Justice Michelle Gordon appointed to the High Court of Australia

Attorney-General George Brandis has appointed Michelle Gordon a justice of the High Court of Australia, meaning the court is now made up of three women and four men.

Gordon has enjoyed a distinguished career as a lawyer, barrister and judge. Most recently, she served as a judge on the Federal Court for eight years after being appointed in 2007.

Born and raised in Perth, Justice Gordon graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1987 with a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Law. She began her legal career at Robinson Cox, now known as top-tier commercial law firm Clayton Utz. She then continued her career in commercial litigation at what is now leading firm Allens in Melbourne before becoming a barrister in 1992. She became a silk in 2003, after 11 years at the bar.

Gordon will be eligible to serve on the High Court for 19 years, until she turns 70 in 2034. She replaces Justice Ken Hayne, who turns 70 in June and therefore must relinquish his seat.

Gordon will be sworn in on June 9, 2015.

“Justice Gordon has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the law, both at the Bar and on the Bench,” Attorney-General Brandis said of the appointment.

“Justice Gordon quickly became one of the leaders at the Bar, establishing a busy practice specialising in commerciallaw, trade practices and taxation. In 2003, Her Honour took silk after only eleven years.”

“On behalf of the Government, I congratulate Justice Gordon on her appointment.”

Since the High Court was established, it has appointed 52 justices, including Gordon. 47 of those appointments have been men, and Gordon becomes only the fifth woman to be appointed to the court over the course of 112 years.

Gordon’s appointment means the current court has a 4-3 gender split, making it more evenly balanced than at most other points in its history.

Throughout its history, Australia’s highest court has had a visible gender problem, but hopefully not an intractable one. We hope Gordon is one of many impressive women we see sitting on the High Court bench in the near future. 

Lucia Osborne-Crowley

Lucia Osborne-Crowley is a journalist and producer at Women's Agenda.

Twitter: @LuciaOC_

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