High Court Justice Gageler to present Sir Frank Kitto Lecture

Published 10 November 2013

GagelerHigh Court Justice The Hon. Stephen Gageler will present a rare public lecture at the University of New England in Armidale, regional NSW on Monday, discussing the question “Why write judgments”.

The Annual Sir Frank Kitto Lecture is held in honour of former University of New England Chancellor and Justice of the High Court of Australia.

Justice Gageler joins a long list of some of Australia’s most well-known and esteemed legal names to present the lecture, including the current High Court Chief Justice, the Hon. Robert Shenton French, former High Court Chief Justice, Sir Anthony Mason and the Hon. Justice Michael Kirby.

Justice Gageler’s discussion will revisit the perennial question of written judgments as one of the fundamental elements of common law to which Australia subscribes and an area of interest he shares with Sir Frank Kitto.

Justice Gageler has provided the following abstract:

In 1973 Sir Frank Kitto presented a paper to a Convention of Judges of the High Court and of the Supreme Courts of the States and Territories. The title of the paper was in the form of a question: “Why Write Judgments?” That question has become the subject of contemporary controversy. Forty years on, this lecture reassesses the answer given by Sir Frank Kitto in the light of modern choice theory and behavioural science.

It is rare for Serving Justices to present such public discussions on aspects of common law outside of the High Court, however the Lecture in honour of Sir Frank Kitto is often made an exception.

Born in 1903, Sir Frank became one of the most respected lawyers in Australia before being appointed as the eighteenth justice of the High Court of Australia at only 47 years of age making him the first Justice appointed to the Court to have been born after Federation.

Former Justice of the High Court, the Hon. Michael Kirby, presented the Sir Frank Kitto Lecture twice, describing Sir Frank as having been a “living legend of the law.”

It was during his time on the High Court bench that Sir Frank began his long association with the University of New England, first as Deputy Chancellor and later as Chancellor.

This year’s lecture is being held as part of the 21st Anniversary celebrations of the UNE Law School.

Justice Gageler will present the Annual Sir Frank Kitto Lecture at the Lewis Lecture Theatre, UNE, at 5pm, on Monday, November 11.