Michael Black (judge)

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Michael Black
Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia
In office
1 January 1991 – 21 March 2010
Preceded by Sir Nigel Bowen
Succeeded by Patrick Keane
Personal details
Born Michael Eric John Black
(1940-03-22) 22 March 1940 (age 77)
Spouse(s) Margaret
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Occupation Judge
Profession Lawyer

Michael Eric John Black AC, QC (born 22 March 1940) is a former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia.

Background and career[edit]

Black was born in Egypt, where his father was serving as an officer in the Royal Air Force. He attended schools in Egypt, England, and Australia (Wesley College, Melbourne). He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne in 1963.

In 1964, Black commenced practice at the Victorian Bar. His practice included civil jury actions as well as commercial and public law cases.

Black was appointed Queen's Counsel for Victoria in 1980 and for Tasmania in 1984. As Queen's Counsel, he specialised in appellate work, including cases in constitutional, commercial and industrial law.[1] One of the constitutional cases was the Tasmanian Dam Case in 1983, where he represented the Tasmanian Wilderness Society.[2]

Judicial and later career[edit]

He was appointed Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia on 1 January 1991. As Chief Justice, he had, as well as his judicial duties, statutory responsibility for the administration of the Court.

In 1981, he was appointed the Foundation Chairman of the Victorian Bar's Readers Course, the Bar's pioneering course of instruction for new barristers, and later served as the representative of the Victorian Bar on the Board of the Leo Cussen Institute for Continuing Legal Education. As Chief Justice, he actively supported the Federal Court's work in the field of judicial education. He was also Chair of the Advisory Committee for introduction of the Juris Doctor degree at Melbourne Law School.


On Australia Day, 1998, he was made a Companion in the Order of Australia (AC) for service to the law, to the legal profession and to the judiciary. He retired as Chief Justice on 21 March 2010 and was succeeded by the Hon Patrick Keane.

Personal life[edit]

His interests outside the law include architecture, history, and maritime matters.


  1. ^ "Biographical Information". Technology for Justice: Conference 1998. The Australian Institute of Judicial Administration Incorporated. March 1998. 
  2. ^ Douglas, Richard (26 February 2010). Ceremonial Farewell for the Hon. Justice Michael Black AC (Speech). Hearsay. Bar Association of Queensland. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Nigel Bowen
Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia
Succeeded by
Patrick Keane