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‘My appointment should inspire migrants,' says first Indian-Australian judge of Victoria County Court

Born in England, Pardeep Tiwana migrated to Australia in 2006. After practising law in Victoria for nearly a decade, he has now risen to become a judge of the state’s County (Criminal) Court, the first person of Indian descent to be appointed to this high position.

Judge Pardeep Tiwana says he is “extremely honoured” on his appointment and looks forward to serving the Victorian community.

He practiced law in England for 12 years before arriving in Australia in 2006. He signed the Victorian Bar Roll in 2009 and developed a successful defence practice.


Highlights:

  • Pardeep Tiwana becomes first Indian-Australian to be appointed judge at Victoria’s County (criminal) Court
  • Mr Tiwana was born in England, migrated to Australian in 2006
  • His family belongs to Punjab, he speaks fluent Punjabi and Hindi

Judge Tiwana, 51, credits his success to hard work and dedication to his profession.

“It’s a great honour and I feel very fortunate to be appointed,” he told SBS Hindi in an interview.

“I think my appointment should be looked at as inspiration to migrants from diverse backgrounds. If you work hard, you can excel in your chosen fields,” he added. 

Judge Pardeep Tiwana speaks fluent Punjabi and Hindi.
Judge Pardeep Tiwana speaks fluent Punjabi and Hindi.
Supplied by Pardeep Tiwana

Mr Tiwana was among the four judges appointed to the County Court of Victoria last week. The Victoria government stated these appointments will help finalise more cases and ease pressure on the justice system.

“We’re investing strongly and working with the courts to help drive down the backlogs caused by the pandemic – making sure more people can have their cases heard faster,” Victoria’s Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said in a statement.

Judge Tiwana will rule over criminal cases such as sexual and drug-related offences.  

Although Mr Tiwana was born in England, he believes he was destined to come to Australia.

His family belongs to Kot Kalan village near Jalandhar, Punjab. He briefly studied at Guru Nanak Fifth Centenary School in Mussoorie, in northern India’s Uttarakhand state.

Mr Tiwana returned to England and completed his Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from the University of Wolverhampton in 1993. He was then admitted to the England and Wales Bar in 1994.

He worked as a criminal barrister at 4 Fountain Court Chambers/Citadel Chambers in the UK.

“My practice in England involved prosecuting and defending trials on a regular basis,” Mr Tiwana said.

He speaks fluent Punjabi and Hindi. He has kept his Indian connection alive and visits his relatives in India every few years.

“I’m proud of my Indian culture. I follow Indian movies and news. I am very much tuned into things happening in India,” he said.

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