Justices of the High Court

There are seven Justices of the High Court of Australia.

Justices are appointed by the Federal Government, on advice to the Governor-General, under Section 72 of the Constitution.

The High Court was established in 1903 with three Justices. Two more were added in 1906, followed by another two in 1913. The number fell back to six between 1931 and 1946.

There have been a total of fifty-three justices who have served since 1903. Thirty-five justices (66%) have been appointed by non-Labor governments. Labor governments have appointed eighteen justices (34%).

The longest-serving justice was Sir Edward McTiernan, appointed by the Scullin Labor government, who served for 45 years, 8 months and 23 days between 1930 and 1976, retiring when he was 84.

The oldest-serving justice was Sir George Rich, appointed by the Fisher Labor government, who served for 37 years and one month between 1913 and 1950, retiring when he was 87.

The shortest-serving justice was Albert Piddington, appointed by the Fisher Labor government, who served just for just one month in 1913 and never actually sat on the bench. Piddington resigned after controversy over his appointment.

The second shortest-serving justice was Sir Cyril Walsh, appointed by the Gorton Liberal government, who served for 3 years, 2 months and 9 days between 1969 and 1973. He is one of ten justices who died in office.

The longest-serving Chief Justice was Sir Garfield Barwick, appointed by the Menzies Liberal government, who served for 16 years, 9 months and 15 days between 1964 and 1981. The second longest-serving Chief Justice was Sir John Latham, appointed by the Lyons United Australia Party government, who served for 16 years, 5 months and 27 days between 1935 and 1952.

Since the constitutional amendment of 1977, Justices are required to retire when they turn 70.

Knighthoods were bestowed upon 30 of the 35 justices appointed between 1903 and 1982. The last was Sir Daryl Dawson, in 1982. The Hawke government abolished imperial honours in the 1980s.

Eight of the thirteen Chief Justices are deceased. Chief Justice Susan Kiefel’s four immediate predecessors are still living: Anthony Mason, Gerard Brennan, Murray Gleeson and Robert French.

Thirty-two of the fifty-three justices are deceased. In addition to the current bench of seven, there are fourteen former justices still living. The oldest is 93-year-old former Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason, who was first appointed by the McMahon Liberal government in 1972.

The tables below show the current court, Chief Justices and a complete list of all Justices since 1903. Each seat on the court has a number (1-7) which is shown for each occupant.

The Current Court

Justices of the Australian High Court – Current
No. Name State Appointed by Seat Term Began Retires Birth Age
1.
Susan Kiefel CJ
QLD
Howard (Lib)
Turnbull (Lib)
4
04.09.2007
30.01.2017
17.01.2024
17.01.2024
17.01.1954
64
2.
Virginia Bell
NSW
Rudd (ALP)
6
03.02.2009
07.03.2021
07.03.1951
67
3.
Stephen Gageler
NSW
Gillard (ALP)
2
09.10.2012
05.07.2028
05.07.1958
60
4.
Patrick Keane
QLD
Gillard (ALP)
7
01.03.2013
26.10.2022
26.10.1952
66
5.
Geoffrey Nettle
VIC
Abbott (Lib)
3
03.02.2015
02.12.2020
02.12.1950
67
6.
Michelle Gordon
VIC
Abbott (Lib)
1
09.06.2015
18.11.2034
19.11.1964
54
7.
James Edelman
WA
Turnbull (Lib)
5
30.01.2017
09.01.2044
09.01.1974
44


