List of Justices of the High Court of Australia

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The composition of the High Court in 1952, before the retirement of Chief Justice Latham.

The following table contains the details of the 46 men and four women who have ever been appointed as Justices of the High Court of Australia. The High Court of Australia was formed in 1903 under the Judiciary Act 1903, and under Section 71 of the Australian Constitution the judicial power of the Commonwealth of Australia is vested in the Court.[1] Since the passing of the Australia Act 1986, the court has been the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy.

History[edit]

The court is currently composed of seven judges, including six Justices and the Chief Justice of Australia.

Prior to 1977, appointments were for life; but since 1977, appointments are made until the mandatory retirement age of seventy. Due to the steady increase in the judicial workload, several Justices have retired before reaching the mandatory retirement age.

List of Justices[edit]

The current judges are listed in bold on the table below.

# Image Name State Birth/death Term
began
Term
ended
Chief term
began
Chief term
ended
PM at app't Prior judicial
experience
Reason left
1 SGriff1.jpg Griffith, Sir SamuelSir Samuel Griffith Qld 1845–1920 5 October 1903 17 October 1919 5 October 1903 17 October 1919 Deakin Chief Justice,
Sup Ct of Qld
Retired
2 Edmund Barton.PNG Barton, Sir EdmundSir Edmund Barton NSW 1849–1920 5 October 1903 7 January 1920
Deakin None Died
3 Richard o'connor.jpg O'Connor, RichardRichard O'Connor NSW 1851–1912 5 October 1903 18 November 1912
Deakin None Died
4 Ac.isaacs.jpg Isaacs, Sir IsaacSir Isaac Isaacs Vic 1855–1948 12 October 1906 21 January 1931 2 April 1930 21 January 1931 Deakin
(Justice)
Scullin
(Chief)
None Resigned
5 Hbhiggins.jpg Higgins, H. B.H. B. Higgins Vic 1851–1929 13 October 1906 13 January 1929
Deakin None Died
6 Frank gavan duffy.jpg Duffy, Sir Frank GavanSir Frank Gavan Duffy Vic 1852–1936 11 February 1913 1 October 1935 22 January 1931 1 October 1935 Fisher
(Justice)
Scullin
(Chief)
None Retired
7 Charlespowers.jpg Powers, Sir CharlesSir Charles Powers Qld 1853–1939 5 March 1913 22 July 1929
Fisher None Resigned
8* Albert Piddington.jpg Piddington, AlbertAlbert Piddington NSW 1862–1945 6 March 1913 5 April 1913
Fisher None Resigned
9 Fond blanc.svg Rich, Sir GeorgeSir George Rich NSW 1863–1956 5 April 1913 5 May 1950
Fisher Sup Ct of NSW Resigned
10 SirAdrianKnox.jpg Knox, Sir AdrianSir Adrian Knox NSW 1863–1932 18 October 1919 31 March 1930 18 October 1919 31 March 1930 Hughes None Resigned
11 Fond blanc.svg Starke, Sir HaydenSir Hayden Starke Vic 1871–1958 5 February 1920 31 January 1950
Hughes None Resigned
12 Dixon 01.jpg Dixon, Sir OwenSir Owen Dixon Vic 1886–1972 4 February 1929 13 April 1964 18 April 1952 13 April 1964 Bruce
(Justice)
Menzies
(Chief)
None Retired
13 EvattALP.jpg Evatt, H. V.H. V. Evatt NSW 1894–1965 19 December 1930 2 September 1940
Scullin None Resigned
14 Edward McTiernan 1954.jpg McTiernan, Sir EdwardSir Edward McTiernan NSW 1892–1990 20 December 1930 12 September 1976
Scullin None Retired
15 CJSJohnLatham.jpg Latham, Sir JohnSir John Latham Vic 1877–1964 11 October 1935 7 April 1952 11 October 1935 7 April 1952 Lyons None Retired
16 Fond blanc.svg Williams, Sir DudleySir Dudley Williams NSW 1889–1963 15 October 1940 31 July 1958
Menzies Sup Ct of NSW Resigned
17 William Webb.jpg Webb, Sir WilliamSir William Webb Qld 1887–1972 16 May 1946 16 May 1958
Chifley Chief Justice,
Sup Ct of Qld
Resigned
18 Fond blanc.svg Fullagar, Sir WilfredSir Wilfred Fullagar Vic 1892–1961 8 February 1950 9 July 1961
Menzies Sup Ct of Vic Died
19 Fond blanc.svg Kitto, Sir FrankSir Frank Kitto NSW 1903–1994 10 May 1950 1 August 1970
Menzies None Resigned
20 Fond blanc.svg Taylor, Sir AlanSir Alan Taylor NSW 1901–1969 3 September 1952 3 August 1969
Menzies Sup Ct of NSW Died
