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Justice Kirby to be replaced by NSW judge

Justice Michael Kirby will be replaced on the High Court bench by the New South Wales Court of Appeal judge, Justice Virginia Bell reports ABC news on December 15, 2008.

She is the fourth woman to be appointed to the High Court and her appointment will take effect from February 3 next year.

Justice Kirby will retire after reaching the mandatory retirement age.

Justice Bell's career began 30 years ago at the Redfern Legal Service.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland says since then, she has since spent time in private practice and as a public defender, as well as serving on the bench of the New South Wales Supreme Court.

"Justice Bell brings to the High Court a range of experience given her width and depth of experience, but in particular she will bring real criminal law expertise to the High Court of Australia and that will be most welcome," he said.

She also served as counsel assisting the Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Services and has served as a commissioner with NSW's Law Reform Commission.