Skip Navigation
Online Bookstore Book Supplements Newsletter Subscription For Academics For Bookshops For Authors About Us JournalsHolt Prize
The Tuning Cymbal

The Tuning Cymbal

Selected Papers and Speeches of Robert French

Edited by Robert Pascoe


This collection of papers and speeches draws on the career of one of Australia’s leading jurists, the Hon Robert French AC.

The book is divided into ten parts, each reflecting an aspect of French’s career such as Indigenous issues, human rights, public law, commercial dispute resolution and the judicial system. French’s contributions are put into context through commentaries by leading legal academics and practitioners including  Chief Justice Tom Bathurst AC, Professor Megan Davis, Fiona McLeod AO SC, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Professor Anne Twomey.

The result is a rich account of French’s contribution to the law.

From the book: “Here was Chief Justice French in 2009 stating unequivocally that the Mabo decisions and the Native Title ACT recognised Indigenous rights without undermining Australia’s sovereignty and could provide the basis for a treaty agreement: Such an agreement could recognise and acknowledge traditional law and custom of indigenous communities across Australia, their historical relationship with their country, their prior occupancy of the continent and that there are those who have maintained and asserted their traditional rights to the present time. … I ripped this brief SMH extract featuring Robert French’s comment out of the newspaper. I carried it many places with me, as PhD students tend to do. It was a reminder to me, as an Aboriginal public lawyer who was specialising in constitutional law, that I had to keep some faith with the institutions that I had studied.” – Professor Megan Davis

Publication sponsored by The Australian Academy of Law.


The Honourable Kevin Lindgren AM QC FAAL

Notes on the Commentators
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes

An introduction to Justice Robert Shenton French AC
Prof Robert Pascoe

Part A: Indigenous Issues

Commentator: Prof Megan Davis
1. Native Title – A Constitutional Shift?
2. Simple Justice – Recognition and Sovereignty

Part B: Human Rights, Diversity and Access to Justice

Commentator: Fiona McLeod AO SC
3. Equal Justice and Cultural Diversity – The General Meets the Particular
4. Rights and Freedoms and the Rule of Law
5. Access to Justice – Indispensable to Equal Justice

Part C: The Profession

Commentator: Jennifer Batrouney QC
6. Don’t You Know Who I Am? – Ego and Identity in the Administration of Justice
7. It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose
8. Singers of Song and Dreamers of Plays
9. Legal Change – The Role of Advocates
10. Seeking Higher Things in Higher Education – The Case of the Lawyers

Part D: Public Law

Commentator: Prof Anne Twomey
11. The Constitution and the People
12. The Chief Justice and the Governor-General
13. Judge Bridlegoose, Randomness and Rationality in Administrative Decision-making
14. The Globalisation of Public Law – A Quilting of Legalities
15. The Principle of Legality and Legislative Intention

Part E: Comparative Law

Commentator: Em Prof Cheryl Saunders AO FBE
16. Home Grown Laws in a Global Neighbourhood – Australia, the United States and the Rest
17. The Rule of Law as a Many Coloured Dream Coat
18. Australia and the United Kingdom – A Bit Like Family – Much in Common but a Lot Different

Part F: Intersections

Commentator: The Honourable Kevin Lindgren AM QC FAAL
19. Science and Judicial Proceedings: 76 Years On
20. Are You Sure?
21. Judges and Academics – Dialogue of the Hard of Hearing

Part G: Competition Law

Commentator: Russell Miller AM
22. The Role of Courts in Competition Law
23. The Moving Finger Writes: Having Writ, Rewrites

Part H: Commercial Dispute Resolution Domestic and International

Commentator: Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon
24. Arbitration and Public Policy
25. Convergence of Commercial Laws – Fence Lines and Fields
26: Public and Private Spaces – Dispute Resolution in International Trade and Commerce

Part I: The Judicial System

Commentator: Chief Justice Tom Bathurst
27. Judicial Exchange: Debalkanising the Courts
28. The Changing Face of Judicial Leadership – A Western Australian Perspective

Part J: Legal Education

Commentator: Prof Carolyn Evans FASSA
29. Legal Education in Australia – A Never Ending Story



The Tuning Cymbal: Selected Papers and Speeches of Robert French, edited by Robert a noteworthy compilation of the ideas, reflections and, at times, subtle advocacy of one of Australia’s most prolific jurists...Critical to the success of this collection is the adoption of a format in which the articles in each topic grouping are prefaced by an introductory comment from an expert in the field...It produces a profound effect.

Shipra Chopra, NSW Bar News, Summer 2020


Published 21 July 2020
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781760022402
Australian RRP $160.00
International Price $146.00
currency converter


Law - Advocacy
Law - Constitutional
Law - Judges & Courts
Law - Jurisprudence / Legal Theory
Law - Legal History
Law - Legal History
Law - Legal Profession / Legal Practice
Australian History / Studies

        BACK TO TOP