Chief Justices

Chief Justices of the Australian High Court
No. Name State Appointed by Seat Term Began Term Ended Reason Birth Death Age
1.
(Sir) Samuel Griffith CJ
QLD
Deakin (Prot)
1
05.10.1903
17.10.1919
Retired
21.06.1845
09.08.1920
75
2.
(Sir) Adrian Knox CJ
NSW
Hughes (Nat)
1
18.10.1919
31.03.1930
Resigned
29.11.1863
27.04.1932
69
3.
(Sir) Isaac Isaacs CJ
VIC
Deakin (Prot)
Scullin (ALP)
4
12.10.1906
02.04.1930
21.01.1931
21.01.1931
Resigned
06.08.1855
11.02.1948
92
4.
(Sir) Frank G. Duffy CJ
VIC
Fisher (ALP)
3
11.02.1913
22.01.1931
01.10.1935
01.10.1935
Retired
29.02.1852
29.07.1936
84
5.
(Sir) John Latham CJ
VIC
Lyons (UAP)
3
11.10.1935
07.04.1952
Retired
26.08.1877
25.07.1964
86
6.
(Sir) Owen Dixon CJ
VIC
Bruce (Nat)
5
04.02.1929
18.04.1952
13.04.1964
13.04.1964
Retired
28.04.1886
07.07.1972
86
7.
(Sir) Garfield Barwick CJ
NSW
Menzies (Lib)
5
27.04.1964
11.02.1981
Retired
22.06.1903
13.07.1997
94
8.
(Sir) Harry Gibbs CJ
QLD
Gorton (Lib)
Hawke (ALP)
7
04.08.1970
12.02.1981
05.02.1987
05.02.1987
Retired
07.02.1917
25.06.2005
88
9.
(Sir) Anthony Mason CJ
NSW
McMahon (Lib)
Hawke (ALP)
2
07.08.1972
06.02.1987
20.04.1995
20.04.1995
Retired
21.04.1925
93
10.
(Sir) Gerard Brennan CJ
QLD
Fraser (Lib)
5
12.02.1981
21.04.1995
21.05.1998
21.05.1998
Retired
22.05.1928
90
11.
Murray Gleeson CJ
NSW
Howard (Lib)
5
22.05.1998
29.08.2008
Retired
30.08.1938
80
12.
Robert French CJ
WA
Rudd (ALP)
5
08.09.2008
29.01.2017
Resigned
19.03.1947
71
13.
Susan Kiefel CJ
QLD
Howard (Lib)
Turnbull (Lib)
4
04.09.2007
30.01.2017


17.01.1954
64


Justices – Complete List

Seat One – 7 Justices: Griffith, Knox, McTiernan, Aickin, Dawson, Hayne, Gordon.
Seat Two – 7 Justices: Barton, Starke, Fullagar, Owen, Mason, Gummow, Gageler.
Seat Three – 10 Justices: O’Connor, Duffy, Latham, Taylor, Walsh, Jacobs, Wilson, McHugh, Crennan, Nettle.
Seat Four – 7 Justices: Isaacs, Webb, Menzies, Murphy, Toohey, Callinan, Kiefel.
Seat Five – 7 Justices: Higgins, Dixon, Barwick, Brennan, Gleeson, French, Edelman.
Seat Six – 8 Justices: Powers, Evatt, Williams, Windeyer, Stephen, Deane, Kirby, Bell.
Seat Seven – 7 Justices: Piddington, Rich, Kitto, Gibbs, Gaudron, Heydon, Keane.