21 Fond blanc.svg Menzies, Sir DouglasSir Douglas Menzies Vic 1907–1974 12 June 1958 29 November 1974
Menzies None Died
22 Fond blanc.svg Windeyer, Sir VictorSir Victor Windeyer NSW 1900–1987 8 September 1958 29 February 1972
Menzies None Retired
23 Fond blanc.svg Owen, Sir WilliamSir William Owen NSW 1899–1972 22 September 1961 31 March 1972
Menzies Sup Ct of NSW Died
24 Barwick, Sir GarfieldSir Garfield Barwick NSW 1903–1997 27 April 1964 11 February 1981 27 April 1964 11 February 1981 Menzies None Retired
25 Fond blanc.svg Walsh, Sir CyrilSir Cyril Walsh NSW 1909–1973 20 September 1969 29 November 1973
Gorton Sup Ct of NSW
NSW Ct of App
Died
26 Fond blanc.svg Gibbs, Sir HarrySir Harry Gibbs Qld 1917–2005 4 August 1970 5 February 1987 12 February 1981 5 February 1987 Gorton
(Justice)
Fraser
(Chief)
Fed Ct of BK
Sup Ct of Qld
Retired
27 NinianStephen.gif Stephen, Sir NinianSir Ninian Stephen Vic 1923– 1 March 1972 11 May 1982
McMahon Sup Ct of Vic Resigned
28 Fond blanc.svg Mason, Sir AnthonySir Anthony Mason NSW 1925– 7 August 1972 20 April 1995 6 February 1987 20 April 1995 McMahon
(Justice)
Hawke
(Chief)
Sup Ct of NSW
NSW Ct of App
Retired
29 Fond blanc.svg Jacobs, Sir KennethSir Kenneth Jacobs NSW 1917– 8 February 1974 6 April 1979
Whitlam Sup Ct of NSW
NSW Ct of App
Resigned
30 Fond blanc.svg Murphy, LionelLionel Murphy NSW 1922–1986 10 February 1975 21 October 1986
Whitlam None Died
31 Fond blanc.svg Aickin, Sir KeithSir Keith Aickin Vic 1916–1982 20 September 1976 18 June 1982
Fraser None Died
32 Fond blanc.svg Wilson, Sir RonaldSir Ronald Wilson WA 1922–2005 21 May 1979 13 February 1989
Fraser None Resigned
33 Fond blanc.svg Brennan, Sir GerardSir Gerard Brennan Qld 1928– 12 February 1981 21 May 1998 21 April 1995 21 May 1998 Fraser
(Justice)
Keating
(Chief)
Fed Ct Retired
34 William Deane cropped.jpg Deane, Sir WilliamSir William Deane NSW 1931– 25 June 1982 11 November 1995
Fraser Fed Ct Resigned
35 Fond blanc.svg Dawson, Sir DarylSir Daryl Dawson Vic 1933– 30 July 1982 15 August 1997
Fraser None Resigned
36 Fond blanc.svg Toohey, JohnJohn Toohey WA 1930– 6 February 1987 2 February 1998
Hawke Fed Ct Resigned
37 Fond blanc.svg Gaudron, MaryMary Gaudron NSW 1943– 6 February 1987 31 January 2003
Hawke None Resigned
38 Fond blanc.svg McHugh, MichaelMichael McHugh NSW 1935– 14 February 1989 1 November 2005
Hawke Sup Ct of NSW
NSW Ct of App
Retired
39 Fond blanc.svg Gummow, WilliamWilliam Gummow NSW 1942– 21 April 1995 8 October 2012
Keating Fed Ct Retired
40 Justice Michael Kirby.jpg Kirby, MichaelMichael Kirby NSW 1939– 6 February 1996 2 February 2009
Keating Sup Ct of NSW
Pres, NSW Ct of App
Resigned
41 Fond blanc.svg Hayne, KennethKenneth Hayne Vic 1945– 22 September 1997 Incumbent
Howard Sup Ct of Vic
Vic Ct of App
42 IanCallinan.jpg Callinan, IanIan Callinan Qld 1937– 3 February 1998 31 August 2007[2]
Howard None Retired
43 Gleeson photo.jpg Gleeson, MurrayMurray Gleeson NSW 1938– 22 May 1998 29 August 2008[3] 22 May 1998 29 August 2008[3] Howard Chief Justice,
Sup Ct of NSW
Retired
44 Heydonjustice.jpg Heydon, DysonDyson Heydon NSW 1943– 1 February 2003 28 February 2013
Howard Sup Ct of NSW
NSW Ct of App
Retired
45 Fond blanc.svg Crennan, SusanSusan Crennan Vic 1945– 1 November 2005 Incumbent
Howard Fed Ct
46 Fond blanc.svg Kiefel, SusanSusan Kiefel Qld 1954– 4 September 2007 Incumbent
Howard Sup Ct of Qld
Fed Ct
47 Cj French.jpg French, RobertRobert French WA 1947– 1 September 2008 Incumbent 1 September 2008[3] Incumbent Rudd Fed Ct
48 Fond blanc.svg Bell, VirginiaVirginia Bell NSW 1951– 3 February 2009[4] Incumbent
Rudd Sup Ct of NSW
NSW Ct of App
49 Fond blanc.svg Gageler, StephenStephen Gageler NSW 1958– 9 October 2012[5] Incumbent
Gillard None
50 Fond blanc.svg Keane, PatrickPatrick Keane Qld 1952– 1 March 2013 Incumbent
Gillard Sup Ct of Qld
Fed Ct

* Albert Piddington resigned from the High Court before being sworn in. He never sat on the High Court bench.

