2014 George Winterton Memorial Lecture: "Judges as Royal Commissioners" Reprised: The Involvement of Australian Judges in Extra-Judicial Work

Thursday, 13 February, 2014 - 17:00 to 18:30
New South Wales

Presented by: Professor Fiona Wheeler

Chair: Professor Peter Gerangelos 



The late George Winterton, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Sydney, published "Judges as Royal Commissioners" in the University of New South Wales Law Journal in 1987. In this paper, he claimed there was "overwhelming" justification for the view "that judges should generally decline to undertake extra-judicial governmental duties". This was because the use of judges in such roles "can endanger public confidence in the independence, impartiality and competence of the judiciary". At the same time, he argued that the Boilermakers Case "should be overruled" and replaced by a more flexible principle preventing federal courts from exercising functions at odds with their role as repositories of judicial power. Over 25 years later, this lecture reprises the themes - notably the need for judges to avoid controversy arising from contact with political matters - that Winterton explored in this characteristically incisive essay. Drawing on archival research undertaken by the speaker, the lecture will provide a window into the rich - though neglected - history of the involvement of Australian judges in extra-judicial work and explore the reasons why Winterton's arguments remain valid today.


For further information, please download the flyer.



(registration from 5.45PM) 

Banco Court, Supreme Court of NSW

184 Phillip St, Sydney


Registration: Free, however registration is essential CLICK HERE to register or visit www.sydney.edu.au/law

T: +61 2 9351 0323