The Federal Court has released the first two of a number of oral history podcasts entitled “Lives and Times of Judges of the Federal Court of Australia.”

The podcasts are the work of noted writer, arts journalist and podcaster Fiona Gruber who has conducted interviews with prominent former judges of the Federal Court.

Ms Gruber has so far completed interviews with the Honourable MEJ Black AC KC and the Honourable WMC Gummow AC KC and will shortly interview the Honourable Robert French AC, the Honourable James Allsop AC SC and the Honourable Susan Kenny AM KC. All ten podcasts – of 30-to-40-minute duration – are planned over the next year. The link to the completed podcasts appears below.

The interviews cover the career of the subject before, during and after their incumbency as a Federal Court Judge. Subjects include notable cases, judgments, and the pathways taken to a career in the law, including childhood, education and mentorship.

More broadly, they deal with the creation and operation of the Federal Court, the politics of the times and political and social changes that have affected the working environment.

The Federal Court began as an entirely new court in January 1977 and its jurisdiction has continued to expand with the increase of Commonwealth legislative activity. It started with just 18 judges and currently has 54.

Federal Court Chief Justice Debbie Mortimer said it was critically important that the voices and memories of former judges were recorded so current and future generations can understand and reflect upon decisions made at particular points in history.

Link to podcasts