Speech at the Ceremonial Sitting of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia to farewell the Hon. Justice Susan Kenny AM

19 December 2023






Speech by Peter Dunning KC, President of the Australian Bar Association


Justice Kenny, Chief Justice, Justices and former Justices of the Federal Court, distinguished guests all.

Justice Kenny, it is my privilege and pleasure in equal measure to speak on behalf of the Bar nationally to recognise your Honour’s extraordinary service to this Court. Your Honour has given more than a quarter of a century of service to this Court and to the Supreme Court of Victoria, and today is the day in which we recognise those achievements.

It is well-documented that your Honour is a distinguished academic, and your Honour is a distinguished public lawyer. Perhaps, though, most importantly for the purpose of what I wish to address is this: your Honour was a pleasure to appear before in every aspect of this Court’s vast jurisdiction. Your Honour was unwaveringly courteous, you were well-prepared, you were thoughtful and you were fair. You left litigants not only with a fair hearing but the sense that they had had one. The Bar can ask no more of a judge than that.

In particular, your Honour has found a place in the important role that this Court has in bringing peace between us as a community and our First Nations peoples, and it is appropriate, on a day like today, that your Honour’s contribution in that regard is noted.

Of course, nobody gets to a day like today without the support and assistance of family and friends, and your Honour has had the advantage of a loving family for this long period of judicial service. Your family should take justifiable pride in all that is said of your Honour today because of the contribution they have made to the distinguished judge you have been.

However, rightly, the Victorian Bar say today is there day, because you are in every sense a product of the Victorian Bar. So I shall pass to my learned friend Ms Schoff to speak on behalf of the Victorian barristers. But before I do, on behalf of the more than 6,000 Australian barristers, I salute your Honour’s extraordinary service to this court and to the people of Australia.

May it please the Court.


24 November 2023

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