The University of Western Australia


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Robert Shenton French AC


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The University of Western Australia (M456A)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2450
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Robert French was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia on 1 September 2008 and retired from that office on 29 January 2017.

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 appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia in November 1986, an office he held until his appointment as Chief Justice on 1 September 2008. From 1994 to 1998 he was the President of the National Native Title Tribunal.

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 a Founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, a member of the American Law Institute, and an Honorary Life Member of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, the Australian Bar Association and the West Australian Bar Association.

Mr French was appointed as a Non-Permanent Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal in May 2017. Since August 2016 he has been an Adjunct Professor at the Law School at The University of Western Australia, a Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University since October 2016, and from 2017 an Adjunct Professor at Monash University Law School.

Mr French is a Board member of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation. He is a member of the Committee on International Freedom of Scientists of the American Physical Society.

Mr French is married to Valerie French and lives in Perth. They have three adult children.


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Last updated:
Thursday, 11 January, 2018 9:53 AM