Michael McHugh

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Michael McHugh
Justice of the High Court of Australia
In office
14 February 1989 – 1 November 2005
Nominated by Bob Hawke
Appointed by Ninian Stephen
Preceded by Ronald Wilson
Succeeded by Susan Crennan
Personal details
Born (1935-11-01) 1 November 1935 (age 79)
New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian

Michael Hudson McHugh, AC, QC (born 1 November 1935) is a former justice of the High Court of Australia; the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy.[1]

Early years[edit]

The son of a miner and steelworker, he left school at 15 despite excelling academically and in rugby league at Marist Brothers, Newcastle. For the next seven years, he worked as a telegram boy, crane chaser, sawmill worker and labourer until he enrolled at evening school. At 22, with his Leaving Certificate in hand, he started studying law as a student-at-law with the Legal Profession Admission Board and taught by the University of Sydney.[2]

Legal career[edit]

McHugh was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1961 after taking the Barristers Admission Board Examinations.

He was appointed Queen's Counsel (QC) in 1973 and was Vice President of the New South Wales Bar Association, 1978-81, and later as President, 1981-83.

In 1980, he was counsel for Wyong Shire Council in Wyong Shire Council v Shirt, a landmark negligence case on breach of duty. He was President of the Australian Bar Association 1983-84.

NSW Court of Appeal judicial appointment[edit]

He was appointed as a Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1984.[citation needed]

High Court appointment[edit]

He was appointed as a judge of the High Court in February 1989, a position he held until his retirement in November 2005 in accordance with Section 72 of the Australian Constitution, which states that Justices of the High Court must retire from office upon turning 70.

Post-retirement[edit]

After he retired from the High Court, Justice McHugh was appointed as one of the Non-Permanent Justices of the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong. Another Australian judge on the Court of Final Appeal is Sir Anthony Mason.

On 20 September 2005, it was announced that Justice Susan Crennan, then of the Federal Court of Australia, would take his vacated position on the High Court.[citation needed]

McHugh now works as an independent mediator and arbitrator.

Family[edit]

He is married to a former Australian federal MP and Minister Jeannette McHugh.

Honours[edit]

  • He received Australia's highest civil honour when he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 1989.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Michael McHugh interview". catalogue.nla.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  2. ^ McHugh's early years