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Kiefel, Susan Mary

The Honourable Justice

Queensland, Australia
Barrister, Chief Justice, Commissioner, Judge and Lawyer


Susan Mary Kiefel was appointed to the Court in September 2007. At the time of her appointment she was a judge of the Federal Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island. She served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1993-94 before joining the Federal Court. She was admitted to the Queensland Bar in 1975 and was the first woman in Queensland to be appointed Queen's Counsel, in 1987. Justice Kiefel served as a part-time Commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission from 2003 to 2007. She has a Master of Laws degree from Cambridge University. Justice Kiefel was appointed a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 2011. She was elected a titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in June 2013. She was elected an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn in November 2014.

On 29 November 2016, Justice Kiefel was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. She is the first woman to achieve the position, ending 113 years of men leading the nation's highest court.

Sources used to compile this entry: Kerwin, Hollie and Rubenstein, Kim, 'Law', in The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, Judith Smart and Shurlee Swain (eds), Australian Women's Archives Project, 2014,; Whitbourn, Michaela, Susan Kiefel becomes Australia's first female High Court chief justice, The Age, 29 November 2016,

Larissa Halonkin

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