Geoffrey Nettle

Geoffrey Arthur Akeroyd Nettle AC (born 2 December 1950[1]) is a Justice of the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy. He was appointed to the High Court in February 2015.[2] Prior to his appointment to the High Court, he served as a judge at the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria, where he presided from June 2004 to 2015.[2]

Geoffrey Nettle

Justice of the High Court of Australia
Assumed office
3 February 2015
Nominated byTony Abbott
Appointed bySir Peter Cosgrove
Preceded bySusan Crennan
Personal details
Born (1950-12-02) 2 December 1950 (age 69)
Cottesloe, Western Australia
Alma materAustralian National University
University of Melbourne
University of Oxford

Early life and educationEdit

Geoffrey Nettle was born in Cottesloe, Western Australia, a beachside suburb of Perth and moved to Victoria at an early age. Nettle received his secondary education at Wesley College, Melbourne.[3]

Nettle completed a Bachelor of Economics at the Australian National University followed by a Bachelor of Laws, for which he received First Class Honours, at the University of Melbourne in 1975. While studying at Melbourne, he was a resident at Trinity College, where he rowed and played rugby. Nettle then completed a Bachelor of Civil Laws with First-Class Honours at Magdalen College, Oxford.[4]


Nettle was admitted to practice in 1977 and was a solicitor with Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons). He was called to the bar in November 1982. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1992. His major areas of practice were commercial law, taxation, constitutional law and administrative law. In 2001, Nettle was the crown prosecutor in the extradition case of Konrāds Kalējs, an alleged Nazi collaborationist.[5]

Nettle was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Trial Division, in 2002, and a Judge of Appeal of the Victorian Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria, in 2004.[6][7]

Unusually for an Appeal Justice, in 2013, Nettle presided over the trial at first instance of Adrian Ernest Bayley for the rape and murder of Irishwoman Jill Meagher in Melbourne, Australia.[8]

High CourtEdit

On 4 December 2014, the Commonwealth Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, announced that Nettle would become a justice of the High Court of Australia, replacing Justice Susan Crennan.[7] He took office on 3 February 2015, at the age of 64, making him the oldest person ever appointed to the High Court. He will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 for High Court justices in December 2020, meaning he may serve a maximum of only five years and ten months on the court.[9]

Awards and honoursEdit

On Australia Day 2019, Nettle was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia "for eminent service to the judiciary, and to the law, to criminal and civil appeals reform, to legal education, and to professional standards".[10]


  1. ^ "No sting: George Brandis plays it straight on High Court appointment". The Australian Online. News Ltd. Retrieved 5 December 2014. (subscriber only)
  2. ^ a b "Geoffrey Nettle". High Court of Australia. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Appoints: The Hon Justice Geoffrey Nettle" (PDF). Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Melbourne Law School : Awards Ceremony for the 2009 Academic Year" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Court orders Nazi's extradition". News 24. 29 May 2001.
  6. ^ "Justice Nettle". Victorian Bar News. The Victorian Bar Inc. Spring 2002. pp. 16–17. Archived from the original on 6 December 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b Attorney-General's announcement Archived 6 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Irishwoman's killer sentenced to life imprisonment". The Nation. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  9. ^ Ageing Amendment - Section 72 and the Mandatory Retirement Age of Judges, University of Sydney Constitutional Critique, 28 May 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  10. ^ "The Honourable Justice Geoffrey Arthur NETTLE - Companion of the Order of Australia". Australian Honours Search Facility. Retrieved 10 June 2019.