find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
"Our Chief Justice" dies at 75

"Our Chief Justice" dies at 75

The legal profession is mourning the loss of John Harber Phillips, who died on August 7 at the age of 75.Phillips, AC, QC, was the tenth Chief Justice of Victoria, and was the state's most…

The legal profession is mourning the loss of John Harber Phillips, who died on August 7 at the age of 75.

Phillips, AC, QC, was the tenth Chief Justice of Victoria, and was the state's most senior judge for 12 years.

Described as "Our Chief Justice" by LIV President Bill O'Shea in recognition of his high standing in the Victorian community, his tenure saw significant expansion and re-organisation of the state's courts.

Significant reforms under his stewardship included the creation of the Court of Appeal, the appointment of the first women Judges, and the introduction of computer technology into the courtroom.

Phillips signed the Bar Roll on 24 February 1959, and is perhaps best known beyond the legal profession for his earlier career as a defence barrister in many of Australia's biggest criminal cases, including the trial of Lindy Chamberlain.

He was appointed Victoria's first Director of Public Prosecutions in 1983, a Supreme Court judge the following year and in 1990 became chairman of the National Crime Authority.

By members of the profession, he was noted for his accessibility, modesty, warmth and compassion. He had a passion for music and literature, and wrote several plays and novels.

At his retirement dinner in 2003, Phillips gave the audience a glimpse into his colourful life in the law, retelling the story of his one and only meeting with Judge Falcone who devoted his career to bringing to justice the Italian Mafia.

Falcone's last words to Chief Justice Philips were, in Italian, "A fine tomorrow, my brother." Nine months later, Judge Falcone and his magistrate wife were murdered in Sicily by a bomb blast.

"Those two people, that man, that woman, that judge and that magistrate, they are my judicial heroes. Not Lord Denning, not Sir Owen Dixon, but those two," Phillips told the 250 assembled members of the legal profession.

LIV CEO Mike Brett Young said that even after his retirement, Phillips continued to make an important contribution to the profession.

"As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court he brought a new direction to the Court. He was very interested in demystifying the court process, particularly for the public," Young said.

"Even after retirement he continued that work in promoting access to, and understanding of, the law through various activities, some of which included running court tours during Law Week."

The funeral will be held on Friday August 14 at 11am at St Patrick's Cathedral.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

"Our Chief Justice" dies at 75
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...