Alan Reginald Neaves (born c.1924) is a former Australian public servant, lawyer and judge, best known for his role as head of the Attorney-General's Department between 1979 and 1983, and as a Federal Court judge between 1983 and 1995.

Alan Neaves
Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department
In office
July 1979 – 11 March 1983
Personal details
Alan Reginald Neaves
NationalityAustralia Australian
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
OccupationPublic servant

Life and careerEdit

Neaves was born c.1924.[1][2][3]

Neaves joined the Attorney-General's Department in 1942. After war service, he graduated in law with first class honours from the University of Sydney in 1948,[3] and was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1949.[1]

In December 1974, Neaves was appointed the next Crown Solicitor, to commence in February 1975.[3] The post came after five years in Sydney as head of the Deputy Crown Solicitor's Office.[2]

He was appointed Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department in July 1979.[2]

In 1980 then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser set up a Royal Commission into the activities of the Painters and Dockers Union, appointing Frank Costigan as Royal Commissioner.[4] The Costigan Commission inquiry period lasted until 1984, and in the process the Attorney-General's Department came under fire from the Labor Party after criticism by the Commission.[5] When the Labor Party was elected and Bob Hawke became Prime Minister, among the new Government's first order of business was to remove Neaves from his position as Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department. He was appointed a judge of the Federal Court on 11 March 1983.[1]

Neaves remained a Judge of the Federal Court until 8 January 1995.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Waterford, Jack (12 March 1983). "Head of A-G's made judge". The Canberra Times. p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c Juddery, Bruce (4 July 1979). "New A-G head named: Foreign Affairs job for Harders likely". The Canberra Times. p. 3.
  3. ^ a b c "Legal post". The Canberra Times. 20 December 1974. p. 9.
  4. ^ MacCallum, Mungo (3 February 2014). "Another Royal Commission?". The Monthly. Archived from the original on 8 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Mr Justice Neaves Sworn in". The Canberra Times. 24 March 1983. p. 7.
  6. ^ Federal Court of Australia, Former Judges of the Court: Appointments and retirements, Australian Government, archived from the original on 2 March 2014
Government offices
Preceded by
Clarrie Harders
Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department
1979 – 1983
Succeeded by
Pat Brazil