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Michael Kirby

The Honourable

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Personal profile

Research interests

Michael Kirby is an honorary appointee of Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Northern Territory of Australia.

He has taken advantage of presence in Darwin, in past years, to give lectures to faculty and staff at the Law School of CDU. His career began as a solicitor (1962) and later barrister (1967) of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.  In January 1975, he was appointed as Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (now Fair Work Commission).  This service coincided with his appointment as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), which he held 1975-1984.  In 1983, he was appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, a position he held until 1984.  In that year he was appointed President of the Court of Appeal of New South Wales.  He held that post until 1996, He was concurrently President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995-6).  He was elevated to the High Court of Australia, the nation’s highest court in 1996-2009.

In addition to these posts, Michael Kirby has held a number of United Nations positions.  These have included Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia (1995-6).  He was Rapporteur for the Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011-12).  And more recently he served as Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in North Korea (2013-14). He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (2018-).

Michael Kirby’s chief interests in law today are in the fields of constitutional law; international law; and medical  law (HIV and COVID-19).

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