Susan Kiefel becomes Australia’s first female High Court chief justice

Susan Kiefel has been named as the next Chief Justice of the High Court, the first woman to take on the role. She replace Chief Justice Robert French who will stand down in January, ahead of his 70th birthday and in order to allow his successor to be in place for the start of the new year sittings on January 30.

Justice Kiefel was appointed to the court in September 2007, having already served as a judge in the Federal Government and the Supreme Court of Queensland. She was also the first woman in Queensland to be appointed Queen’s Counsel.

“The High Court remains as relevant today to Australians as it did at Federation. The issues that come before the High Court affect many aspects of the life of the nation,” Justice Kiefel said in a statement.

“It will be a privilege to walk in the footsteps of the eminent jurists who have been appointed Chief Justices since the Court was established in 1903.”