Current Justices[edit]

v · t · e

Name[6] State Date appointed Mandatory retirement Appointing
Governor-General
Prime Minister Previous judicial posting(s) Education
(Chief) French, RobertRobert French AC Western Australia 1 September 2008 19 March 2017 Jeffery, MichaelMichael Jeffery Rudd, KevinKevin Rudd (Labor) Federal Court of Australia University of Western Australia
Hayne, KennethKenneth Hayne AC QC Victoria 22 September 1997 5 June 2015 Deane, Sir WilliamSir William Deane Howard, JohnJohn Howard (Liberal) Supreme Court of Victoria University of Melbourne
University of Oxford
Crennan, SusanSusan Crennan AC QC Victoria 1 November 2005 1 July 2015 Jeffery, MichaelMichael Jeffery Howard, JohnJohn Howard (Liberal) Federal Court of Australia University of Sydney
University of Melbourne
Kiefel, SusanSusan Kiefel AC QC Queensland 3 September 2007 17 January 2024 Jeffery, MichaelMichael Jeffery Howard, JohnJohn Howard (Liberal) Supreme Court of Queensland
Federal Court of Australia
Queensland Barristers' Admission Board
University of Cambridge
Bell, VirginiaVirginia Bell AC SC New South Wales 3 February 2009 7 March 2021 Bryce, Dame QuentinDame Quentin Bryce Rudd, KevinKevin Rudd (Labor) Supreme Court of New South Wales University of Sydney
Gageler, StephenStephen Gageler SC New South Wales 9 October 2012 5 July 2028 Bryce, Dame QuentinDame Quentin Bryce Gillard, JuliaJulia Gillard (Labor) None; former Solicitor-General of Australia Australian National University
Harvard University
Keane, PatrickPatrick Keane QC Queensland 1 March 2013 26 October 2022 Bryce, Dame QuentinDame Quentin Bryce Gillard, JuliaJulia Gillard (Labor) Supreme Court of Queensland
Federal Court of Australia
University of Queensland
University of Oxford

Composition of the High Court[edit]

13 politicians, serving or former, have been appointed to the High Court of Australia. Nine justices have served in the Parliament of Australia: Edmund Barton, Richard O'Connor, Isaac Isaacs, H. B. Higgins, Edward McTiernan, H. V. Evatt, John Latham, Garfield Barwick, and Lionel Murphy. All but Evatt were appointed after their parliamentary service; Evatt resigned from the bench in order to pursue his federal political career, although he had previously served in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. In addition to the above, four justices served in colonial parliaments: Samuel Griffith, Charles Powers, Albert Piddington and Adrian Knox, although all concluded their political careers more than 10 years prior to their appointments. No justice since Lionel Murphy has served in state or federal parliament.

This following chart illustrates the composition of the High Court. It indicates the seven seats of the court and who has occupied each seat at different points in the court's existence. The red portions represent the future part of a judge's term and show the date at which they are bound to retire from the court (although they may choose to retire before that date). The blue portions of a judge's term show a period in which that judge was Chief Justice.

Patrick Keane Dyson Heydon Mary Gaudron Harry Gibbs Frank Kitto George Rich Albert Piddington Virginia Bell Michael Kirby (judge) William Deane Ninian Stephen Victor Windeyer Dudley Williams H.V. Evatt Charles Powers Robert French Murray Gleeson Gerard Brennan Garfield Barwick Owen Dixon H.B. Higgins Susan Kiefel Ian Callinan John Toohey Lionel Murphy Douglas Menzies William Webb Isaac Isaacs Susan Crennan Michael McHugh Ronald Wilson Kenneth Jacobs Cyril Walsh Alan Taylor (jurist) John Latham (Australian jurist) Frank Gavan Duffy Richard O'Connor (Australian politician) Stephen Gageler William Gummow Anthony Mason William Owen (judge) Wilfred Fullagar Hayden Starke Edmund Barton Kenneth Hayne Daryl Dawson Keith Aickin Edward McTiernan Adrian Knox Samuel Griffith

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, s 71 ("Judicial power & courts"). From Australian Legal Information Institute (AUSTLII), "Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act: Chapter III: The Judicature: Section 71". Accessed 26 January 2007.
  2. ^ "Callinan retires from High Court", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 31 August 2007. Accessed 31 August 2007.
  3. ^ a b c "Chief Justice honoured at retirement ceremony". ABC News. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "Michael Kirby leaves High Court bench with 'faith' in law intact". The Australian. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Solicitor-General Gagelar appointed to High Court". ABC News. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "About the Justices". High Court of Australia. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 

External links[edit]