Justice Stephen Gageler AC appointed as 14th Chief Justice of Australia
Succeeds Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC, the country’s first woman chief justice, who retires in November
Justice Stephen Gageler AC has been appointed as the 14th Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.
The announcement was made in a joint statement by Attorney General Mark Dreyfus SC and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The two praised Gageler’s vast experience and impressive record in the legal field.
Prime Minister Albanese remarked, “Justice Gageler has an outstanding reputation as a jurist. He is highly respected for his leadership abilities and deep knowledge and understanding of constitutional law.”
Justice Gageler is considered one of the nation’s most respected legal minds. Having served as a Judge of the High Court since 2012, he is currently the most senior puisne justice of the High Court, appointed directly to the Bench.
He has previously served as the Commonwealth solicitor-general, Australia’s federal chief legal advisor (second only to the attorney general), a political appointment to the federal Cabinet with a seat in the Parliament.
Filling his position in the High Court is Justice Robert Beech-Jones, previously a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
The ACT Bar Association said it was delighted at the two judicial appointments and noted their connections to Canberra.
Both Judges are graduates of the Australian National University. While Justice Gageler possesses a Bachelor of Laws (first class Honours) and a Bachelor of Economics, Justice Beech-Jones acquired a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Science.
Justice Gageler also holds a Masters of Law from Harvard University. He was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1989 and appointed senior counsel in 2000. He practiced as a barrister throughout Australia, principally in constitutional, administrative, and commercial law. In 2012, he was appointed to the High Court. He lived in Canberra as Commonwealth Solicitor-General (2008-2012). He was also a guest speaker at the 2013 ACT Bench and Bar Dinner.
Justice Beech-Jones was admitted as a barrister to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1992 and appointed senior counsel in 2006. He served in the Supreme Court of New South Wales since 2012. He was appointed Chief Judge of the Common Law Division and a Judge of Appeal in 2021. He grew up in Tasmania, before studying in Canberra.