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Awarded for service to justice and human rights
Entered on roll: 2019
The Honourable Shan Tennent had a distinguished judicial and legal career, being the first of only two female puisne judges of the Supreme Court of Tasmania.
Mrs Tennent graduated from the University of Queensland in 1973 and moved to Hobart in 1977. She worked with the Hobart firm Page Seager for 21 years, 15 of which were as a partner specialising in family law, before being appointed as a magistrate on 3 August 1998. Her appointment was significant, as she was just the second woman to have been elevated to this role.
From 1998 to 2005, Mrs Tennent served as a coroner. In 2001, her inquest into prisoner deaths in custody at Risdon Prison led to major changes there and contributed to the decision to completely rebuild the prison.
Mrs Tennent was sworn in as a judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania on 15 March 2005.
Mrs Tennent enhanced her reputation as a diligent and tenacious member of the legal community through her involvement with a multitude of legal professional bodies. She was twice the President of the Family Law Practitioners Association of Tasmania; Treasurer and Vice-President of the Law Society of Tasmania; Deputy Chair of the Mental Health Review Tribunal; a Commissioner of the Legal Aid Commission; a member of the Equalising Opportunities in the Law Committee of the Law Council of Australia; and a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee and Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Law Society of Tasmania.
Mrs Tennent also assisted in the education of future members of the legal profession through her various roles with the Legal Practice Course. These included acting as a trainer in both the Magistrates and Supreme Court modules of that course, acting as coordinator of the Supreme Court module, and becoming a director on the board of the Centre for Legal Studies Inc. She was also a member of the Board of Legal Education.