Kevin Victor Anderson

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Sir Kevin Victor Anderson (1912 – 14 October 1999) was a 20th-century Australian jurist.

Education and early career[edit]

Anderson was educated at Xavier College Melbourne, and became a Clerk of Courts in what is now the Magistrates Court of Victoria on leaving school in 1929. He completed a part-time Bachelor of Laws at the University of Melbourne in 1937. During the Second World War he was commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy, and served in Operations and Naval Intelligence. Towards the end of the War, he was a liaison officer in the Manila headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur, and was present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in September 1945. He was admitted to the Victorian Bar on 24 November 1945 and became a Queen's Counsel (QC) on 14 August 1962.[1]

Scientology inquiry[edit]

As a QC, Anderson was appointed in late 1963 as a one-man Board of Inquiry into Scientology that sat until April 1965. The report[2] of this inquiry is still regarded as controversial by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,[3] in the context of the recognition of new religious movements in Australia's increasingly multicultural society.[4]

Judicial career[edit]

Anderson served as Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council in 1966–1967, and on 29 April 1969 he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. He became a figure of controversy again in 1971 when the Victorian Parliament passed the second Evidence (Boards and Commissions) Act. This Act amended the Evidence Act, 1958 to grant retrospective immunity from suit to persons who had been associated with a Royal Commission or a Board of Inquiry, equivalent to the immunity of those associated with an action in the Supreme Court. In his autobiography Fossil in the Sandstone, Anderson quipped that this legislation was known informally as the 'Anderson Protection Act' because its immediate effect was to protect him and his assisting counsel Gordon Just from writs issued in the Supreme Court on 28 April 1970 that charged them with misfeasance, breach of duty and recklessness[5] during their conduct of the Inquiry into Scientology.

Retirement and later life[edit]

Anderson was knighted on 14 June 1980 and retired from the Bench on 31 August 1984. He was a devout Catholic, and after his retirement argued for the retention of the traditional swearing-in of witnesses in court.[6] He died on 14 October 1999 aged 87. He and his wife Claire (who predeceased him) had six daughters and 20 grandchildren.


  • Anderson, K.V. (1986) Fossil in the Sandstone: The Recollecting Judge. Spectrum Publications: Melbourne. 287pp. ISBN 0-86786-095-2
  • Obituary [1999] 1 Victorian Reports, p xii.


  1. ^ In Brief, The Fortnightly Newsletter of the Victorian Bar Council 19 October 1999 168: 1.
  2. ^ State of Victoria (1965) Board of Inquiry into Scientology. Government Printer: Melbourne.
  3. ^ Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1998) Article 18 Freedom of Religion and Belief. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra ISBN 0-642-26959-9 p.85
  4. ^ Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1998) Article 18 Freedom of Religion and Belief. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra ISBN 0-642-26959-9 p.67
  5. ^ Garrison, O.V. (1974) The Hidden Story of Scientology. Citadel Press: Secaucus, NJ. ISBN 0-8065-0440-4 p.161.
  6. ^ Anderson, K.V. (1987) Oaths are as old as a belief in God. Law Institute Journal May 1987: 502-503.