LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Susan Kiefel is only the third woman to have been appointed a judge of Australia’s highest court, but says she doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The 53-year-old former Federal Court and Queensland Supreme Court judge was today sworn in as a justice of the High Court of Australia.
Justice Kiefel said there were few women during her early years on the Queensland bar but women were now firmly “part of the landscape”.
“I was a lonely tree,” she said.
“The fact that we stood out may have had its disadvantages but it also had its advantages.”
For the first time, the court has two women judges – Justice Kiefel and Susan Crennan.
At a swearing in this afternoon, Justice Kiefel, who left school at 15, seemed bemused by the interest in her rise from a legal secretary to a judge of the country’s highest court.
“I have been somewhat surprised about the level of interest in my story, which I do not consider to be so very different from that of many others,” she said.
Justice Kiefel, who was a Federal Court judge and is known for her strong interest in comparative law, is the third woman to sit on the court.
Mary Gaudron, the first woman on the court, sat from 1987 to 2003.
Justice Kiefel studied for the bar exam while working as a legal secretary and then a clerk at a Brisbane law firm after leaving school.