Vale Mahla Pearlman AO (1937 – 2011)
On behalf of the University of Newcastle we would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of University Council member and former chief judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court, the Honourable Justice Mahla Pearlman AO.
The Hon Mahla Pearlman is remembered for her significant contribution to the legal profession and to the community. She was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in January 1985 for services to the legal profession; awarded the Centenary Medal for service to the law in April 2003; and in 2004 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to the law, the judiciary and the community.
She graduated from the University of Sydney in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and an honours degree in Law. In 2008 she was awarded a Doctor of Laws honoris causa from the University of Newcastle in recognition of her work in improving the administration of the NSW Land and Environment Court during her time as its chief judge. Appointed to the University Council in 2009, she served on the Council’s Strategic Development Committee, as Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee and on a range of working parties.
The Hon Mahla Pearlman practised as a solicitor throughout her professional life and held a number of roles in conjunction with her legal practice, including her appointment as the first woman President of the Law Society of NSW and the first woman President of the Law Council of Australia.
Her contributions to community were many and a testament to her altruism. She served as Chairman of the Board of the War Widows Guild of Australia (NSW) Ltd, Deputy President of the Mental Health Review Tribunal, and as a member of the Alzheimer's Advisory Board. The Hon Mahla Pearlman was a judge of the Blake Dawson Prize for Business Literature since its inception in 2004 and shared her knowledge and expertise as a mentor with the internationally acclaimed McCarthy Mentoring Program.
In her two years on the University Council, the Hon Mahla Pearlman provided invaluable leadership and wisdom and contributed significantly to the strategic direction of the University. She will be greatly missed.
The University was represented at the Hon Mahla Pearlman's funeral on Sunday 4 December by the Vice-Chancellor and members of Council.
Conjoint Professor Trevor Waring AM, Chancellor
Professor Caroline McMillen, Vice-Chancellor and President