Justices of the Australian High Court – Complete List in Order of Appointment
No. Name State Appointed by Seat Term Began Term Ended Reason Birth Death Age
1.
(Sir) Samuel Griffith CJ
QLD
Deakin (Prot)
1
05.10.1903
17.10.1919
Retired
21.06.1845
09.08.1920
75
2.
(Sir) Edmund Barton
NSW
Deakin (Prot)
2
05.10.1903
07.01.1920
Died
18.01.1849
07.01.1920
70
3.
Richard E. O’Connor
NSW
Deakin (Prot)
3
05.10.1903
18.11.1912
Died
04.08.1851
18.11.1912
61
4.
(Sir) Isaac Isaacs CJ
VIC
Deakin (Prot)
Scullin (ALP)
4
12.10.1906
02.04.1930
21.01.1931
21.01.1931
Resigned
06.08.1855
11.02.1948
92
5.
Henry B. Higgins
VIC
Deakin (Prot)
5
13.10.1906
13.01.1929
Died
30.06.1851
13.01.1929
77
6.
(Sir) Frank G. Duffy CJ
VIC
Fisher (ALP)
3
11.02.1913
22.01.1931
01.10.1935
01.10.1935
Retired
29.02.1852
29.07.1936
84
7.
(Sir) Charles Powers
QLD
Fisher (ALP)
6
05.03.1913
22.07.1929
Resigned
03.03.1853
24.04.1939
86
8.
Albert B. Piddington
NSW
Fisher (ALP)
7
06.03.1913
05.04.1913
Resigned
09.09.1862
05.06.1945
82
9.
(Sir) George Rich
NSW
Fisher (ALP)
7
05.04.1913
05.05.1950
Resigned
03.05.1863
14.05.1956
93
10.
(Sir) Adrian Knox CJ
NSW
Hughes (Nat)
1
18.10.1919
31.03.1930
Resigned
29.11.1863
27.04.1932
69
11.
(Sir) Hayden Starke
VIC
Hughes (Nat)
2
05.02.1920
31.01.1950
Resigned
22.02.1871
14.05.1958
87
12.
(Sir) Owen Dixon CJ
VIC
Bruce (Nat)
5
04.02.1929
18.04.1952
13.04.1964
13.04.1964
Retired
28.04.1886
07.07.1972
86
13.
Herbert V. Evatt
NSW
Scullin (ALP)
6
19.12.1930
02.09.1940
Resigned
30.04.1894
02.11.1965
71
14.
(Sir) Edward McTiernan
NSW
Scullin (ALP)
1
20.12.1930
12.09.1976
Retired
16.02.1892
09.01.1990
97
15.
(Sir) John Latham CJ
VIC
Lyons (UAP)
3
11.10.1935
07.04.1952
Retired
26.08.1877
25.07.1964
86
16.
(Sir) Dudley Williams
NSW
Menzies (UAP)
6
15.10.1940
31.07.1958
Resigned
07.12.1889
08.01.1963
73
17.
(Sir) William Webb
QLD
Chifley (ALP)
4
16.05.1946
16.05.1958
Resigned
21.01.1887
11.08.1972
85
18.
(Sir) Willfred Fullagar
VIC
Menzies (Lib)
2
08.02.1950
09.07.1961
Died
16.11.1892
09.07.1961
68
19.
(Sir) Frank Kitto
NSW
Menzies (Lib)
7
10.05.1950
01.08.1970
Resigned
30.07.1903
15.02.1994
90
20.
(Sir) Alan Taylor
NSW
Menzies (Lib)
3
03.09.1952
03.08.1969
Died
25.11.1901
03.08.1969
67
21.
(Sir) Douglas Menzies
VIC
Menzies (Lib)
4
12.06.1958
29.11.1974
Died
07.09.1907
29.11.1974
67
22.
(Sir) Victor Windeyer
NSW
Menzies (Lib)
6
08.09.1958
29.02.1972
Retired
28.07.1900
23.11.1987
87
23.
(Sir) William Owen
NSW
Menzies (Lib)
2
22.09.1961
31.03.1972
Died
21.11.1899
31.03.1972
72
24.
(Sir) Garfield Barwick CJ
NSW
Menzies (Lib)
5
27.04.1964
11.02.1981
Retired
