HomeThe Honourable Justice Arthur R. Emmett AO KC

Expert resume of The Honourable Justice Arthur R. Emmett AO KC

Acting Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales; Judge, New South Wales Court of Appeal

Justice Arthur Emmett was educated at North Sydney Boys’ High School and the University of Sydney. He graduated from the University of Sydney as Bachelor of Arts (1964), Bachelor of Laws (1967) and Master of Laws with honours (1976). In May 2009, the University of Sydney conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws.  In the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Justice Emmett served articles of clerkship from 1964 to 1967, when he was admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales. He worked as a solicitor in Sydney and London from 1967 to 1970. In 1970, he became an associate and in 1971 a partner of Dawson Waldron, now known as Ashursts. While a solicitor, Justice Emmett was engaged in commercial transactions of most kinds with particular emphasis on acquisitions, mergers and corporate finance, from time to time becoming involved in litigation arising out of commercial transactions. His clients included International Commodities Clearing House and the options clearing house of Sydney Stock Exchange.

In 1978 Justice Emmett was admitted as a barrister in New South Wales and was subsequently admitted in other Australian jurisdictions. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel for New South Wales in 1985 and for other Australian jurisdictions soon after. While at the Bar, he practised in commercial litigation in the Federal Court of Australia, and the Supreme Courts of New South Wales, the ACT, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria and in all intermediate appellate jurisdictions. He appeared on many occasions in the High Court of Australia, and also appeared in the last appeal from Australia to the Privy Council in 1987.

Justice Emmett was appointed as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia with effect from February 1997. The Federal Court is both a trial court and an intermediate appellate court exercising federal jurisdiction throughout Australia. While on the Federal Court, Justice Emmett served as a member of the Competition, Corporations, Patents, Admiralty and Taxation Panels of the Federal Court. Justice Emmett was also a presidential member of the Copyright Tribunal of Australia from April 2001, and from October 2007 to March 2013 was President of the Copyright Tribunal.

In March 2013, Justice Emmett was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and judge of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of New South Wales is the superior court of the State of New South Wales and the Court of Appeal is the highest appellate court of the State of New South Wales.  Since October 2015, after reaching compulsory retirement age, he has been an acting judge of the New South Wales Court of Appeal.

For several years Justice Emmett taught Real Property at the University of Sydney and was also examiner in that subject. He has taught Roman Law at the University of Sydney since 1978 and has been Challis Lecturer in Roman Law since 1990. He also teaches Roman Law at the University of New South Wales, where he is an adjunct professor. He has been the convenor of the Rules Harmonization Committee of the Council of Chief Justices of Australia and New Zealand and is presently the presiding member of the Legal Profession Admission Board of NSW. He is a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne as well as being a member of P.R.I.M.E. Finance.

Justice Emmett contributed the Latin and Roman law entries for Australian Legal Dictionary (Butterworths 1997) and Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (LexisNexis 2011) and was a consultant editor of Trusts Law Australia (Butterworths 2000). He is presently general editor of Butterworths Corporation Law Bulletin and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Banking and Finance Law and Practice. He has also contributed to various Australian legal publications and journals.