Chief Justice Susan Kiefel given lifetime membership of the Australian Bar Association

06 March 2023

The Australian Bar Association would like to formally congratulate her Honour, Chief Justice Kiefel on being made a lifetime ABA member at the 2023 Silks Bows dinner.

Following a High Court ceremony on Monday 6 February to announce the 2022 silks, a gala dinner was held in the evening, at which Kiefel CJ’s lifetime membership was announced.

This year’s ceremony was the last before her forthcoming retirement at which her Honour will preside.

In nominating her Honour, Mr Dunning said, “I have known the nominee throughout the entire time of her career as an Australian jurist.

“In fact, I have appeared before her Honour in the Supreme Court of Queensland, the Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of Australia.

“Kiefel CJ places considerable emphasis on the collegiality of the profession at every level, from junior barristers to judges at the highest level.

“Her Honour’s leadership in terms of courtesy in the courtroom and exposing the rationale for decision-making of the implied freedom of political communication merit particular attention.

“It would seem appropriate that the ABA mark the pending retirement of a Chief Justice of the High Court at an appropriate occasion.”

The ceremony takes place each year, where those who have been elevated to Senior Counsel or King’s Counsel can take their ‘bow’ before the High Court.

The bow dates back to 1921, with two newly appointed silks (KCs and SCs) announced their appointment to the High Court in Melbourne.

In more recent times it has become an annual event. In its current form, the silks bows ceremony is arranged by the ABA, and has been running since 1982.