Regarded one of the nation’s finest commercial legal minds – Brisbane-based Federal Court of Australia Justice Andrew Greenwood has retired after almost 17 years on the bench, and a legal career that started as a solicitor 45 years ago.
Justice Greenwood was farewelled with a valedictory attended by a who’s who of the country’s legal profession during a ceremony in Court 1 of Brisbane’s Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Courts Building on Friday morning.
For more than 30 years, Justice Greenwood practised as a solicitor and became renowned for his expertise in commercial litigation, intellectual property and competition law in Queensland as a partner of top-tier firm MinterEllison.
Justice Greenwood’s contribution to the solicitors branch of the profession throughout his stellar career was acknowledged by the attendance of Queensland Law Society’s President Kara Thomson, Immediate Past President Elizabeth Shearer, 2020 President Luke Murphy and members of the QLS Council and Executive Committee at the ceremony.
Ms Thomson, during her speech at Friday’s valedictory, described Justice Greenwood as having a “strong and abiding respect for the Australian federal law jurisdiction”.
“Your Honour’s contribution to the administration of justice is prodigious and significant,” Ms Thomson said. “Given your Honour’s powerful intellect, love of the law and prodigious work ethic, it was fitting and only appropriate that your Honour should ascend to the Federal Court.
“In your solicitor’s practice you uniquely had a strong focus on federal law.
“Your Honour was one of the few who could maintain an intellectual property practice in Brisbane at the very highest levels and always had an eye to what speciality the market would come to need, rather than what was reported in the newspaper of the day.
“Your Honour was always one who was proactive with opportunities and could seemingly sense the future and be at the forefront of events.”
After graduating from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts in 1973 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1976, Justice Greenwood was admitted to practice in February 1976, and joined Morris Fletcher and Cross in 1977 as a solicitor, before being appointed as a partner at the age of only 28.
In 1995, he was selected by federal Treasury on behalf of the Council of Australian Governments to brief each state and territory government on the transition for each jurisdiction to the ‘National Competition Policy Reforms’ recommended by the Hilmer Report.
Justice Greenwood’s lengthy and distinguished career was recognised in 2005 when he was elevated to the bench as a Federal Court judge.
Ms Thomson said Justice Greenwood had uplifted the Federal Court during his tenure with his presence and dedication to the people and solicitors of Queensland.
“Senior solicitors have remarked to me that your Honour is a great lover of the law in all its facets and complexities,” she said.
“They also note with real respect that your Honour’s genuine humanity and approachability has remained throughout your judicial career and is brought to all the matters before you.
“Throughout your entire professional life, your Honour has maintained engagement and relationship with Queensland Law Society – from 1976 to this day.
“On behalf of the solicitors of Queensland, I extend the highest regard and the best wishes of our profession to your Honour on your retirement from the bench.
“We hope retirement provides opportunities for reflection on your extraordinary career but invigorates you for yet another chapter, as we are sure you are not yet done.”