There has been much muttering of late in some legal circles about the High Court and Justice Heydon. While Justice Kirby is seen as the big dissenter in judgments, his fellow New South Welshman Justice Heydon is quietly racking up a prodigious record for agreeing with fellow judges (SMHHoward’s way now reflected in High Court).

Nothing wrong with this one might say. However, the question being asked is whether or not Heydon is pulling his weight and actually contributing to the written output of the court. Or is he riding on the tails of his brother judges’ gowns by having his name appear as co-author of judgments even though his contribution to drafting has been limited.

Some say that this low count is not surprising considering that in his career as an advocate he only appeared twice in the High Court without being led by a more senior barrister.

Justice McHugh must retire later this year when he turns 72. The Prime Minister will get to appoint another justice.

Who championed Heydon’s appointment? None other than former Liberal A-G, Tom Hughes QC. Who was Tom Hughes’ campaign manager in the 1960s? John Winston Howard. The plot sickens.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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