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Chief Justice of Australia

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Chief Justice of Australia

Chief Justice of Australia
The Chief Justice of Australia
Robert French, AC

since 1 September 2008
Style The Honourable
Nominator Prime Minister of Australia
Appointer Governor-General of Australia
Term length No set term, though retirement is mandatory at age 70
Inaugural holder Sir Samuel Griffith
Formation 1 January 1901
Salary $486,000
Website High Court
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The Chief Justice of Australia is the informal title for the presiding justice of the High Court of Australia and the highest-ranking judicial officer in the Commonwealth of Australia. The present incumbent is Robert French.

The office of Chief Justice of the High Court is established under section 71 of the Australian Constitution, which establishes the High Court as consisting of a Chief Justice and at least two other Justices.

The Chief Justice is first among equals among the Justices of the High Court, and the position differs little from that of the other members. The one substantial difference between a Chief Justice and any of the other members of the Court is that, by operation of section 23(2) of the Judiciary Act 1903, where opinion on the court is evenly divided, that side of the question supported by the Chief Justice is the side which prevails.

As with all other Justices of Federal courts, appointment is until the mandatory retirement age of seventy. Before 1977, appointment was for life. As the workload of the Court has steadily increased, more Justices have retired before reaching the mandatory retirement age.

The Chief Justice often acts as the Governor-General's deputy, especially at ceremonies such as the opening of Parliament after an election.

The Chief Justice also administers the Oaths of Office and Allegiance to the monarch to the Governor-General-designate when he or she takes up his or her appointment. [1]

List of Chief Justices of Australia

No. Image Chief Justice Term of Office Nominating
Prime Minister
1 Sir Samuel Griffith 5 October 1903 – 17 October 1919 Alfred Deakin
2 Sir Adrian Knox 18 October 1919 – 31 March 1930 Billy Hughes
3 Sir Isaac Isaacs 2 April 1930 – 21 January 1931 James Scullin
4 Sir Frank Gavan Duffy 22 January 1931 – 1 October 1935 James Scullin
5 Sir John Latham 11 October 1935 – 7 April 1952 Sir Joseph Lyons
6 Sir Owen Dixon 18 April 1952 – 13 April 1964 Sir Robert Menzies
7 Sir Garfield Barwick 27 April 1964 – 11 February 1981 Sir Robert Menzies
8 Sir Harry Gibbs 12 February 1981 – 5 February 1987 Malcolm Fraser
9 Sir Anthony Mason 6 February 1987 – 20 April 1995 Bob Hawke
10 Sir Gerard Brennan 21 April 1995 – 21 May 1998 Paul Keating
11 Murray Gleeson 22 May 1998 – 29 August 2008 John Howard
12 Robert French 1 September 2008 – Kevin Rudd

See also

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