New South Wales Court of Appeal

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New South Wales Court of Appeal
Coat of Arms of New South Wales.svg
Established 1 January 1966 (1966-01-01)
Jurisdiction New South Wales, Australia
Location Sydney
Coordinates 33°52′08″S 151°12′42″E / 33.868918°S 151.211628°E / -33.868918; 151.211628Coordinates: 33°52′08″S 151°12′42″E / 33.868918°S 151.211628°E / -33.868918; 151.211628
Composition method Vice-regal appointment upon Premier's nomination, following advice of the Attorney General and Cabinet
Authorized by Parliament of New South Wales via the:
Decisions are appealed to High Court of Australia
Decisions are heard for appeals from
Judge term length mandatory retirement by age of 72
Chief Justice of New South Wales
Currently Justice Tom Bathurst AC
Since 1 June 2011 (2011-06-01)
President of the Court of Appeal
Currently Justice Margaret Beazley AO
Since 1 March 2013 (2013-03-01)

The New South Wales Court of Appeal, part of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, is the highest court for civil matters and has appellate jurisdiction in the Australian state of New South Wales.


The Court of Appeal operates pursuant to the Supreme Court Act 1970 (NSW). The Court hears appeals from a variety of courts and tribunals in New South Wales, in particular the Supreme Court, the Industrial Court, the Land and Environment Court, the District Court, the Dust Diseases Tribunal, the Workers Compensation Commission, and the Government and Related Employees Appeal Tribunal.[1] The Court of Appeal must grant leave to appeal a judgment of an inferior court, before it hears the appeal proper.

If a petitioner is not satisfied with the decision made by the Court of Appeal, application may be made to the High Court of Australia for special leave to appeal the decision before the High Court. Because special leave is only granted by the High Court under certain conditions, the Court of Appeal is in effect a court of final appeal for many matters.


Although the New South Wales Court of Appeal commenced operation on 1 January 1966 with the appointment of the President, Sir Gordon Wallace, and six Judges of Appeal, Bernard Sugerman, Charles McLelland, Cyril Walsh, Kenneth Jacobs, Kenneth Asprey and John Holmes Dashwood, the Court of Appeal was established in 1965, replacing the former appellate Full Court of the New South Wales Supreme Court.[2] The advent of the Court of Appeal was controversial, as it introduced another order and unexpectedly uprooted the established order of hierarchy and seniority among judges of the Supreme Court.[2]

Current Composition[edit]

The Court of Appeal consists of the Chief Justice of New South Wales, the President of the Court of Appeal and nine judges of appeal. There are currently twelve judges of appeal with current commissions. However, three of them, Justice Hoeben Justice Ward and Justice McClellan, are not operating full-time as judges of appeal. Justice Hoeben is Chief Judge at Common Law,[3] Justice Ward is Chief Judge in Equity,[3] and Justice McClellan is chairing a Royal Commission.[4]

Judges who may form a panel or hear sentence appeals from the Drug Court alone are listed below:

Name Title Term began Time in office
Bathurst, TomTom Bathurst AC Chief Justice [5] 1 June 2011 6 years, 263 days
Beazley, MargaretMargaret Beazley AO President, Court of Appeal [6] 2 January 2013 5 years, 48 days
Hoeben, CliftonClifton Hoeben AM, RFD Judge of Appeal 23 April 2012 5 years, 302 days
Chief Judge at Common Law 21 February 2013 4 years, 363 days
Ward, JulieJulie Ward Judge of Appeal 12 November 2012 5 years, 99 days
Chief Judge in Equity 15 March 2017 341 days
McColl, RuthRuth McColl AO Judge of Appeal[3] 29 April 2003 14 years, 296 days
Basten, JohnJohn Basten 2 May 2005 12 years, 293 days
Macfarlan, RobertRobert Macfarlan 8 September 2008 9 years, 164 days
Meagher, AnthonyAnthony Meagher 10 August 2011 6 years, 193 days
McClellan, PeterPeter McClellan AM 21 February 2013 4 years, 363 days
Gleeson, FabianFabian Gleeson 29 April 2013 4 years, 296 days
Leeming, MarkMark Leeming 3 June 2013 4 years, 261 days
Simpson, CarolynCarolyn Simpson 11 June 2015 2 years, 253 days
Payne, AnthonyAnthony Payne 30 March 2016 1 year, 326 days
White, RichardRichard White 15 March 2017 341 days
Sackville, RonaldRonald Sackville Acting Judges of Appeal
Emmett, ArthurArthur Emmett 7 March 2013 4 years, 349 days
Barrett, Reginald IanReginald Ian Barrett 1 April 2015 2 years, 324 days

Most judges in the Court of Appeal also sit on the Court of Criminal Appeal in varying degrees of frequency. The Chief Judge at Common Law, Justice Hoeben, and the Chief Judge in Equity, Justice Ward, also sit on the Court of Appeal (and the Court of Criminal Appeal) from time to time.

Presidents of the Court of Appeal[edit]

Name Appointment
Term as
Sir Gordon Wallace 1 January 1966 21 January 1970 4 years, 20 days Retired
Sir Bernard Sugerman 2 January 1970 30 September 1972 2 years, 252 days Retired
Sir Kenneth Jacobs KBE 1 October 1972 7 February 1974 1 year, 129 days Appointed to the High Court
Moffitt, AtholAthol Moffitt CMG 8 February 1974 25 June 1984 10 years, 138 days Retired
Kirby, MichaelMichael Kirby AC CMG 24 September 1984 6 February 1996 11 years, 135 days Appointed to the High Court
Mahoney, DennisDennis Mahoney AO 19 February 1996 3 February 1997 350 days Retired.
Mason, KeithKeith Mason AC 4 February 1997 30 May 2008 11 years, 183 days Retired
Allsop, JamesJames Allsop AO 1 June 2008 28 February 2013 4 years, 272 days Appointed Chief Justice of the Federal Court
Beazley, MargaretMargaret Beazley AO 1 March 2013 4 years, 355 days

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the Supreme Court". Supreme Court of New South Wales. New South Wales Government. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Kirby, M (2008). "Judicial Supersession: The Controversial Establishment of the New South Wales Court of Appeal". Sydney Law Review. Camperdown: Sydney Law School (30): 177–208. 
  3. ^ a b c "Judicial officer contact details". Supreme Court of New South Wales. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "Meet our Commissioners". Child Abuse Royal Commission. 
  5. ^ Patty, A (13 May 2011). "Tom Bathurst appointed NSW Chief Justice". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  6. ^ Alexander, H (20 December 2012). "First female head to run appeal court". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 

External links[edit]