Chief Justice gives an insight into the life of a judge

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 13-10-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



The life of a judge is - full of interest, full of drama and full of humour - just part of the introduction of the lecture entitled: What Judges Do, which was given to over 100 staff, students, alumni and members of the Notre Dame community by Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Honourable Robert French.

Invited by The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Law School, Justice French shared some of his more memorable experiences on the bench both at State and Federal level. Dean of the Fremantle School of Law, Associate Professor Jane Power said that it was an important opportunity for students and staff to gain an insight into what is required of a judge.

”His Honour gave an inspiring and amusing insight to life as a judge. His discussion on interpretation of words and how meanings have shades is a lesson that lawyers can recognise, and use to assist the judges in courts. His recognition that courts must answer to the public also acknowledges that connection between the legal profession and community service. His talk appealed to students, staff and alumni alike. ”

During the presentation Justice French explained the role of a judge in the judicial system, noting that courts have a function, offering the central infrastructure.

“A judge is required to hear and then decide on cases. This decision is based on three fundamental actions: the judge is required to understand the legal rules, he then needs to consider the facts and then apply the legal rule,” he explained.

First year law students, Aimee Donjerkovich and Tom Lettenmaier, found the presentation very valuable. “Chief Justice French's talk was thoroughly enjoyable and informative. It was a privilege and a pleasure to listen to such a high profile member of the judiciary,” they said.

Media contact: Michelle Ebbs 08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138.