Media release - New Appointments to the High Court of Australia

23 August 2023

The Australian Bar Association welcomes the appointment of the Hon. Stephen Gageler AC as the next Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and the Hon. Justice Robert Beech-Jones as a Justice of the High Court of Australia.

“Each of these is a fine appointment to this distinguished court,” says Peter Dunning KC, President of the Australian Bar Association. “Chief Justice-elect Gageler is a lawyer of exceptional skill, possessing an unsurpassed knowledge and experience in constitutional law, combined with, in like measure, the qualities of fairness, principle, decency and courtesy, that uniquely equip him for the discharge of our highest judicial office.

Justice Beech-Jones brings to the High Court of Australia a wealth of legal acumen and vast experience in, and an appreciation of, the importance to the maintenance and development of our legal system of the focus of courts being the quietening of controversies between individual litigants.

On behalf of the Bar nationally, I wish each of their Honours many happy years in their roles on the High Court of Australia.

The appointments of a Chief Justice to Australia's apex court, and of a new Justice to that court, is an occasion of great significance, not only to the Bar, but to Australians generally.

The High Court of Australia, in particular, plays a fundamental role as part of the third branch of our system of government. It superintends the distribution of governmental powers that our constitutional arrangements have struck, and importantly, the boundaries of legislative and executive power, on the one hand, to protect the citizen from the State, and on the other hand, recognising and vindicating the vitality of the democratic character of the other two branches of government acting within their limits.”

Justice Gageler will become the fourteenth Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia when the Hon. Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC retires in November. His Honour's new role will commence on 6 November 2023.

Previously a Commonwealth Solicitor-General, his Honour has served on the High Court of Australia since 2012.

Justice Beech-Jones will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Kiefel and the appointment of Justice Gageler as Chief Justice. His Honour has served on the Supreme Court of New South Wales since 2012, and is presently the Chief Judge at Common Law in that Court.

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