Michael Kirby

former Judge, High Court of Australia; Vice-President of Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, Australia

The Honorable Michael Kirby was Australia's longest serving judge when he retired from the High Court of Australia (the nation's Federal Supreme Court) in 2009, having served since 1975. He held several national responsibilities, including as inaugural chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission and president of the International Commission of Jurists. He also took part in the work of a number of United Nations agencies, including WHO, UNESCO, ILO, UN ODC, UN AIDS as well as activities of the Commonwealth of Nations and OECD. Judge Kirby served as special representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for human rights in Cambodia. Most recently, he was appointed chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea. He is currently serving on a number of bodies relevant to international health Law. These include the UN AIDS/Lancet Commission on Sustainable Health; the UN AIDS reference group On HIV and Human Rights; and the Global Fund High-Level Panel on Equitable Access to Healthcare (2015-16). In Australia, Judge Kirby has attracted attention as the first judge of the highest court ever to be open about his homosexuality and has spoken and written books on the subject. He is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.


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