Stephen Gageler to replace Susan Kiefel as High Court chief justice.
By political correspondent Brett Worthington posted 22 August 2023
See also: Stephen Gageler – Wikipedia
There is little doubt that Stepehen Gageler is one of the Upper Hunter’s most distinguished sons.
High Court justice Stephen Gageler will replace trailblazing lawyer Susan Kiefel as the head of the highest court in the land.
- Stephen Gageler will become the High Court chief justice on November 6
- The government has also appointed Robert Beech-Jones to the highest court in the land.
- The appointments come ahead of the early retirement of Susan Kiefel
Justice Gageler, the most senior justice after Chief Justice Kiefel, will assume her role when the incumbent retires in November.
He will become the 14th person to lead the court since its inception.
The federal government has also appointed Robert Beech-Jones, from the NSW Supreme Court to the High Court, with the Sydneysider set to become a justice on November 6, when Justice Gageler assumes his new role.
The appointments mean the court will no longer be female dominated, which it became earlier this year.
Justice Gageler joined the High Court in in 2012, having served as Australia’s solicitor-general prior to his appointment.
He is 65 years old and can serve in the role until he turns 70, when the constitution dictates, he must retire.
Legal circles had long expected he would replace Chief Justice Kiefel, who in June announced she would retire from the court earlier than expected.
Speaking in June, Justice Gageler paid tribute to the chief justice, telling the court her “firm and gracious presence” would be missed.
Chief Justice Kiefel was the first woman to hold that role.
The federal government picked Susan Kiefel to join the High Court bench as a justice in 2007, having previously served as a judge on the Federal Court of Australia. A decade later, she became the chief justice, replacing Robert French.
She left school at 15 and worked as a legal secretary.
The Queenslander later started studying law part time and eventually studied at the University of Cambridge. She was admitted to the bar in 1975 and became her home state’s first female Queen’s counsel in 1987.
Justice Gageler studied at the Australian National University and Harvard.
Tasmanian-born Robert Beech-Jones has served on the NSW Supreme Court since 2012. In 2021, he became the chief judge at common law on that court.
Prime Minster Anthony Albanese and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced the appointments following months of consultations.
Earlier this year, the court made history when it became a majority-female bench with the appointment of Justice Jayne Jagot.
Following the new appointments, the court will have four men and three women serving on it.