The Hon. Mr Justice Raymond S Watson, AM, LLB (1948) BA (1952) - 1922-2010

2 November 2010

Sydney Law School would like to express its condolences to the family and friends of The Hon. Mr Justice Raymond S Watson, AM, LLB (1948) BA (1952), who passed away recently at the age of 87.

Justice Raymond Watson, AM was one of the drafters of the Family Law Act introduced in 1975 and a judge of the Family Court during its most turbulent period.

"He made an enormous contribution to the work of family law in his day as a pioneering judge of the Family Court and lived through some very turbulent and tragic events," said Professor Patrick Parkinson, AM, who is a specialist in family law, child protection and the law of equity and trusts.

Watson sat on the first Family Court of Australia in the 1970s.

The court pioneered the radical concept of no-fault divorce, where neither husband nor wife was to be blamed, and irretrievable breakdown of marriage was acceptable grounds.

In the tense decade that followed, one judge was shot dead, a court was bombed and Watson lost his wife, Pearl, in a bomb attack on their home at Greenwich.

He had survived a kamikaze attack on HMAS Ausralia in 1944.

Former Chief Justice of the Family Court, The Hon. Elizabeth Evatt, AC, LLB (1955), LLD (1985) said the current family law system upheld Watson's ideals.

''I think his principles are quite well understood and accepted but there will always be some who will act with aggression and violence no matter what assistance or advice or counselling is offered,'' she said.

View the obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald - Judge sought informality in court with no-fault divorce - 1 November 2010

Contact: Greg Sherington

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