Susan Kenny


Susan Kenny

1985 Law Scholar

Scholarship biography (at time of award)

Susan Kenny graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Arts. She earned several awards including the Supreme Court Prize. After graduating, Susan worked as an Articled Clerk and Solicitor with Messrs Henderson and Ball and then as Associate to Sir Ninian Stephen before becoming a Member of the Victorian Bar.

Susan was awarded the Scholarship to complete a DPhil at Magdalen College, University of Oxford.

Studied at: University of Oxford

Current Biography

Justice Kenny graduated BA (Hons), LLB (Hons) University of Melbourne. She was placed first in History (Dwight’s Prize 1975) and shared first place in law and the Supreme Court Prize 1977. Awarded the Menzies Scholarship in Law in 1985 and a grant from Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Trust, she studied comparative constitutional law at Magdalen College, Oxford, under the supervision of Professor John Finnis and graduated DPhil (Oxon) in 1989.

She was Associate to Sir Ninian Stephen, then a Justice of the High Court of Australia, for two years from 1979, after which she commenced practising as a barrister. She specialised in constitutional and public law, as well as working in commercial and tax law. She became Queen’s Counsel in 1996. She appeared in various notable cases, including the Tasmanian Dam Case and the War Crimes Case in the High Court and Portugal v Australia and Nauru v Australia in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Justice Kenny was appointed to the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1997. At the time of her appointment, she was a part-time Commissioner of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. She was a part-time Commissioner, Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) 2003-July 2012; Member of the ALRC Advisory Committee for the purpose of the reference leading to Discussion Paper 79 and ALRC Report 122, Copyright and the Digital Economy. She was also Member of the Board of Governors, International Organization for Judicial Training (IOJT) 2005-2007; Member of the Executive, IOJT 2008-2009; Regional Deputy President, IOJT 2010-2012; alternate member/member of Council of the National Judicial College of Australia 2006-2010; member of the Steering Committee for Australian Secretariat for the Asia Pacific Judicial Reform Forum 2005-2008; President of the Administrative Review Council 1993-1996; Counsel Assisting the Commonwealth Solicitor-General 1991-1992; member of the Advisory Committee on Executive Government for the 1987 Constitutional Commission. Since becoming a judge, she has been a member or chair of numerous legal academic advisory boards or committees.

Justice Kenny maintains her interest in the development of the law. Amongst other things, she is a College Fellow of St Hilda’s College, University of Melbourne; a member of Council of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration; member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for International and Public Law, ANU; member of the Executive, Future Justice; and Foundation Fellow of the Australia Academy of Law.

Scholarship Year: 1985

Fields of Interest