James Spigelman

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The Honourable
James Spigelman
ACQC
Jj spigelman.jpg
16th Chief Justice of New South Wales
In office
19 May 1998 – 31 May 2011
Appointed by Gordon Samuels
Preceded by Murray Gleeson
Succeeded by Tom Bathurst
20th Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales
In office
1 April 1998 – 31 May 2011
Preceded by Murray Gleeson
Succeeded by Tom Bathurst
Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 April 2012
Preceded by Maurice Newman
Secretary of the Department of the Media
In office
30 June 1975 – 22 December 1975
Personal details
Born (1946-01-01) 1 January 1946 (age 68)
Sosnowiec, Poland
Nationality Australian
Religion Judaism

The Honourable James Jacob Spigelman ACQC (born 1 January 1946) is a former Australian judge. He served as Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 19 May 1998 until 31 May 2011. On 8 March 2012 it was announced that he would become chairperson of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He was appointed to the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong on 8 April 2013 as a non-permanent judge from other common law jurisdictions.[1]

Early years and education[edit]

Spigelman was born in Sosnowiec, Poland, on 1 January 1946. He arrived in Australia with his family in 1949[2][3] and attended Maroubra Public School and later Sydney Boys High School. He then went on to study Arts at the University of Sydney, where he attained First-Class Honours in Government and Second-Class Honours (Division 1) in Economics. Subsequently, he studied law, graduating in 1971 with First-Class Honours and the University Medal.[3]

Spigelman participated in the 1965 Freedom Ride, a project undertaken by students to draw attention to problems faced by Indigenous communities in NSW. In 1969 he was President of the Students' Representative Council. From 1969-1971, he was the Student Fellow of the University Senate.[3]

Career[edit]

Early legal career[edit]

Spigelman was admitted to practise as a solicitor in 1972. From 1972 to 1975, he served as Senior Advisor and Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. In 1975, he was appointed the Secretary of the Department of the Media.[4][3][5]

In 1976 Spigelman was admitted to the NSW Bar. He did not commence practice until three years later, when he first served for several years as a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission and also spent time overseas. Spigelman's primary areas of practice at the bar included constitutional law, administrative law, and appellate work.

In 1986, Spigelman was appointed Queen's Counsel; and, in 1997, he served as Solicitor-General of New South Wales.[2][3]

Judicial career[edit]

The Premier Bob Carr appointed Spigelman Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and Lieutenant Governor of NSW, effective 19 May 1998.[2][3][5]

Spigelman was regarded as the favourite to succeed Murray Gleeson as Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia when he stepped down in late 2008.[6] However, this appointment went instead to Robert French.

On 18 March 2011, Spigelman announced his decision to resign as Chief Justice, effective 31 May 2011.[5][7] Reviewing Spigelman's 13-year term of office, Sydney Morning Herald columnist, David Marr commented that "... the Chief Justice of NSW .... blazed an incomparable trail.... every stage of Jim Spigelman's remarkable career has been like that: briefly surprising and then absolutely convincing".[8] Marr claims that Spigelman's achievements include the renewal of the ranks of the Supreme Court, running a polite and friendly Court, and modernising the Court's business practices and rules. According to Bret Walker SC, Spigelman was renowned for "... showing his decided preference for efficient, better-value-for-money justice."[8]

He retired on 31 May 2011 and was succeeded by Tom Bathurst QC. Spigelman has also been a justice on the Supreme Court of Fiji.

Chairman of the ABC[edit]

On 8 March 2012, Prime Minister Gillard announced he would become chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), starting a 5-year term on 1 April 2012.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Spigelman's parents, Gustawa and Majloch Spigelman, survived World War II and moved to Australia at the conclusion of the war. They are both now deceased. He has two brothers.

He is married with a son and two daughters.

He supports the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL.

Community leadership[edit]

Spigelman has a strong interest in the arts. His community involvement includes:[3]

Honours[edit]

  • Justice Spigelman became a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2000, for services to law and to the community through leadership in bringing about change in attitudes to the administration of justice for a more fair and equitable society, and to the support of the visual arts.[10]
  • In 2001, Justice Spigelman was one of over 15,000 Australians to be awarded a Centenary Medal.[11]
  • He has received honorary doctorates from two universities in Sydney: University of Sydney, Doctor of Laws (honoris causa), 2004;[3] and Macquarie University, Doctor of Letters (honoris causa), 2012.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Top court gets new permanent judge
  2. ^ a b c "The Honourable James Jacob Spigelman, AC". Chief Justices of New South Wales. Supreme Court of New South Wales. 19 May 1998. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Hon Justice James Jacob Spigelman AC". Honorary Doctor of Laws Conferral Citation. The University of Sydney. 28 May 2004. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Whitlam, Gough (16 June 1975). "Appointments" (Press release). Archived from the original on 11 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Pelly, Michael (18 March 2011). "Spigelman quits as NSW Chief Justice, seven years before mandatory retirement age". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Koutsoukis, Jason (9 March 2008). "Spigelman odds-on for High Court". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Jacobsen, Geesche (19 March 2011). "Chief Justice announces he will retire". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Marr, David; Jacobsen, Geesche; Snow, Deborah; Gibson, Joel (19 March 2011). "A time to refresh for a defining force". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Spigelman confirmed as new ABC chairman". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "SPIGELMAN, James Jacob - Companion of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 12 June 2000. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  11. ^ "SPIGELMAN, James Jacob - Centenary Meda". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Honorary Doctorate awarded to His Honour James J Spigelman AC QC". Macquarie University. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Murray Gleeson
Chief Justice of New South Wales
1998 – 2011
Succeeded by
Tom Bathurst
Government offices
Preceded by
James Oswin
Secretary of the Department of the Media
1975
Department abolished
Preceded by
Murray Gleeson
Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales
1998 – 2011
Succeeded by
Tom Bathurst
Media offices
Preceded by
Maurice Newman
Chair, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
2012 – present
Incumbent
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal
Succeeded by
William Gummow
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal

External links[edit]