Tom Bathurst

Thomas Frederick Bathurst, AC (born 17 March 1948), is an English-Australian jurist. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1 June 2011 and Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales from 1 February 2012.

Tom Bathurst

17th Chief Justice of New South Wales
Assumed office
1 June 2011
Nominated byBarry O'Farrell
Appointed byDame Marie Bashir
Preceded byJames Spigelman
Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales
Assumed office
1 February 2012
GovernorMarie Bashir
David Hurley
Margaret Beazley
Preceded byJames Spigelman
Personal details
Born (1948-03-17) 17 March 1948 (age 72)
Richmond, Surrey, England, UK

Early years and educationEdit

Thomas Frederick "Tom" Bathurst was born on St Patrick's Day 1948 in Richmond, Surrey, today part of Greater London. His parents were both Australian – his mother Joan Hartigan was a champion tennis player, while his father Hugh Moxon Bathurst was a public servant who was private secretary to Senator James Fraser when their engagement was announced.[1] They married at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, in April 1947, before flying to Perth to board the Orion for England, where they planned to live for a few years while Joan resumed her tennis career.[2][3]

In 1950, Bathurst returned to Sydney with his parents on the Strathmore, having spent the first few years of his life in Surrey.[4] He was educated at Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview and in 1969 graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts. Bathurst graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Laws from the Sydney Law School.[5]


Bathurst was admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales in 1972 and joined the Sydney city firm of E. J. (Ernest) Kirby & Co. where his mentor was Ann Plotke.[6]

In 1977, Bathurst was called to the New South Wales Bar; he was made Queen's Counsel in 1987. His primary areas of practice included appellate work in banking law, commercial law and equity. He was president of the Australian Bar Association from 2008 to 2009, and president of the NSW Bar Association from 2010–11.

Notable cases as counselEdit

Bathurst appeared for AWA Limited in Daniels v Anderson (1995) 37 NSWLR 438, a leading Australian case on the duties of non-executive directors. He was briefed by Dyson Heydon QC in Heydon v NRMA Ltd (2000) 51 NSWLR 1 in a successful appeal against a finding that Heydon was negligent in giving legal advice to the respondent company, an important case concerning a barrister's liability for professional advice. He appeared before the High Court of Australia in Peters (WA) Ltd v Petersville Ltd (2001) 205 CLR 126, a case which reviewed the scope of the common law doctrine of restraint of trade.

Chief JusticeEdit

On the recommendation of the NSW government, NSW Governor Marie Bashir appointed Bathurst Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, effective 1 June 2011, and Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales from 1 February 2012.[7][8]

Personal lifeEdit

Bathurst is married to Robyn; the couple have two daughters, one of whom (at the time of Bathurst's own commission as Chief Justice), Emma, was a solicitor with Mallesons Stephen Jaques on secondment to a refugee organisation.[9]


In the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Bathurst was invested as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), for "eminent service to the judiciary and to the law, to the development of the legal profession, particularly through the implementation of uniform national rules of conduct, and to the community of New South Wales".[10]


  1. ^ "Former Woman Tennis Champion Engaged". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 4 May 1946. p. 3. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Tennis star". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 17 April 1947. p. 14. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Joan Hartigan For Wimbledon". The Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia. 26 March 1947. p. 5. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Social News And Gossip". The Sunday Herald. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 30 April 1950. p. 13. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  5. ^ Alumni Sidneienses (database online) at University of Sydney; accessed 28 August 2011.
  6. ^ Greg Smith (Attorney General of New South Wales), address to the Court on the swearing-in of The Honourable Thomas Frederick Bathurst QC as Chief Justice of New South Wales, Banco Court, Supreme Court of New South Wales, Queen's Square, Sydney, 1 June 2011.
  7. ^ Patty, Anna (13 May 2011). "Tom Bathurst appointed NSW Chief Justice". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ "C2012-09 Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales". Department of Premier and Cabinet Circular. Department of Premier and Cabinet. 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  9. ^ Chris Merritt, "New NSW chief justice taking a massive cut in pay and pension", The Australian, 14 May 2011, pg 5 via factiva; accessed 28 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Companion (AC) in the General Division of the Order of Australia" (PDF). 8 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.

External linksEdit

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Anna Katzmann
President of the New South Wales Bar Association
2008 – 2011
Succeeded by
Bernie Coles
Legal offices
Preceded by
James Spigelman
Chief Justice of New South Wales
2011 – present
Government offices
Preceded by
James Spigelman
Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales
2012 – present