2019 George Winterton Memorial Lecture

14 February 2019



The Mysteries of Judicial Power: Defining the Relationship Between Law and Power in the Modern State

Speaker: The Honourable Thomas Frederick Bathurst AC, 17th Chief Justice of New South Wales

In 1918, the High Court held that the judicial power of the Commonwealth cannot be vested otherwise than in a court in accordance with s 71 in Chapter III of the Constitution. Since that time, courts have sought to define the nature and limits of "judicial power" and its place within the judicial structure established by Chapter III. Sometimes, these questions have arisen from and concern fairly anodyne areas of law. Other times, they have resulted in a fundamental rethinking of long-assumed legal doctrine. However, regardless of their abstract legal significance, they will almost always have a significant practical effect on how individuals interact with the power exercised by the modern state.

This lecture will examine the role of the concept of "judicial power" in defining the relationship between the law and power in Australia, and will highlight the potential challenges to this relationship which may arise in the future.

About the speaker

Thomas Frederick Bathurst was appointed Chief Justice of New South Wales on 1 June 2011.

Graduating with degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney in 1971, he went on to practise as a solicitor in 1972. He was admitted as a barrister in 1977, specialising in corporate law and litigation and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1987. His considerable experience in corporate law saw his appointment as a member of the Australian Government's Takeovers Panel (2006-2011).

Prior to his appointment to the bench, the Chief Justice served as President of both the Australian Bar Association (2008-2010) and the New South Wales Bar Association (2009-2011), the Executive Committee of which he was a member from 2002.

The Chief Justice was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2014.

George Winterton Memorial Fund

Friends and colleagues of the late Professor George Winterton are invited to make a gift to the Memorial Fund named in his honour. Gifts to the Fund will support activities at Sydney Law School in the area of Constitutional Law in memory of Professor Winterton. For further information or to make your gift, please contact Professor Peter Gerangelos, Convenor of the Winterton Memorial Fund and Winterton Lecture Series on

This lecture is proudly hosted by The University of Sydney Law School and The University of Western Australia Law School.


Time: 5.30-6.20pm (registration from 5pm, cocktail reception to follow at 6.20pm)

Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of NSW, 184 Phillip St, Sydney

Cost: Complimentary, however registration is essential.

Contact: Professional Learning & Community Engagement

Phone: 02 9351 0429

Email: 1f0000773d4e0e1c0307771a565c2a220049001c37542a2f