22.06.1903
13.07.1997
94
25.
(Sir) Cyril Walsh
NSW
Gorton (Lib)
3
20.09.1969
29.11.1973
Died
15.06.1909
29.11.1973
64
26.
(Sir) Harry Gibbs CJ
QLD
Gorton (Lib)
Hawke (ALP)
7
04.08.1970
12.02.1981
05.02.1987
05.02.1987
Retired
07.02.1917
25.06.2005
88
27.
(Sir) Ninian Stephen
VIC
McMahon (Lib)
6
01.03.1972
11.05.1982
Resigned
15.06.1923
29.10.2017
94
28.
(Sir) Anthony Mason CJ
NSW
McMahon (Lib)
Hawke (ALP)
2
07.08.1972
06.02.1987
20.04.1995
20.04.1995
Retired
21.04.1925
93
29.
(Sir) Kenneth Jacobs
NSW
Whitlam (ALP)
3
08.02.1974
06.04.1979
Resigned
05.10.1917
24.05.2015
97
30.
Lionel K. Murphy
NSW
Whitlam (ALP)
4
10.02.1975
21.10.1986
Died
30.08.1922
21.10.1986
64
31.
(Sir) Keith Aickin
VIC
Fraser (Lib)
1
20.09.1976
18.06.1982
Died
01.02.1916
18.06.1982
66
32.
(Sir) Ronald Wilson
WA
Fraser (Lib)
3
21.05.1979
13.02.1989
Resigned
23.08.1922
15.07.2005
82
33.
(Sir) Gerard Brennan CJ
QLD
Fraser (Lib)
5
12.02.1981
21.04.1995
21.05.1998
21.05.1998
Retired
22.05.1928
90
34.
(Sir) William Deane
NSW
Fraser (Lib)
6
25.06.1982
11.11.1995
Resigned
04.01.1931
87
35.
(Sir) Daryl Dawson
VIC
Fraser (Lib)
1
30.07.1982
15.08.1997
Resigned
12.12.1933
84
36.
John Toohey
WA
Hawke (ALP)
4
06.02.1987
02.02.1998
Resigned
04.03.1930
09.04.2015
85
37.
Mary Gaudron
NSW
Hawke (ALP)
7
06.02.1987
31.01.2003
Resigned
05.01.1943
75
38.
Michael McHugh
NSW
Hawke (ALP)
3
14.02.1989
01.11.2005
Retired
01.11.1935
83
39.
William Gummow
NSW
Keating (ALP)
2
21.04.1995
08.10.2012
Retired
09.10.1942
76
40.
Michael Kirby
NSW
Keating (ALP)
6
06.02.1996
02.02.2009
Resigned
18.03.1939
79
41.
Kenneth Hayne
VIC
Howard (Lib)
1
22.09.1997
05.06.2015
Retired
05.06.1945
73
42.
Ian Callinan
QLD
Howard (Lib)
4
03.02.1998
31.08.2007
Retired
01.09.1937
81
43.
Murray Gleeson CJ
NSW
Howard (Lib)
5
22.05.1998
29.08.2008
Retired
30.08.1938
80
44.
John Dyson Heydon
NSW
Howard (Lib)
7
01.02.2003
28.02.2013
Retired
01.03.1943
75
45.
Susan Crennan
VIC
Howard (Lib)
3
01.11.2005
02.02.2015
Resigned
01.07.1945
73
46.
Susan Kiefel CJ
QLD
Howard (Lib)
Turnbull (Lib)
4
04.09.2007
30.01.2017


17.01.1954
64
47.
Robert French CJ
WA
Rudd (ALP)
5
08.09.2008
29.01.2017
Resigned
19.03.1947
71
48.
Virginia Bell
NSW
Rudd (ALP)
6
03.02.2009
07.03.1951
67
49.
Stephen Gageler
NSW
Gillard (ALP)
2
09.10.2012
05.07.1958
60
50.
Patrick Keane
QLD
Gillard (ALP)
7
01.03.2013
26.10.1952
66
51.
Geoffrey Nettle
VIC
Abbott (Lib)
3
03.02.2015
02.12.1950
67
52.
Michelle Gordon
VIC
Abbott (Lib)
1
09.06.2015
19.11.1964
54
53.
James Edelman
WA
Turnbull (Lib)
5
30.01.2017
09.01.1974
44


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