A Conversation with the Hon. Chief Justice French AC
Reflections of a career on the High Court.
The Hon Chief Justice Robert French was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia on 1 September 2008. At the time of his appointment he was a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, having been appointed to that office in November 1986. 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 an associate member of the Trade Practices Commission (now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) from 1983 to 1986 and Chancellor of Edith Cowen University from 1991 to 1996. From 1994 to 1998 he was President of the National Native Title Tribunal.
At the time of his appointment he was an additional member of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and a member of the Supreme Court of Fiji. He was also a Deputy President of the Australian Competition Tribunal and a part time member of the Australian Law Reform Commission. From 2001 to January 2005 he was President of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law. 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 Patron of the Australian Academy of Law and an Honorary Life Member of the Australasian Law Teachers Association.