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Kenneth Madison Hayne AC QC (born 5 June 1945) is a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy.

Kenneth Hayne

Kenneth Hayne portrait.jpg
Justice of the High Court of Australia
In office
22 September 1997 – 4 June 2015
Nominated byJohn Howard
Appointed byWilliam Deane
Preceded bySir Daryl Dawson
Succeeded byMichelle Gordon
Personal details
Kenneth Madison Hayne

(1945-06-05) 5 June 1945 (age 74)
Gympie, Queensland, Australia
Spouse(s)Margaret Colquhoun
Michelle Gordon
ChildrenSarah Margaret Hayne, Andrew Hayne, Ian M Hayne, Richard M Hayne, James Hayne
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
Exeter College, Oxford

Early life and educationEdit

Hayne was born in Gympie, Queensland and attended Scotch College, Melbourne. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Melbourne, during which time he resided at Ormond College. Hayne was Editor of the Melbourne University Law Review. He then graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law from Exeter College, Oxford University. He was also a Rhodes Scholar.

He is the husband of another High Court Judge, Michelle Gordon.


Kenneth Hayne was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1971 and was appointed as a Queen's Counsel (QC) in 1984.

Judicial activityEdit

Kenneth Hayne joined the bench in 1992 when he was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. From 7 June 1995 he sat on the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria, which is the highest court in the Australian State of Victoria.

Hayne was appointed as a Justice of the High Court in September 1997. He retired in 2015 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70, in accordance with Section 72 of the Australian Constitution. He was replaced on the High Court by his wife, Federal Court judge Michelle Gordon.[1]

Hayne has been described as being a part of a 'core' of judges during his time on the High Court, usually forming the majority, and often writing joint reasons with Justice William Gummow.[2] One notable exception was Hayne's dissent in Thomas v Mowbray, where he joined Justice Michael Kirby in holding the Commonwealth's regime of interim control orders applied in respect of suspected terrorists to be unconstitutional. Another, more recent, example is Kuczborski v Queensland [2014] HCA 46 in which Hayne J was the sole dissenter.

Royal CommissionerEdit

In December 2017 Hayne was appointed to head the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.[3][4] The inquiry received continual media coverage and the report was delivered on 1 February 2019.[5]

Later public lifeEdit

In July 2019 (published in early August), in his first public statement since the Commission, Hayne diagnosed an increasing demand for royal commissions as a symptom that "[t]rust in all sorts of institutions, governmental and private, has been damaged or destroyed". In his view, the public sees Australia's “opaque” decision-making processes as “skewed, if not captured” by powerful vested interests, while leaders are “unable to conduct reasoned debates about policy matters” but instead resort to the “language of war” and seek to “portray opposing views as presenting existential threats to society as we now know it”. He noted, in particular, political reactions to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.[6][7][8]

Notable judgmentsEdit


Hayne received Australia's highest civil honour when he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2002 for service to the judiciary, to the law as an outstanding scholar, barrister and jurist, and to the community in the advancement of both legal and general education.[9] Hayne is a patron of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Michelle Gordon appointed High Court judge". 14 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  2. ^ Banham, Cynthia (24 February 2003). "Kirby the High Court outsider". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Appointment of Royal Commissioner". Prime Minister of Australia (Press release). Canberra. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  4. ^ Gribbin, Caitlyn (1 December 2017). "Banking royal commission: Government appoints former Judge Kenneth Hayne to lead inquiry". ABC News. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  5. ^ Wright, Tony (1 February 2019). "Commissioner Hayne turns Treasurer's moment in the spotlight ice-cold". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  6. ^ Hayne, K. M. (26 July 2019). "On Royal Commissions" (PDF). University of Melbourne. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  7. ^ Henriques-Gomes, Luke (8 August 2019). "Kenneth Hayne says trust in politics and institutions 'damaged or destroyed'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  8. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (7 August 2019). "Kenneth Hayne: Trust in politics has 'been destroyed'". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  9. ^ "HAYNE, Kenneth Madison: Companion of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 10 June 2002. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal - Board of Patrons". Archived from the original on 6 February 2005. Retrieved 19 March 2009.

External linksEdit