Michael Kirby

Sir Michael Kirby

  • Post Nominals: FRSN, FAHA, AC, CMG
  • Fellow Type: Honorary Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2006


Michael Donald Kirby was appointed to the High Court of Australia in February 1996. At the time of his appointment he was President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, having been appointed to that office in September 1984. He was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1967. He was appointed a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1975. He served as first Chairperson of the Australian Law Reform Commission from 1975-84. In 1983 he became a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, serving on that Court until 1984. He has held numerous national and international positions including on the Board of CSIRO, as President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands, as UN Special Representative in Cambodia and as President of the International Commission of Jurists. In 1991 he was appointed a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

He is a Justice of the High Court of Australia; former member of the National Commission; recipient of the 1998 UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education, and member of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee. He chaired the Drafting Group which elaborated a draft Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights which is currently being considered by UNESCO Member States.

Photo by Sasha Hadden

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.