Sir Daryl Dawson
AC KBE CB QC
|Justice of the High Court of Australia|
30 July 1982 – 15 August 1997
|Nominated by||Malcolm Fraser|
|Appointed by||Ninian Stephen|
|Preceded by||Sir Keith Aickin|
|Succeeded by||Kenneth Hayne|
|Born||12 December 1933|
Early life and education
Dawson was admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1957 (and later to the Tasmanian Bar in 1972). In the 1960s, Dawson was commander of the Royal Australian Navy's legal service in Melbourne, holding the rank of lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve. Dawson was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1971. From 1974 to 1982, Dawson served as the Solicitor-General of Victoria.
Dawson was a member of the Australian Motor Sport Appeal Court from 1974 to 1986, and was the chairman of this court in 1987. In 1982, Dawson was appointed a Justice of the High Court of Australia, a position he held until retiring on 15 August 1997. He was the only justice in dissent in the case of Mabo v Queensland as well as Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd v Amadio. This is how he got the nickname Dissenting Dawson. He also dissented in Australian Capital Television v Commonwealth, holding there was no implied freedom of political communication in the Australian Constitution. From 1997 until 2003, Dawson served as a non-permanent judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.
Justice Dawson headed a Royal Commission into the 1998 explosion at a natural gas processing plant at Longford, which killed two people and crippled Victoria's energy supply for weeks.
He occasionally adjudicates mooting competitions at the University of Melbourne.
In 1980, Dawson was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB). Dawson was knighted in 1982, becoming a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), and known formally as Sir Daryl Dawson. In 1986, Dawson was made a Companion of the Order of Australia; at the time, Australia's highest civilian honour. In 2006, he was awarded a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from Monash University, with the University of Melbourne conferring the same award.