Fordham Law

Chief Justice of Australia Robert French Speaks on Judicial Activism

January 29, 2010

Robert French, Chief Justice of Australia, addressed the idea of judicial activism from an Australian perspective at Fordham Law on January 21.

"Chief Justice French is a jurist of the highest caliber," said Dean William Michael Treanor. "His judicial insight is keen and worldly, built upon his exemplary body of work in constitutional, competition, and native title law. We are pleased to have him share his knowledge and experience with us here at the Law School.”

Chief Justice French began by providing a brief structural overview of the Australian judicial system and continued by exploring the "proper limits of judicial law
 Chief Justice Robert French and Dean William Michael Treanor
under the rule of law in the context of societies like our own."

Chief Justice French was appointed to the court in September 1, 2008, and has had a distinguished career as a jurist. Prior to his appointment, he was a judge of the Federal Court of Australia. He also served as an additional member of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and was a member of the Supreme Court of Fiji.

His many contributions to the legal community include founding the West Australian Aboriginal Legal Service and serving as the first president of the National Native Title Tribunal from 1994 to 1998. 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.

He graduated from the University of Western Australia with degrees in science and law. He was admitted in 1972 and practiced as a barrister and solicitor in Western Australia until 1983 when he went to the Independent Bar.

Contact: Stephen Eichinger