The Hon James Allsop AC will deliver the Sir Francis Burt Oration 2023 on the topic of “The legal system […]
The Hon James Allsop AC was Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia from 1 March 2013 to 6 April 2023; President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal from 2 June 2008 to 28 February 2013; and a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 7 May 2001 to 1 June 2008.
He is now available as an arbitrator, mediator, early neutral evaluator, chair of inquiries and legal expert.
As a barrister from 1981, and as Senior Counsel (in New South Wales) from 1994 and as Queen’s Counsel (in Western Australia) from 1998, James practised in a wide variety of areas in commercial law.
James’ expertise, as an advocate and judge, includes company law and business and partnership disputes, taxation, restrictive trade practices (anti-trust), patents, intellectual property, contract and building and construction disputes, with specialties in insurance, intellectual property, maritime law, insolvency, public and constitutional law, equity, and common law, in particular professional negligence of auditors, solicitors and insurance brokers.
James was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2023 for eminent service to the judiciary and to the law, to organisational and technological reform, to legal education, and to insolvency law. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2013.
Recent examples include:
Appointed as mediator in a commercial dispute regarding confidential information.
Appointed as mediator in a commercial dispute concerning restraint of trade.
Appointed as mediator in a commercial restraint of trade dispute.
Appointed as mediator in an industrial dispute in the transport sector.
Appointed as mediator in a ship collision dispute.
Appointed reviewer of an appeal in a commercial dispute being heard in court.
Appointed referee to report on tenders for the administration of class action settlements.
Appointed facilitator to assist the presentation of expert evidence in a class action concerning the construction of large residential and commercial buildings, cladding issues were involved.
Appointed as Chairman in a HKIAC arbitration in a dispute concerning the construction of commercial documents.
Appointed as Chairman in a HKIAC arbitration regarding a ship conversion contract.
Appointed as Chairman in a ACICA arbitration concerning a shareholder agreement dispute.
Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia 1 March 2013 to 6 April 2023
President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal 8 June 2008 to 28 February 2013
Judge of the Federal Court of Australia 7 May 2001 to 7 June 2008
An Additional Judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory 2003 to 2008
The Federal Court of Australia is the national superior court set up under legislation of the Commonwealth (that is the national) parliament and is of equivalent status to the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal of the States and Territories of Australia. The jurisdiction of the court includes a wide commercial practice area: commercial contracts, banking, finance and insurance, corporations, insolvency (corporate as well as personal bankruptcy), trade practices or competition and market regulation, supervision of international commercial arbitration, intellectual property (patents, trademarks, designs and copyright), taxation, Admiralty and maritime law, public or administrative and constitutional law.
As a Judge of the Federal Court, he undertook a full range of the work of the Court, sitting as a trial judge and as an appellate judge, on cases involving the full range of the Court’s jurisdiction.
While in the Federal Court up to 2008, he was the Convenor of the National Admiralty Committee of the Federal Court which committee advised the then Chief Justice on Admiralty matters and National Convening Judge and Sydney Registry Convening Judge in respect of the Admiralty and maritime work of the Federal Court. From 2013 to 2023 as Chief Justice he primarily sat on appeals, but from 2016 to 2023 he was in charge of the Insurance List of the Federal Court which involved case management, trial work and appellate work.
The Court of Appeal is the highest court in New South Wales. The President of the Court of Appeal is the second most senior judicial position in New South Wales.
In the Federal Court from 2001 to 2008 and from 2013 to 2023, he delivered or participated in the delivery of over 500 judgments sitting alone at first instance, and over 700 judgments in Full Courts on appeal or at first instance.
In the Supreme Court of New South Wales between 2008 and 2013, he delivered or participated in the delivery of 415 judgments in the Court of Appeal and 100 judgments in the Court of Criminal Appeal.
Some judgments in commercial law, shipping, insurance, intellectual property and insolvency have been:
Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.
Member of the American Law Institute.
Titulary Member of the Comite Maritime International on 20 October 2022.
Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple, being elected in 2010 and Called on 22 March 2011.
President of the Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History.
|Since 2023||Member of the Asian International Arbitration Centre’s Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators|
|2019 to 2023||Chair of the Judicial Liaison Committee of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA).|
|Since 2019||Member of the board of governors of the Asian Business Institute (ABLI) representing the Australian judiciary. Through the ABLI he has been actively involved in the International Asian Principles of Business Reconstruction Project.|
|Since 2018||Inaugural Patron of the Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA).|
|Since 2016||Involved in the establishment, organisation and working of the Standing International forum of Commercial Courts (SIFoCC) and current member of its steering committee. Previously involved in the international Judicial Insolvency Network (JIN).|
|2015 to 2017||Chair of the expert group in the Hague Conference on Private Law (HCCH) on the Use of Video-link in the Taking of Evidence Abroad.|
|2005 to 2009||Member of the governing board of the World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden.|
|2008 to 2011||Member of the board of the Australian Maritime College as part of the University of Tasmania in Launceston.|
Over the years James has lectured and spoken at various academic and professional gatherings including the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (MLAANZ), AILA, the Intellectual Property Association of Australia and New Zealand, the Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Australian National University, the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law in the University of Sydney, and the New South Wales Bar Association.
|2015 to 2018||Taught part-time in maritime law on comparative Admiralty practice at the University of Queensland, and from 2016 to 2018 was an Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, the University of Queensland.|
|2005 to 2014||Co-ordinated, and delivered post-graduate courses at the University of Sydney entitled “Commercial Maritime Law” and “Comparative Admiralty and Maritime Practice”, and for some years of that time, was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Sydney.|
|2000 to 2004||Lecturer in a Master of Laws Course at the University of Sydney entitled “Equity Financing”.|
|1985 to 1992||Lecturer in Bankruptcy and then Insolvency at the University of Sydney, being for a number of years the Challis Lecturer in Bankruptcy.|
|1981 to 1983||Tutor at the University of Sydney in Real Property and Equity.|
Recent speaking engagements include:
Please click here for a separate list of publications and papers.