Australia’s tenth Chief Justice, the Honourable Sir Francis Gerard Brennan AC KBE QC, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 94.
Sir Gerard, who was Chief Justice from 21 April 1995 to 21 May 1998, was born in Rockhampton on 22 May 1928 and gained his law degree at the University of Queensland. He was admitted to the Queensland Bar in 1951 and became a QC in 1965. Among many other achievements, he was a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission from 1975-77 and the first President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, 1976-79.
He was President of the Australian Bar Association from 1975–76 and a member of the executive of the Law Council of Australia from 1974–76. Appointed a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1981, and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1988 in recognition of his service to the law, Sir Gerard was one of Australia’s most distinguished and respected jurists.
“Sir Gerard made a remarkable contribution to the law and jurisprudence, and his legacy will echo long into the future,” Law Council of Australia President Tass Liveris said. “Despite his formidable abilities, his unwavering reputation for decency and thoughtfulness provide a shining model to follow.”
Australian Bar Association President Dr Matt Collins AM QC said, “Sir Gerard was one of the finest jurists this country has produced. He inspired generations of lawyers with his intellect, but also his deep sense of humanity. His passing is a great loss to the whole of the justice community.”
Sir Gerard’s wife, Dr Patricia O’Hara passed away in September 2019. Sir Gerard is survived by his four daughters and three sons.
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