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Susan Kiefel

Susan Mary Kiefel AC (/kifəl/;[1][2] born 17 January 1954) is the Chief Justice of Australia, in office since 30 January 2017. She has served on the High Court since 2007, having previously been a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Federal Court. Kiefel is the first woman to serve as Chief Justice.

The Honourable Chief Justice
Susan Kiefel
AC
Susan Kiefel 2011.jpg
Kiefel in 2011
13th Chief Justice of Australia
Assumed office
30 January 2017
Nominated by Malcolm Turnbull
Appointed by Sir Peter Cosgrove
Preceded by Robert French
Justice of the High Court of Australia
In office
4 September 2007 – 30 January 2017
Nominated by John Howard
Appointed by Michael Jeffery
Preceded by Ian Callinan
Succeeded by James Edelman
Justice of the Federal Court of Australia
In office
17 October 1994 – 4 September 2007
Nominated by Paul Keating
Appointed by Bill Hayden
Justice of the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island
In office
17 October 1994 – 4 September 2007
Nominated by Paul Keating
Appointed by Bill Hayden
Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland
In office
May 1993 – 17 October 1994
Nominated by Wayne Goss
Appointed by Leneen Forde
Personal details
Born (1954-01-17) 17 January 1954 (age 63)
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian
Spouse(s) Michael Albrecht
Alma mater Legal Profession Admission Board
Wolfson College, Cambridge

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Susan Kiefel was born in Cairns, Queensland in 1954. She briefly attended Sandgate District State High School, leaving at the age of 15 upon completing Year 10. In 1971, she completed secretarial training at Kangaroo Point Technical College on a scholarship. She worked as a secretary for a building society, an architect, and an exploration company before starting work as a receptionist for a group of barristers, Fitzgerald, Moynihan and Mack. During this time, she completed secondary school and began studying law.[3]

In 1973, Kiefel joined solicitors Cannan and Peterson (which became Sly & Weigall Cannan & Peterson and is now Norton Rose Fulbright) as a legal clerk. Completing her education at night, she enrolled in the Barristers Admission Board course and passed her course with honours.[4] In 1984, while on sabbatical leave, she completed a Master of Laws (LLM) at the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded the C.J. Hamson Prize in Comparative Law and the Jennings Prize. In 2008, she was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of Wolfson College, Cambridge.

CareerEdit

Legal and judicial careerEdit

Kiefel was admitted to the bar in 1975. She became an honorary secretary of the Queensland Bar Association in 1978 and served on its committee in 1993. She was appointed as the first female Queen's Counsel in Queensland in 1987 and was appointed to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1989. In May 1993, Kiefel was appointed to the Supreme Court of Queensland.[5] The following year she was appointed by the Keating Government to the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island and was one of the first women to be appointed to the Federal Court of Australia on 17 October 1994, after Justice Deirdre O'Connor.[6]

In October 2001, Kiefel was appointed Deputy President of the Australian Federal Police Disciplinary Tribunal and became its President in April 2004. In 2003, Kiefel was appointed as a part-time commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission, and was re-appointed for a further three years in 2006.[4]

In August 2009, Justice Kiefel was granted an Honorary Doctorate from Griffith University. Justice Kiefel was chosen to recognise her distinguished contributions to the legal profession and for leading the way for women in the industry.[7] On 13 June 2011, she was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the law and to the judiciary, to law reform and to legal education in the areas of ethics, justice and governance.[8][9]

Appointment to the High CourtEdit

On 13 August 2007, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock announced Kiefel as the nominee to the High Court of Australia to replace the retiring High Court Justice Ian Callinan. Kiefel had previously been considered a favourite nominee to replace former High Court Justice Mary Gaudron when she retired in 2003,[10] and again in 2005 as replacement for Justice Michael McHugh.[11] Kiefel is the third female High Court Justice and the forty sixth overall. Her appointment alongside incumbent Justice Susan Crennan marked the first time two women sat concurrently on the High Court bench.[12]

Kiefel's nomination was met with support from the Australian Bar Association amid criticism of the lack of consultation by the Australian government.[13] She was considered a conservative "black-letter" judge.[11] She may remain on the High Court until 2024, when she will reach the constitutionally mandatory retirement age of 70.[14]

Chief Justice of AustraliaEdit

On 29 November 2016, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Attorney-General, George Brandis, announced the appointment of Kiefel as Chief Justice of Australia.[15] The appointment took effect from 30 January 2017, following the retirement of Robert French. Kiefel is the first woman to be appointed as Chief Justice.[16][17] She has been succeeded as a Justice of the High Court by James Edelman.[15]

Speaking in London in July 2017, Kiefel indicated a robust conception of a judiciary's role regarding validity of executive and legislative action.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

While at Wolfson College, Kiefel met her future husband, Michael Albrecht, a social anthropologist, when she became a member of the college rowing crew and Albrecht was her coach.[19]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Justice Susan Kiefel. SBS World News. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Michael Sexton SC, Solicitor-General for the State of New South Wales (10 June 2015). Hearing of McCloy & Ors v. State of New South Wales & Anor. High Court of Australia. Event occurs at 2:25:00. Retrieved 30 November 2015.  See [2015] HCATrans 141 at 1730.
  3. ^ Marriner, Cosima (18 August 2007). "Straight-shooter jumps the bar". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 August 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Pelly, Michael (14 August 2007). "Third time's a charm". The Australian. Retrieved 15 August 2007. 
  5. ^ "Biographies: Susan Kiefel". Women in the Law in Queensland. Supreme Court of Queensland. Archived from the original on 19 September 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2007. 
  6. ^ "List by appointment date of current judges". The Court. Federal Court of Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2007. 
  7. ^ Phipps, Julia (6 August 2009). "Justice Kiefel awarded honorary doctorate". Griffith News. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "Susan Kiefel AC". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australian. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Leys, Nick (13 June 2011). "Justice Susan Kiefel awarded AC in Queen's Birthday Honours". Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Shaw, Meaghan (20 September 2005). "Second woman appointed to High Court". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 13 August 2007. 
  11. ^ a b Pelly, Michael (19 August 2007). "McHugh's angels: 10 women fit for High Court, says top judge". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 August 2007. 
  12. ^ Hudson, Phillip (13 August 2007). "Ruddock names new High Court judge". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 August 2007. 
  13. ^ Karvelas, Patricia (14 August 2007). "Kiefel will make High Court history". The Australian. Retrieved 15 August 2007. [dead link][dead link]
  14. ^ Constitution (Cth) s 72.
  15. ^ a b Chan, Gabrielle (29 November 2016). "Susan Kiefel becomes first woman appointed as high court chief justice". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  16. ^ McLoughlin, Kcasey (29 November 2016). "Chief Justice Susan Kiefel and the politics of judicial diversity". AUSPUBLAW. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  17. ^ Roberts, Heather (9 February 2017). "Ceremony matters: The lasting significance of the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Justice Susan Kiefel". AUSPUBLAW. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  18. ^ Kiefel, Susan (18 August 2017). "The roles of Australian and English courts with respect to the validity of executive and legislative action". Constitution Education Fund Australia. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  19. ^ "The Hon Justice Susan Kiefel appointed to Australian High Court". Wolfson College News. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert French
Chief Justice of Australia
2017–present
Incumbent