His Honour Dr John Lowndes, former Chief Judge, was appointed a Magistrate of the Northern Territory in January 1990. He has been a judicial officer for close to three decades. Until March 2013 he served as a Magistrate of the Northern Territory Magistrates Court and during that time presided over matters in both the criminal and civil jurisdictions of the Court. During that period he held the following positions while performing his magisterial functions:
- Chief Coroner of the Northern Territory/Inaugural Territory Coroner 1990- 1996
- Chairman of the Agents Licensing Board 1990-1993
- Inaugural President of the Mental Health Review Tribunal 2000-2001
- Managing Magistrate of the Work Health Court 2004 - 2013
- Chairman of the Lands Planning and Mining Tribunal 2007-2012
In March 2013, His Honour was appointed Deputy Chief Magistrate of the Northern Territory, a position he occupied until he was appointed Chief Magistrate in September 2013. When the title of Northern Territory Magistrates was changed to “Judge” in May 2016 he became the Chief Judge of the Local Court of the Northern Territory, and will continue to hold that position until his retirement on 4 October 2019.
His Honour holds a number of tertiary qualifications: a combined Arts/Law Degree, a Diploma in Jurisprudence and a Diploma in Criminology and a Degree of Master of Laws (Hons Class 1) from the University of Sydney. He also holds a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Charles Darwin University.
He has also written about the historical development and judicialisation of the magistracy, judicial independence and accountability, the delivery of justice in the lower courts and the role of judicial associations in a modern democracy.
His Honour is a former President of the Association of Australian Magistrates (AAM) and a former President of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA). He currently holds the position of Immediate Past President of the CMJA.