Susan Fay Purdon-Sully

Her HonourJudge

Born
1954
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Occupation
Judge, Lawyer, Magistrate and Solicitor
Alternative Names
  • Purdon, Susan (birth name)
Jurisdiction

Susan Purdon-Sully was sworn in as a Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in October 2007. Before her appointment to the bench, she was recognised to be one of Australia's leading family lawyers and was the first Australian woman lawyer to be made a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers at the invitation of the Academy. From 2004 to 2007 she served as a member of the Family Law Council of Australia, the peak advisory body to the Federal Attorney General on family law matters.

Susan Fay Purdon-Sully was born on 21 February 1954 in Brisbane, Queensland, to Matthew Donald Purdon and Jacqueline May (née Trueman). She attended the Dutton Park State School, Somerville House Brisbane High School for Girls (1964 to 1971), West Miami Junior High, Miami, Florida, USA (1967-1968) and the University of Queensland graduating Bachelor of Laws (1978). She was Clerk to His Honour Judge Bernard McLaughlin of the District Court of Queensland.

A lawyer in private practice for over 25 years, her principal professional focus was non court-dispute resolution processes to assist families make transitions on separation which promoted the welfare of children and preserved co-parenting and parent/child relationships. One of Australia's leading family lawyers, she was the first Australian woman lawyer to be made a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers at the invitation of the Academy. From 2004 to 2007 she served as a member of the Family Law Council of Australia, the peak advisory body to the Federal Court on family law matters.

With a breadth of interests she has served as a Trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery and as a member of Queensland Cricket's Women in Cricket Committee. On 15 October 2008 she was appointed to the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia (now Federal Circuit Court of Australia). A past President of the Women Lawyer's Association of Queensland she maintains a keen interest in women in the profession.

She currently serves on the board of the Australian Association of Women Judges. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints she has an interest in inter-faith efforts. She has served in a range of church callings including as a member of the women's Relief Society, a philanthropic and educational organisation of the Church.

Aside from her focus on family, church and work, her interests include cricket, rugby, opera, the visual arts, cooking and gardening. On 12 July 1984 she married Brian Russell Sully. They have three children, Tom, James and Edwina.

Sources used to compile this entry: Purdon, Susan and Rahemtula, Aladin (eds), A Woman's Place: 100 Years of Queensland Women Lawyers, Supreme Court of Queensland Library, Brisbane, 2005; Information Provided by Susan Purdon-Sully August 2015.

Prepared by Susan Purdon-Sully