Australia’s 1st female High Court Chief Justice sworn in

Canberra, Jan 30 (IANS) Australia’s first female Chief Justice of the High Court was officially sworn in at a ceremony in Canberra on Monday, a media report said.

Susan Kiefel, who replaces outgoing Chief Justice Robert French, is the first woman to hold the position in the High Court’s 113-year history.

In a speech following the ceremony, Kiefel described her appointment as a watershed moment for women in law.

“The appointment of more women to this court recognises that there are now women who have the necessary legal ability and experience as well as the personal qualities to be a justice of this court,” Kiefel added.

“There seems no reason to think that that situation will not be maintained in the future. It may well improve,” she said.

Kiefel was sworn in by Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis, who said her story was an inspiration –“story to inspire women and men alike”.

Kiefel’s appointment garnered mainstream attention in 2016, not only because she was the first woman to be appointed to the role, but she was also a high school dropout at 15 years.

Studying law part-time, she eventually gained admission to the Queensland Bar in 1975, and served as a High Court Justice from 2007 until her appointment as Chief Justice in November, 2016.