Australia's first female Chief Justice of High Court named

His Excellency the Governor-General has accepted the advice of the Government to appoint the Honourable Justice Susan Mary Kiefel AC as the next Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

"They can follow in Susan Kiefel's footsteps, study well, get admitted, become the chief justice of Australia", Mr Turnbull said in announcing the appointment in Canberra on Tuesday.

In making the announcement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Justice Kiefel's legal career should serve as an "inspiration" to aspiring lawyers across the country.

For her part, Justice Kiefel said she was deeply honoured by the appointment and vowed to work to uphold the importance of the court as an institution in our society and to maintain its independence.

"In 1993 she became the first woman to be appointed a judge of the supreme court of Queensland".

Susan Kiefel at her swearing-in to the High Court in September 2007.

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Mr Clark also welcomed the appointment of the Honourable Justice James Joshua Edelman to fill Justice Kiefel's seat on the High Court.

In 2011, Justice Edelman was appointed to the Supreme Court of Western Australia and was appointed to his current position as Judge of the Federal Court of Australia in April 2015.

Before her appointment, Justice Gordon worked as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia and practised in state and federal courts principally in commercial, equity, taxation and general civil matters.

"Every step in her distinguished career is a step that she took on merit, as acknowledged by her peers and colleagues and contemporaries", Attorney-General George Brandis said.

Justice Kiefel will be sworn in as Chief Justice on 30 January 2017.

His Honour was appointed Chief Justice in 2008 and served as judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 1986 to 2008.

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"He was born on the 9 January 1974 so he is a different generation to most of the other judges of the high court, but he was a professor of law at Oxford at the age of 34".

"Prior to her her appointment, Justice Kiefel was already a trailblazer for women in the legal profession", said Law Council president Stuart Clark. She will replace Chief Justice Robert French, who will retire early next year.

"Justice Kiefel's talent and commitment to her profession has taken her to Australia's highest judicial office", he said.

She also ruled on Labor's plain packaging laws for tobacco companies, and on the ACT's controversial gay marriage law. "The issues that come before the high court affect many aspects of the life of the nation", she said. French had been "an exemplary leader" of the court over the past eight years.

"The breadth of his achievements to date are all the more remarkable by his relative youth".

The High Court now boasts three women on the seven-judge bench, following the appointment of Justice Michelle Gordon previous year.

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