QLS celebrates the life of the man who mentored Chief Justice Kiefel

The Queensland Law Society paid tribute to former Supreme Court Justice Martin Moynihan AO, who died on Sunday. He was 76.

“He was a man before his time in many ways, as a lawyer he was renowned for mentoring young lawyers at a time when it was not fashionable. This was especially the case in his promotion of women in the legal profession,” the Law Society said in a statement.

Moynihan’s best known protégé is Susan Kiefel, the newly appointed and first ever woman chief justice of the High Court of Australia, who began her career as his secretary.

Christine Smyth, Law Society president, said that Moynihan was “one of the legal profession’s true leading lights.”

The son of barrister and acting Supreme Court Judge Nicholas Moynihan, he was born into one of the state’s most renowned legal families, Smyth said. Moynihan was admitted to the Bar in February 1965, took silk in November 1980, and was appointed justice of Queensland Supreme Court in February 1984.

Moynihan presided over the landmark Mabo land rights case, which resulted in changes to the entitlement of indigenous Australians.

He also served as the president of the Industrial Court from 1986 to 1993 and as the Supreme Court senior judge administrator from 1991 to 2007. He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in June 2002.

His funeral service will be held at St Brigid’s Catholic Church at Red Hill, at 2pm Friday.

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