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Former Justices

Apart from the current members of the Court, there have been 11 Chief Justices and 36 Justices since the Court was established in 1903. A biographical synopsis of each is given below.

(born 1938). Chief Justice 1998-2008. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales 1988-98.
Admitted New South Wales Bar 1963 (QC 1974). President New South Wales Bar Association 1984-85. Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales 1989-98.

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Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press Australia, from The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia, by Tony Blackshield, Michael Coper and George Williams (eds), 2001, © Oxford University Press, www.oup.com.au

Artworks of the High Court | Portraits of Chief Justices

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Robert Shenton French was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia in September 2008. At the time of his appointment he was a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, having been appointed to that office in November 1986.

He graduated from the University of Western Australia in science and law. He was admitted in 1972 and practised as a barrister and solicitor in Western Australia until 1983 when he went to the Western Australian Bar. From 1994 to 1998 he was President of the National Native Title Tribunal. At the time of his appointment he was an additional member of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and a member of the Supreme Court of Fiji. He was also a Deputy President of the Australian Competition Tribunal and a part-time member of the Australian Law Reform Commission. From 2001 to January 2005 he was president of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law. Chief Justice French was appointed a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 2010.

Speeches by Chief Justice French AC

 

(born 1849; died 1920). A Justice 1903-20.
Admitted NSW Bar 1871 (QC 1889). MLA (NSW) 1879-87 and 1891-94 (Attorney-General) and 1898-1900 (Leader of the Opposition). MLC (NSW) 1897-98. First Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for External Affairs 1901-03. PC (1901).

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Artworks of the High Court | Portraits of Chief Justices

(born 1851; died 1912). A Justice 1903-12. Admitted NSW Bar 1876 (QC 1889). MLC (NSW) 1887-1900, including Minister for Justice 1891-93. Senator 1901-03 (Leader). First President Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court 1905-07.

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Artworks of the High Court | Portraits of Chief Justices

(born 1855; died 1948). A Justice 1906-30. Chief Justice 1930-31.
Admitted Victorian Bar 1880 (QC 1899). MLA (Victoria) 1892-1901, including Attorney-General 1894-99 and 1900-01. MHR 1901-06, including Attorney-General 1904-06. Governor-General of Australia 1931-36. PC (1921).

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Artworks of the High Court | Portraits of Chief Justices

(born 1851; died 1929). A Justice 1906-29.
Admitted Victorian Bar 1876 (KC 1903). Called to English Bar 1886. MLA (Victoria) 1894-1900. MHR 1901-06, including Attorney-General 1904. President Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration 1907-20.

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(born 1852; died 1936). A Justice 1913-31. Chief Justice 1931-35.
Admitted Victorian Bar 1874 (KC 1901). Founding editor of Australian Law Times 1879-1883. PC (1932).

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Artworks of the High Court | Portraits of Chief Justices

(born 1853; died 1939). A Justice 1913-29.
Admitted Queensland Bar 1894. MLA (Qld) 1888-95, including Postmaster-General 1889-90, Leader of the Opposition 1894-95. Crown Solicitor (Qld) 1899-1903. First Commonwealth Crown Solicitor 1903-13. President Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration 1921-26.

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(born 1862; died 1945). A Justice 6 March 1913 - 5 April 1913.
Admitted NSW Bar 1890 (KC 1921). MLA (NSW) 1895. President NSW Industrial Commission 1927-32.

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(born 1863; died 1956). A Justice 1913-50.
Admitted NSW Bar 1887 (KC 1911). Judge Supreme Court of NSW 1911-13. Australian delegate to League of Nations 1922. PC (1936).

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