High Court veteran back in class

Justice Michael Kirby (centre) with Yvette Holt, alecturer at SCU School of Law and Justice, and Sam Garkawe, an associate professor at the school.
Justice Michael Kirby (centre) with Yvette Holt, alecturer at SCU School of Law and Justice, and Sam Garkawe, an associate professor at the school. Jann Burmester

LAW students got some advice from one of Australia’s most respected and experienced judges at Southern Cross University’s summer law school in Byron Bay yesterday.

Former High Court justice Michael Kirby delivered two lectures as part of the program.

He said he loved passing on his knowledge to the younger generation.

“I really enjoy speaking to the students,” he said.

“It’s not so long ago that I was in their shoes.

“My first lecture was about the issue of human rights and my work in Cambodia. The second was about appellate advocacy.

“After meeting with the students I really feel that the future generation is in good shape.

“It is really hard for them when they are starting out.  There are sometimes catastrophes.

“But once I’m finished with them, they will be able to handle anything.”

Mr Kirby retired from the High Court of Australia earlier this year.

He had served there since 1996.

But he said there had been plenty to keep him busy in the months since then.

“I am the president of the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia, and the general editor of the Laws of Australia, which is a legal encyclopedia,” he said.

“I’m also a visiting professor at eight universities, including Southern Cross.

“I have also been appointed to many international and United Nations organisations.”

SCU’s School of Law and Justice summer school started this week and continues until January 7.

It attracts students from all across Australia and from overseas.

Mr Kirby spoke as a guest teacher in the Human Rights unit, which examines human rights principles from different perspectives.

There is an emphasis onhuman rights in Asia.

Mr Kirby said he was looking forward to building his relationship with SCU.

“I will be back (on the North Coast) as often as I am invited,” he said.

“I love it here.”

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