Sir Frederick Jordan – Australia’s most influential judge?

Image: Greg Henderson for SCLQ, 2015.

Former New South Wales Court of Appeal President Keith Mason AC will give the fourth in the 2022 Selden Society lecture series in Brisbane next month on one of the nation’s most influential former jurists.

Founded in 1887 to encourage the study and advance the knowledge of the history of English law, the Selden Society has grown beyond the United Kingdom to have a truly global, cross-jurisdictional reach with chapters in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, as well as France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.

The Honourable Keith Mason, who also served as NSW Solicitor-General and is now an adjunct professor at the University of NSW, is to speak about NSW former Chief Justice Sir Frederick Jordan in a lecture in Brisbane QEII Courts of Law’s ceremonial Banco Court on Thursday 3 November.

Chief Justice of New South Wales from 1934–1949, Sir Frederick Jordan’s vigorous defence of the rule of law during World War II sometimes put him at odds with the governments of the day and the High Court of Australia.

Through his earlier law school teaching, publications and the lasting influence of his judgments, Sir Frederick has a serious claim to be Australia’s greatest jurist even though he declined an appointment to the High Court offered by Prime Minister Robert Menzies at the urging of Sir Owen Dixon.

A bibliophile fluent in six languages, his extra-judicial writings reveal expansive and opinionated scholarship in art, literature, religion and popular culture.


The lecture, which will begin at 5.30pm, will also be available on Zoom (registration required), or register to attend in person (registration closes 27 October).

For more information, visit or phone 1300 SCLQLD (1300 725 753).

Last month QLS Proctor featured an article from Supreme Court Library Queensland Programs Manager Kirsten Murray on the benefits of being a member of the Selden Society.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search by keyword