• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE5674

Bradley, Sarah

(1956 – )
  • Born 1 January, 1956, Sheffield Yorkshire England
  • Occupation Judge, Lawyer, Magistrate, Solicitor


Her Honour Sarah Bradley was a judge of the District Court of Queensland, Australia since 25 March 1999. She was also a judge of the Children’s Court of Queensland. Described as ‘an inspiration to law students and young professionals’, she is known to be unstintingly generous with her time.

Her Honour’s approach to incarceration has been publicly scrutinised and criticised as she seeks alternatives to jail terms, believing that ‘imprisonment as the ultimate deterrent is a myth’.

Her Honour was the first Magistrate in Queensland to be appointed as a Judge of the District Court of Queensland.

Her Honour retired from the courts on 30 June 2016. On 1 July 2016 she took up an appointment as an adjunct professor at Griffith Criminology Institute.

She was honured with an Order of Australia (AO) on Australia Day in 2020 for distinguished service to the law, and to the judiciary, to women in the legal profession, and to the community.


Born in England, Sarah Bradley and her family migrated to Australia in 1968. Disembarking in Sydney, the family took a train to Queensland where they settled on the Sunshine Coast. She started secondary school at Nambour High School, and by the age of fifteen had decided she wanted to be a lawyer. Her parents sent her to a boarding school (Glennie Memorial School) in Toowoomba for her senior year. She finished school and began an Arts Law degree at the University of Queensland. She graduated with a BA (1976) and an LLB (1978). She found little to be inspired by, except from teachers like Margaret White (now a judge of the Supreme Court) and Quentin Bryce, now retired as Governor General.

Judicial Career

  • Judge, District Court of Queensland (1999-)
  • Judge, Children’s Court of Queensland (1999-)
  • Magistrate, Magistrates Court (1993-1999)

Pre-Judicial Career

  • Mediator, Legal Aid Office, Queensland (1991-1993)
  • Part-time Member, Misconduct Tribunals, Criminal Justice Commission of Queensland (1990-1993)
  • Partner, O’Dwyer and Bradley Solicitors, Woodridge (1984-1990)
  • Chairperson, Management Committee of South Brisbane Immigration and Community Legal Service, West End (1984-1988)
  • Member, South Brisbane Immigration and Community Legal Service, West End (1982-1988)
  • Solicitor, O’Dwyer and Murphy Solicitors, Woodridge (1982-1984)
  • Solicitor (1979-1981)
  • Legal Officer, Prosecution Section of Solicitor-General’s Office, Brisbane (1978-1979)
  • Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland (1978)

Extra Judicial Positions

  • Chair, District Court Judges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee (2009-2012)
  • Member, National Judicial College of Australia, Indigenous Justice Committee (2008-)
  • President, Australian Association of Women Judges (2006-2014)
  • Member, Council of James Cook University (2002-2009)
  • Member, District Court Judges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee (2000-2009)
  • Member International Association of Women Judges (1998-)
  • Member Australian Association of Women Judges (1998-)

Published resources

Related entries

  • Related Women
    • Bryce, Quentin (1942 - )
    • White, Margaret J. (1943 - )