Susan Kiefel has been named Australia’s first female High Court chief justice – ending 113 years of men leading the nation’s highest court. She will become the Chief Justice of Australia on 30 January 2017.
After months of speculation about who would replace retiring chief Robert French, the Turnbull government appointed serving High Court Justice Kiefel to the role .
- Brisbane-based Federal Court Justice James Edelman, who is just 42, will replace her as a puisne judge – a judge other than the chief justice.
Kiefel has served on the High Court since 2007, having previously been a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Federal Court of Australia.
Kiefel was born in Cairns, Queensland in 1954. She briefly attended Sandgate District State High School, leaving at the age of 15 upon completing Year 10.
In 1971, she completed secretarial training at Kangaroo Point Technical College on a scholarship. She worked as a secretary for a building society, an architect, and an exploration company before starting work as a receptionist for a group of barristers, Fitzgerald, Moynihan and Mack.