacing former Deputy Chief Magistrate Chris O’Brien, who was sworn in as a District Court Judge in early April. 

Mr Allen, who officially took up the role last week, is now one of two Deputy Chief Magistrates in NSW who support the Chief Magistrate in coordinating rosters for 138 magistrates across NSW.

He also assists with managing sitting arrangements and the judicial education program. 

An Orange based barrister, who unsuccessfully contested the Federal seat of Calare in 2007, Mr Allen was appointed to Bathurst Local Court in 2103, a role he loved and one he considered a “great privilege.”

“It really has been an honour.”

Sitting on the bench, Mr Allen often spoke about the demands placed on local courts, and on his final day in Bathurst again raised the issue of time constraints.

“There is never time to relax, it is always very busy,” he said.

He described Bathurst as a “very law abiding city” but like most towns “there are some issues the police pay close attention to.”

He said while there are expectations on police, some legitimate, some less so, he thought they worked hard.

“Normally the police are very good, they handle a large number of matters in a limited time.”

He also acknowledged there were also expectations from the community, and conceded courts were not immune to criticism.

“Sometimes we get it wrong, that’s why there is an appeals process,” but said he always endeavored, in accordance to his oath, to apply the law fairly to all people as they stood before the court.

Regional barrister, Bill Walsh, said Mr Allen’s appointment would provide sound leadership for magistrates across the state.