VALE JANET VIOLA COOMBS AM (1932 – 2022)

Janet Coombs was called to the New South Wales Bar on Friday, 13 March 1959, the eighth woman to be admitted.

In 1997, she was made a member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM).

Until her retirement in 1998, she had the longest- running practice of any woman at the NSW Bar.  She was made an honorary life member of the Bar Association in 1998.  During the 1970s, she was co-trustee of a room in Frederick Jordan Chambers, which was made available on a subsidised rent for a year to a woman beginning practice at the Bar.

A portrait of Janet (“One of the Girls”) hangs in the Bar Common Room. In 2009, Janet was interviewed for the Bar Association’s oral history program, Pioneering Women 1921-1975. The Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW holds lunches regularly to continue her tradition of welcoming new female barristers to the Bar.

ADRA welcomed the late Janet Coombs to many of its events and AGM meetings.

Janet was a champion for women’s rights and for the place of women in Law, but she was also a strong advocate for dispute resolution during her career as a barrister.

ADRA’s AGM dinner on 23 August 2022 was the last event Janet attended. She was extremely pleased to have had a surprise 90th birthday celebration after ADRA’s AGM proceedings and the photos of her at the event speak much louder than words.

Janet was admitted to Royal North Shore Hospital on 23 September 2022 where she died peacefully.

ADRA honours the life of Janet Coombs as a pioneer for women in Law and as an advocate for Dispute resolution.