Robert French was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia on 1 September 2008 and retired from that office on 29 January 2017.
He is a graduate of the University of Western Australia in science and law. He was admitted in 1972 and practised as a barrister and solicitor in Western Australia until 1983 when he went to the Independent Bar. He was appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia in November 1986, an office he held until his appointment as Chief Justice.
From 1994 to 1998 he was President of the National Native Title Tribunal. In 2010, he was made a Companion in the Order of Australia and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He is a Founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, a member of the American Law Institute, and an Honorary Life Member of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration and the Australian Bar Association.
Since August 2016 he has been an Adjunct Professor at the Law School at the University of Western Australia and a Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University since October 2016.