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Surprising Facts about Australia’s High Court Justices

High Court

Australia’s High Court Judges have an amazing array of qualifications, combined with stellar careers at the bar and in other judicial posts. But here are some things you might not know about our top judges…

Chief Justice Robert French

When he was 22, French CJ ran for election in the seat of Fremantle, and campaigned on the back of a truck, backed by a rock band. He lost to Kim Beazley snr.

Justice Kenneth Hayne

Hayne J has a reputation for being the comedian of the High Court bench. Although we’ve never been lucky enough to see it, he is apparently brilliant at doing impersonations.

Justice Susan Crennan

A love of law and literature often go hand in hand, and it was no different for Crennan J. Before law school beckoned, she taught English literature.

Justice Susan Kiefel

Justice Kiefel dropped out of school after year ten. She later worked as a receptionist in a law firm, which is where her interest in the law was first piqued. She later finished high school and began studying law. The rest is history.

Justice Virginia Bell

Growing up, Bell J was interested in the theatre and attended drama school. In the 1980s, she regularly appeared on the Channel Nine show Golden Years of Television in the role of Ginger de Winter, the president of Australian Barrel Girls Association, who would share gossip from early TV shows.

The part came with a costume of over the top earrings, false eyelashes and strapless dresses.

Justice Stephen Gageler

Outside of chambers, Gageler J does taekwondo in his free time. He took it up as a university student, and ended up breaking his nose and arm. His interest in the sport was rekindled in his early 40s after watching his sons at taekwondo training. He decided to try it again, and achieved a black belt in three years.

Justice Patrick Keane

Keane J writes all of his judgments with a fountain pen. Although writing decisions by hand sounds time consuming, Keane often completes his judgments quicker than many other judges.

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