|19th Chief Justice of Queensland|
11 September 2015
|Governor||Paul de Jersey|
|Born||12 October 1956|
|Alma mater||Australian National University|
University of Queensland
Catherine Ena "Cate" Holmes (born 12 October 1956) is an Australian judge, who is the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland, the highest ranking court in the Australian state of Queensland. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2000, to the Queensland Court of Appeal in 2006 and appointed Chief Justice on 11 September 2015. In that capacity, she acts in the position of Governor of Queensland in the governor's absence.
Holmes attended Oxley State High School and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College, Darra. She attended the Australian National University graduating with a Bachelor of Economics in 1977 and then attended the University of Queensland graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1980. She completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the Queensland Institute of Technology in 1983, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 1989 and a Master of Laws (advanced) in 1998 both at the University of Queensland. Holmes was awarded a Doctor of Laws honoris causa from The University of Queensland in 2016.
Holmes was admitted to the Bar and admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1982. In 1984 she was admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland and was a Foundation Member of the Women's Legal Service in Queensland. She was a Crown Prosecutor in the Office of Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions from 1984 to 1986. In 1986 she began a law firm private practice focused on criminal and administrative law. She served as a Member of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal from 1994 to 2000.
Holmes was appointed Deputy President of the Queensland Community Corrections Board in 1997. From 1998 to 1999 she served as the Counsel Assisting the Forde Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse. In 1999 she was appointed Senior Counsel and was made Acting Judge on the District Court of Queensland.
On 16 March 2000 Holmes was appointed as a Judge on the Supreme Court of Queensland. From 2004 to 2006 she was a Judge on the Queensland Mental Health Court. On 26 May 2006 she was appointed to the Queensland Court of Appeals of the Supreme Court of Queensland.
On 18 January 2011, it was announced that Justice Holmes would be appointed to head an inquiry into the 2011 Queensland floods. The following day the Bar Association of Queensland criticised the appointment, making the following comments:
- Since 1987 the Queensland judiciary has adhered to a convention that a serving judge ought not accept appointment to head a commission of inquiry... It is clear that the present inquiry involves real potential for political controversy as to administrative conduct of successive state and local government administrations since (the last major flood in) 1974...It must be recognised that commissions of inquiry, by their nature, will find themselves examining issues of a character not contemplated upon commencement. The issues for inquiry may become far more politically charged than first imagined.
However, the Chief Justice of Queensland at the time, Paul de Jersey defended the appointment, arguing that it was appropriate because of the apparent absence of any suggestion of political or institutional corruption.
Holmes was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2020 Australia Day Honours for "eminent service to the judiciary, notably to criminal, administrative, and mental health law, and to the community of Queensland."