Honorary awards

The Hon Justice Kenneth Robert Handley AO

The degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) was conferred upon the Hon Justice Kenneth Robert Handley AO at the Law graduation ceremony held at 9.30am on 11 May 2007.

The Hon Justice Kenneth Robert Handley AO

The Chancellor the Hon Justice Kim Santow conferring the Honorary Doctorate upon Justice Handley, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Chancellor, I have the honour to present Justice Kenneth Handley AO, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

Justice Handley began his primary education at Beecroft Grammar School and undertook his secondary education at Cranbrook School. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction and a Bachelor of Laws degree with first class honours. He practised at the New South Wales Bar, and in 1973 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. From 1987 to 1989 he was President of the NSW Bar Association, and from 1988 to 1989 he was also President of the Australian Bar Association. In 1990, Justice Handley was appointed to the NSW Court of Appeal where he served for 16 years. In his address on the retirement of Justice Handley, Chief Justice James Spigelman described His Honour as ‘the quintessential lawyer’s lawyer’ because of his encyclopaedic knowledge of case law throughout the common law world. Those who worked with Justice Handley attest that he would not only recall the names of the relevant precedents, but also the relevant law report volumes in which they were situated, and even the position on the pages on which the relevant principles were cited.

Justice Handley authored numerous law journal articles, and was also the editor of several important works including the third edition of the Doctrine of Res Judicata. More recently, Justice Handley published a sole authored book titled ‘Estoppel by Conduct and Election’.

Justice Handley did not forget his old school, and from 1974 he has served on the Cranbrook School Council and has served as President of this body since 1999. Justice Handley is a leading lay Anglican, and was Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney from 1980 to 2003.

In the 1990 Australia Day Honours list, Justice Handley was designated an Officer of the Order of Australia ‘for service to the law and to religion.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting to you, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, scholar and jurist, Kenneth Robert Handley, and I invite you to confer the degree upon him.