Board members - Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner

Board members

The Board comprises a Chairperson, three elected lawyer members and three lay members. The Chairperson and lay members of the Board are nominated by the Attorney-General and appointed by the Governor in Council for a four-year term. Lawyer members are elected by lawyers who are registered on the Board’s electoral roll, also for a four-year term. One lawyer member is a barrister (advocate member) and two are solicitors (non-advocate members). The day-to-day activities of the Board are headed by the Chief Executive Officer.

Ms Fiona Bennett – Non-lawyer  member
Fiona is a non-executive director of Hills Ltd and Select Harvests Ltd. She is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in commercial and financial management, governance, risk management and auditing. Fiona has held senior executive positions at BHP Billiton Ltd and Coles Group Ltd, and has been Chief Financial Officer of several organisations in the health sector. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management. Fiona was appointed to the Board in January 2008 and was appointed as Chairperson of the Board by the Attorney-General in January 2013. Fiona was re-appointed Chairperson on 30 November 2016.

Ms Jennifer Batrouney QC – Barrister (advocate) member

Jennifer is a barrister with 30 years’ experience, mainly in equity, commercial, superannuation and revenue matters, and has a substantial practice in the not-for-profit sector. Appointed a QC in 2000, Jennifer is current Vice President of the Australian Bar Association and Immediate Past President of the Victorian Bar and of the Tax Bar Association. Jennifer is also the inaugural chair of the Law Council Charities and Not for Profits committee, a director of the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand and inaugural Chair of the Australian Bar Association Tax Committee.  She is a member of the Melbourne Law School Advisory Council and the Melbourne Law School Tax Group Advisory Board.  She is also a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mr Geoff Bowyer – Solicitor (non-advocate) member
Geoff Bowyer is an accredited business law specialist, and principal of a Central Victorian law practice that specialises in mediation and alternative dispute resolution techniques. Over the past approximately 40 years Geoff has built up a broad portfolio of legal experience spanning the public, private and corporate sectors. He offers his time as mentor through both the Law Institute of Victoria and the University of Melbourne Law School. Geoff is a past President of the Law Institute of Victoria and former executive member of the Law Council of Australia, a current Director of Bendigo Community Health, and a board member on several Bendigo-based community organisations. Geoff is also a regular commentator on ABC Regional radio about legal issues.

Ms Liz Harris – Solicitor (non-advocate) member

Liz is a lawyer who has specialised in consumer complaints relating to lawyers, acting for both lawyers and consumers. She is a recognised expert in costs law as co-author of Quick on Costs, the pre-eminent Australian text. She has conducted her own legal practice, been a sessional member of the VCAT Legal Practice list, a member of the Victorian Supreme Court Costs Committee, chair of the LIV Advisory Board on costs law specialisation, and chair of LIV Cost Lawyers section. Liz conducts a consultancy advising government and corporate legal departments about best practice in managing external lawyers. She is regularly engaged as an expert witness regarding best practice in management of legal work and costs in class actions and other significant litigation.

Dr Lynne Williams AM – Non-lawyer member
Lynne is an economist with over 30 years’ experience with the public sector, and is currently the Deputy Chair of the Essential Services Commission of South Australia and a Commissioner with both the Commonwealth Grants Commission and the Victorian Building Authority. Lynne was previously the Chair of the Victorian Government Procurement Board for six years and has previously held senior executive roles within several government departments. Lynne has Masters degrees in economics from the University of Melbourne and the London School of Economics, a PhD from Monash University and is also a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia. Lynne was appointed to the Board by the Governor in Council in October 2013.

Ms Catherine Wolthuizen – Non-lawyer member
Catherine brings her considerable experience as a consumer advocate and ombudsman to the Board. She is the Independent Customer Advocate at NAB, where her role includes making decisions about complex and sensitive complaints and advising on how to improve complaints handling and the customer experience. She is also an independent consumer representative to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Catherine was previously an Ombudsman and Head of Market Affairs at the UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service, where she made decisions in more than 2,500 cases, and led external engagement for that organisation. Catherine is a former CEO of the Consumer Law Centre Victoria (which later became the Consumer Action Legal Centre) and was Senior Policy Officer at Choice, and is a former Chair of the Consumers Federation of Australia. As well as running a human rights legal NGO and the UK’s whistleblower NGO, she was also a member of the Legal Services Consumer Panel in England – the expert advisory body to the UK’s Legal Services Board.

Ms Cate Wood – Non-lawyer member
Cate is an experienced Director who holds positions on numerous Boards, providing a depth of knowledge in governance, investment, strategic planning and diversity. A current director and Chair of the industry superannuation fund, CareSuper, Cate is a director on several other superannuation industry boards, and is also a director of the Mother’s Day Classic Foundation. She has previously held executive positions as CEO of AGEST Super and The Trade Union Training Authority. Cate holds a Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) and is a Graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. Cate was appointed to the Board by the Governor in Council in August 2016. Cate was appointed to the Board in 2016.

Last modified July 12, 2019.