WLA website_Margaret Nyland

About – Our Patron

Margaret Nyland AM

Since 2000, the Women Lawyers’ Association of South Australia has been privileged to have former Supreme Court Justice the Honourable Margaret Nyland AM as its Patron.  Throughout her career Her Honour has demonstrated a commitment to the values that underpin WLASA and is an inspiring example to our members.  She provides the Committee with valuable support and encouragement.

Her Honour studied law at Adelaide University in the early sixties and was admitted in March 1965.  At a time when it was extremely difficult for women to find a place to complete articles, she was fortunate to be articled by Pam Cleland at the Adelaide firm Genders, Wilson and Bray.

Following her admission she continued working with Pam Cleland and followed her when Pam set up on her own practice in 1966 at Azalea House in Waterfall Gully.  Justice Nyland soon joined Pam in partnership and later set up a very successful family law practice together with David Haines QC known as Nyland, Haines & Co.

She was appointed to the District Court in March 1987 where she served for more than 6 years before being appointed to the Supreme Court.

Upon her appointment to the Supreme Court in October 1993, she became the second female Supreme Court Judge in Australia, second only to our very own Dame Roma Mitchell.

Justice Nyland has served on many boards and tribunals during her esteemed career.  Including being:

  • Chair of the Commonwealth Social Security Appeals Tribunal,
  • Chair of the South Australian Sex Discrimination Board,
  • Deputy Chair of the Equal Opportunities Tribunal,
  • Chair of the Australian Dance Theatre,
  • President of the Law Foundation; and
  • President of the Australian Association of Women Judges.

It was her involvement on these many committees that lead to her receiving the Member of the Order of Australia on Australia Day in 2005 for “service to the judiciary, to human rights and to the equal status of women”.

On the 15 October 2011 she surpassed Dame Roma’s tenure to become the longest serving female member of the South Australian Supreme Court.

Her many years as a Judge has enabled her to be a willing and devoted mentor to the many fledging practitioners who have had the privilege to be her Associate.

Her Honour retired from the Supreme Court bench in November 2012.