University Officers

John Anthony McCarthy QC

Mr John McCarthy QC was a Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney appointed by the Minister for Education and Training from 4 August 1995, when he initially filled a casual vacancy, to 31 December 2009.

During his time on Senate, Mr McCarthy was:

  • Pro Chancellor, whose role is, by arrangement with the Chancellor, to preside at graduation ceremonies when the Chancellor is not available, from March 2005 - December 2009
  • Chair of the Senate/Sports Liaison Committee, which had been established at his suggestion, from its inception in 2002 to 2009

He was a member of the following Senate committees:

  • Advisory Committee for Honorary Awards: 1996 - 1999, 2001 - 2009
  • Planning Committee: 1995 - 1998
  • Finance Committee / Finance and Infrastructure Committee 1999 - 2009
  • Senate Standing Committee: 1995 -1996
  • Working Party to consider legal advice on the draft revised By-laws and Fellows’ comments: 1996
  • Sub-committee to look at the By-laws, especially those relating to the question of Senate and the Chancellor: 2001
  • Reference group to partner with the Union and SU Sport task forces to assist with their challenges re VSU: 2006

and was a Senate representative on the following committees:

  • Selection Committee for a Vice-Chancellor: 1996
  • Selection Committee for Deputy Vice-Chancellors: 1996
  • Selection Committee for Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities and Social Sciences): 1996
  • Selection Committee for the Dean of the Faculty of Law: 1997, 2001


BA LLB Sydney LLM Virg
Fellow of Senate appointed by the Minister for Education and Training from 1 January 1995 to 31 December 2009
– Pro Chancellor, 2005 - 2009
– Chair, Senate/Sports Liaison Committee, 2002 - 2009

Mr McCarthy was a student at Sydney University where he completed his Arts/Law degree between 1965-70. He was a resident of St John's College.

He completed his Masters of Law degree at the University of Virginia in 1975.

He was admitted as a Solicitor in 1972. He was admitted as a Barrister in September 1976 and appointed Queen's Counsel in July 1988.

He has been Trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sports Ground Trust since 1996 and is a member of the SCG Finance Committee. From 1996 to 2000, he served on the SCG Homebush Committee which oversaw the management of the Sydney International Aquatic Centre at Homebush.

Since 1988 Mr McCarthy has been a member of the Legal Aid Review Committee No. 1 as a nominee of the New South Wales Bar Association. This is a senior review body overseeing the work of the Legal Aid Commission. From 1995 – 2005 Mr McCarthy served as a member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal New South Wales (Legal Services Division) which is the principal tribunal for complaints against legal practitioners.

He is highly experienced in constitutional, federal and electoral law and has appeared in Courts of Disputed Returns involving Federal and State elections. He has also appeared in cases involving Local Government, trade unions and Aboriginal Land Council elections.

Mr McCarthy has had a long connection with Aboriginal people and Aboriginal agencies. He is Senior Counsel for the Dunghutti people and was involved in that role in the negotiation and settling of the first Deed of Agreement (209 years after first white settlement), between the Crown of New South Wales and an Aboriginal people in respect of native title. He was also Senior Counsel for the Dunghutti people and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council in the Federal Court proceedings for the first order for the determination of native title under the Native Title Act and on the Australian mainland. He remains actively involved in native title work including advising on the Native Title Amendment Act in 1997/98.

Mr McCarthy has been a member of the St Thomas More Society since 1975 and was elected to Council in 1977. In 1993 he was elected President of the Society and has been re-elected for successive one year terms since then. Mr McCarthy retired as President in 2005.

During the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Mr McCarthy was appointed by the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Tanzania as their Olympic Attaché. He continues his relationship with Tanzanian athletics as Chairman of the John Stephen Akhwari Athletics Foundation.

Mr McCarthy lives in Ashfield with his wife Christine. Christine is an Honours graduate in Music from the University of Sydney. They have 3 sons and 3 daughters.