The Hon James Spigelman AC QC


The Honourable James Spigelman AC QC served as Chief Justice of NSW from 1998 until end May 2011. In July 2013 he was appointed a non-permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

James Spigelman was Senior Advisor and Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam from 1972 to 1975, then Secretary for the Department of Media from 1975 to 1976. He was called to the Bar in 1976 and was a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission from 1976 to 1979.

He was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 1986, but maintained his strong interest in the arts and culture by serving on the boards and as chair of a number of cultural and educational institutions. Most recently he served as chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 2012 to 2017.

James Spigelman was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW in May 1998, a position he held for 13 years until his retirement in 2011. He was appointed a non-permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal in July 2013.

He has authored three books, co-authored a fourth book and published 170 articles on a range of topics including contractual interpretation, insurance law, commercial arbitration, insolvency, international commercial litigation, and human rights. Three volumes of his speeches as Chief Justice have also been published.