Former President receives honour

A King's Birthday List Honour adds to the distinguished career of Dr John de Groot pictured here in November at the QLS membership recognition ceremony.

Although appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) today, Dr John de Groot still considers his Queensland Law Society presidency as one of his highest honours.

Dr de Groot was named in the King’s Birthday Honours List (General Division of the Order of Australia) for “significant service to the law, to tertiary education, and to the community”.

The former 2012 QLS President, who received the Society’s 50-year gold membership pin in November, was still “coming down to Earth” after the honour was announced.

“It is very thrilling and I am very grateful,” he said. “I have had a lot of support from many quarters over the years and am very pleased with the support.

“It is particularly delightful, being an Australia-wide award and I am very chuffed.”

Dr de Groot had already spent part of the day responding to congratulatory notes and calls when he spoke to Proctor.


“A lot of people have been part of my journey,” he said. “I could not have done my work without a team. It sounds obvious but without a team you do not achieve anything. One of my absolute highlights has been the Presidency of the QLS.

“It was a special honour as the membership voted me into that role and the Society has been a central part of my life for decades.

“It has loomed large in my life and the support I received from the Society has been a huge honour.”

Dr de Groot said he was planning some low-key celebrations with family and close friends.

“I’m not quite sure who is responsible for my nomination but I am very, very grateful.”

He was admitted in 1973, and from 1982 to 1996 he was the Director of the Legal Practice and Bar Practice courses at QUT Law School. He is an Accredited Specialist (Succession Law) and Director and Special Counsel at de Groots Wills and Estate Lawyers.


Before his presidency, Dr de Groot was a member and Chair of the Queensland Law Society’s Succession Law Committee for six years and a member of the Specialist Accreditation Advisory Committee for 10 years.

Former Supreme Court Justice The Honourable Ann Lyons also received the award for “significant service to the judiciary, to the law, and to the community”. The honorary QLS member was appointed Chair of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council last year.

The Honourable Ann Lyons

She was the inaugural president of the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal from 2000-2006 and was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2006. She was president of the Mental Health Court from 2011-14, and was appointed Senior Judge Administrator in 2017 before retiring in 2021.

District Court Judge Administrator His Honour Judge Paul Smith was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Military Division (AM).

Brigadier Smith received the honour for exceptional service as Deputy Judge Advocate General – Army.

Judge Smith served in the Army Reserves from 1980 to 1984. His Honour was commissioned in March 1984, winning the Queensland University Regiment Sword of Honour. Judge Smith then served as an infantry officer with the Queensland University Regiment and the 9th Battalion Royal Queensland Regiment before transferring to the Australian Army Legal Corps in 1993.


From 1985 to 1987, Judge Smith worked as a solicitor and, from 1987 to 1990 at Gilshenan and Luton where His Honour instructed counsel for the Queensland Police Union at the Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (Fitzgerald Inquiry).

Judge Smith sat as the central District Court Judge in Rockhampton from 8 March 2013 to 23 October 2014. His Honour was appointed Judge Administrator on 24 October 2014.

He was appointed Deputy Judge Advocate General – Army on 21 March 2019.

Former QLS member Linda Maree Kochanski, who is a nationally accredited mediator, was named in the General Division for “significant service to the law, particularly dispute resolution, and to tertiary education”.

In 1986 Linda started her career as a solicitor practising in criminal and family law. She then lectured in family law at Griffith University, Bond University and The College of Law. Linda has been a Panel Mediator for Clark & Associates since May 2019.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

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

Search by keyword