Annabelle Bennett

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Annabelle Claire Bennett AO is a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia.

Early life and education[edit]

Bennett's father was a lawyer, and at an early age she had hopes of following him into the legal profession. Her father, however, thought that law was a bad career choice for women, because "you had to be better than the best to break even" [1] and discouraged his daughter from pursuing this ambition. Instead, Bennett studied science at the University of Sydney and completed a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the same institution.

In 1980, still interested in the legal profession, Bennett went on to study law at the University of New South Wales.[1]


After graduating from the University of New South Wales, Bennett began practising as a barrister, specialising in intellectual property law.[1][2]


She was appointed to the Federal Court of Australia in May 2003.[3] Bennett is also an additional Judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and a presidential member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.[3]

Awards and honours[edit]

Bennett was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2005, for services to law.[1] In 2011, she received the honorary degree of Doctor of the University from the Australian National University.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Bennett is married to David Bennett, the former Commonwealth Solicitor-General.[1]

Outside of the courtroom, Bennett's interest in biological sciences has continued, and she has been involved in a number of committees, including the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee, the Biotechnology Task Force and the Gene Patenting Advisory Committee of the Australian Law Reform Commission. She has also served as a Director of the Sydney Children's Hospital and Neuroscience Research Australia and is a former president of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences.[2][1] In 2012, she was appointed Chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council. [4]

Her Honour is also a past President of Chief Executive Women, a former Trustee of the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, and was a member of the Reference Group for the APEC Women Leaders' Network Meeting 2007 and the Head of the Australian Delegation to the APEC Women Leaders' Network Meeting 2008 in Peru.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Jerums, Georgina (January 2009). "A Top Honour". Management Today (Australian Institute of Management). 
  2. ^ a b c "Annabelle Claire Bennett: Citation for an Honorary Degree" (PDF). The Australian National University. 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "The Hon Annabelle Claire BENNETT AO". Federal Court of Australia. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  4. ^