High Court appointments

High Court appointments

The Law Society of Western Australia congratulates the Honourable Justice Susan Kiefel AC and the Honourable Justice James Edelman on their appointments in the High Court of Australia.

Justice Kiefel will be the next Chief Justice of the High Court and the first female to serve in the role. Justice Edelman will fill the vacancy left by Justice Kiefel’s elevation to Chief Justice.

“Justice Kiefel’s appointment as Chief Justice is a momentous event for Australia,” said Law Society President Elizabeth Needham. “Her Honour has a long history as a pioneer for women in the legal profession, having been the first female QC appointed in Queensland.

“Justice Kiefel’s rigorous work ethic and talent are evidenced by Her Honour’s unconventional career path. Her Honour left school at the age of 15, studied law at night while working full-time and was subsequently highly successful as a barrister, before successive appointments to the Queensland Supreme Court, Federal Court of Australia and High Court.

“I am also delighted that Justice Edelman has been appointed to the High Court. His Honour joined the Law Society in 1998 and made a very significant contribution as Joint Chair of the Law Summer School Committee, producing Western Australia’s preeminent legal education conference.

“Justice Edelman’s legal career has been marked by very noteworthy achievements and, at the age of 42, His Honour is certain to have a substantial influence on the work of the High Court for many years to come.

Justice Edelman graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics from the University of Western Australia. His Honour was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1998, obtaining a Doctor of Philosophy in Law from the University of Oxford.

After remaining in the United Kingdom for over a decade, teaching at Keble College, Oxford and working as a barrister at the chambers of Lord Grabiner QC, Justice Edelman returned to Perth and was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australian in 2011. His Honour became a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia in 2015.

“I would also like to acknowledge the outstanding service of the outgoing Chief Justice, the Honourable Robert French AC, who is a Life Member of the Law Society,” Mrs Needham said.

“His Honour has dedicated his career to the service of the public and his eight years as Chief Justice leave an extensive judicial legacy.”

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