Kenneth Asprey

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The Honourable
Kenneth Asprey
Born July 15, 1905
Sydney, Australia
Died October 28, 1993
Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australian
Education Newington College
University of Sydney
Occupation Solicitor
Queen's Counsel
Royal Commissioner
Spouse(s) 1935 Margaret (dec)
1977 Mary née Snow
Children 2 daughters
Parent(s) W Asprey

Kenneth William Asprey (15 July 1905 – 28 October 1993) was a judge of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, the highest court in the State of New South Wales, Australia, which forms part of the Australian court hierarchy.[1]

He came to public prominence as a Royal Commissioner appointed to the second Voyager Royal Commission and on handing down of his review of the tax system in Australia in 1975. Although controversial at the time, the Asprey report on taxation has acted "as a guide and inspiration to governments and their advisers for the following 25 years." The main recommendations of the report have all been implemented and are today part of Commonwealth taxation in Australia.[2]

Professor Gillian Triggs, Dean of the University of Sydney Law School, at the 2011 launch of the Asprey Law Library Collection, described him as being "widely regarded as a leader of the NSW Bar. He was a noted mentor of young barristers, greatly admired by them and by his peers. He was a justice of the inaugural NSW Court of Appeal, and a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George was awarded to him in recognition of his services to the law."[3]

Early life[edit]

Asprey was born in Sydney and educated at Newington College (1914–1922)[4] and the University of Sydney (1923–1928),[5] where he graduated in arts and law.

Legal career[edit]

In 1929, Asprey commenced practising as a solicitor and in 1929 went to the bar. He took silk in 1952 and was appointed to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1962. On its commencement in 1966, he was appointed to the NSW Court of Appeal. In the same year he was appointed to the second Voyager Royal Commission. Asprey retired from the bench in 1975. An obituary, written by Sir Anthony Mason, was published in The Sydney Morning Herald on 5 November 1993.[6] At the opening of the 2008 law term Mason spoke of his memories of working with Asprey.[7]

Government appointments[edit]

  • Chairman, NSW Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal (1975–1976)
  • Chairman, Commonwealth Tax Review Committee (1972–1975)


Asprey Law Library Collection[edit]

In 2011, Asprey’s daughter, Sally Stitt, and her husband, Robert Stitt QC, donated his law library to the University of Sydney. Known as the Asprey Law Library Collection, it features a comprehensive array of English and Australian law journals, reports and textbooks, with some reports dating back to the early days of the Colony. Many of the journals contain Asprey's detailed annotations.[3]


  1. ^ Who's Who in Australia 1988 (Melb, 2001988) pp 80
  2. ^ Gittins, Ross (2009-06-15). "A 'light on the hill' for our future tax reformers". The Age. 
  3. ^ a b Asprey Law Library Collection Retrieved 24 August 2012
  4. ^ Newington College Register of Past Students 1863-1998 (Syd, 1999) pp 6
  5. ^ Alumni Sidneienses Archived 2008-07-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Anthony Mason published speeches
  7. ^ Supreme Court of NSW Judges Dinner
  8. ^ It's an Honour