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Sir Gerard Brennan

The Law’s Good Servant




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AUD $79.95 gst included

SKU: 9781760024789 Categories: , ,

This is the first comprehensive biography of Sir Gerard Brennan, who is best known for his judgment in the Mabo case. It highlights the significant role Brennan played in the development of Australian law and in society more broadly. It traces his family background and life, education, and early career in Queensland before turning to the roles for which he is best known – inaugural president of the AAT, judge of the Federal Court and High Court, and finally, Chief Justice of Australia. It provides detailed analysis of Brennan’s most significant judgments and compares his reasoning with that of other members of the court. In so doing, it provides valuable insight into his judicial methodology. The book explores how Brennan dealt with the sometimes competing demands of the strict application of legal precedent, and of the need to do justice in a changing social context.

The book also considers the way he sought to balance the compelling demands of his judicial duties and those he saw inherent in both his family responsibilities and his Catholic faith. The portrait which emerges does justice to Brennan the man, as well as Brennan the judge.

As Registrar at UTS, the author worked closely with Brennan during the period he was Chancellor. He interviewed Brennan extensively, was given access to personal documents, and interviewed more than sixty of Brennan’s colleagues, associates, family members and friends. The resulting book is an important historical record of the life and times of a great Australian and will give readers a deeper understanding of the inner dynamics of the Australian court system.

Foreword – The Hon Kenneth Hayne AC KC
Author’s Note

1. Prequel
2. An Idyllic Childhood. 1928-1945
3. From School to the Bar
4. A Fortunate Life at the Queensland Bar
5. Broader Legal Horizons and an Unsettling State
6. Shaping the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
7. A Judge of the Federal Court
8. To the High Court
9. A New Judge in the Gibbs Court
10. Updating the Law – Part 1
11. The Court that “Australianised” the Law
12. Native Title- The Mabo Cases
13. Updating the Law – Part 2
14. Chief Justice in Challenging Times
15. The Major Cases Determined by the Brennan Court
16. Explaining the Courts
17. Farewell with a Well-Considered “Parting Shot”
18. Life in Retirement
19. Vale Sir Gerard


Read the Foreword by the The Hon Kenneth Hayne AC KC from Sir Gerard Brennan

Read the launch speech of Chief Justice Debbie Mortimer

The Federation Press held a book launch for ‘Sir Gerard Brennan’ in April 2024.

Read the launch speech of Chief Justice Debbie Mortimer

Read the launch speech of Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO

Photo Chief Justice Debbie Mortimer, Jeff Fitzgerald and Fr Frank Brennan at the book launch at the Federal Court in Sydney.

Photo Chief Justice Debbie Mortimer, Jeff Fitzgerald and members of the Brennan family at the book launch at the Federal Court in Sydney.

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