Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, Vice Patron

When he retired from the High Court of Australia on 2 February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge.

He was first appointed in 1975 as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission. Soon after, he was seconded as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84). Later, he was appointed a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal and, concurrently, the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands. His appointment to the High Court came in 1996 and he served thirteen years. In later years, he was Acting Chief Justice of Australia twice.

In addition to his judicial duties, Michael Kirby served on three university governing bodies being elected Chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney (1984-93). He also served on national and international bodies. Amongst the latter have been service as President of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva (1995-8); as UN Special Representative Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-6); as a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (1995-2005); as a member of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Judicial Reference Group (2007-); and as a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on Human Rights (2004-).

Since his judicial retirement, Michael Kirby has been elected President of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Laws of Australia. He has been appointed Honorary Visiting Professor by eight Australian universities. He also participates regularly in many local and international conferences and meetings.

His two siblings, Donald and David are also in Law (a Senior Solicitor and a State Supreme Court Judge) as well as numerous nephews and nieces.