By Tony Bosworth | Editor Hawkesbury Post
Yes, it’s been a while – after all Windsor Court has been in the same place since 1821, just over 200 years – but at long last our local court has a female duty solicitor, with Tracey Cornwall taking her place at the local court.
Ms Cornwall is a true Hawkesbury local who went to Richmond High where she completed her Year 12 certificate, before joining the office of Director of Public Prosecutions, where she gained her law degree and then went on to hold posts as a solicitor prosecutor, and the Administrative Manager, during over 28 years service.
Her family goes back a long way here, she believes they came over on the third fleet, and they are well known in our region.
When Ms Cornwall got the chance to purchase Aaron’s Legal business in Richmond she left the DPP service, and has been running the practice for the last three and a half years.
Not long ago she decided she’d like to become a duty solicitor to help those who often cannot afford a solicitor.
“I approached [leading local solicitor] Rod Storie and I suppose you could say I hounded him,” she laughs.
Mr Storie is President of the Nepean Hawkesbury Regional Law Society and after discussing Ms Cornwall’s request with other duty solicitors they welcomed her aboard.
The duty solicitor scheme is a service that brings in private lawyers in local court criminal duty matters on behalf of Legal Aid New South Wales. It provides a free duty solicitor service in Windsor Court to ensure disadvantaged people are not denied access to justice.
Ms Cornwall says she’s already found being a woman in the legal ranks at Windsor has been welcomed.
“I had my first appearance last week and I found at Childrens’ Court a lot of the time kids come with their mum and many just seem to relate to another female. I think they are happy I’m here. I’ve only been out of prosecuting for three years but I have found I’m getting more from defending, I really get something from it, and making connections with people.
I also bring confidence to the role because I’ve a full understanding of both sides, the prosecution and defence, and because I grew up in Hawkesbury, had my kids here too, and I know a lot of people in the community, so that works as well too. The other day there was a client I’d played soccer with years ago and when she saw me she straightaway said, I’m glad you’re here.”
So, while it may have taken 200 years to get the first female duty solicitor at Windsor Court, it’s clear Ms Cornwall is already being welcomed with open arms.
Aaron Legal handles conveyancing, family law, general law, and criminal law matters and is at 1/296 Windsor Street, Richmond. Tel: 4578 7344.