Courage as a Legal Virtue
Our keynote speaker, The Honourable Justice François Kunc, was appointed to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in April 2013 and sits in the Equity Division. After graduating with degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney, he practised as a solicitor with Allen Allen and Hemsley from 1986. He was called to the Bar in 1992, and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2007. He was a leader of the commercial bar appearing in courts throughout Australia for major government, corporate and individual clients.
An inaugural member and past president of the Law and Literature Association of Australia, Justice Kunc has had a long-term interest in law, language and literature. He was a member of the specialist committee which wrote the Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals under the aegis of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity.
Justice Kunc is currently the General Editor of The Australian Law Journal and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Equity. Outside of the law he is the Chairman of the Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation and a director of the Opera Australia Capital Fund.
The Hon Andrew Rogers QC was a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1979 to 1993. From 1987 to 1992, he was the Chief Judge of the court’s commercial division, in which role he introduced innovative procedural changes in the conduct of commercial cases. One of his best-known judgments concerns the piercing of the corporate veil in a case involving an indigenous man who had contracted asbestosis while working for a subsidiary of James Hardie Pty Ltd: Briggs v James Hardie & Co Pty Ltd (1989) 16 NSWLR 549, 567 (Rogers AJA).
From 1992, he oversaw the establishment of the School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University (then University of New England – Northern Rivers), in his role as chair of the University’s Law Advisory Committee. In 1995, he was installed as the first Chancellor of the newly formed Southern Cross University by the Governor of New South Wales, a position he held from 1995 – 1997.
Since his retirement from the bench in 1993, he has worked as a legal consultant for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the law firm Clayton Utz. Until recently, he acted as an international legal consultant, specialising in the areas of arbitration, meditation and dispute resolution, with his expertise spanning relevant legislation in the U.K., U.S., Asia and Europe as well as Australian law. He has served as Chairman, Sole Arbitrator and member of Arbitral Tribunals dealing with claims totalling more than $2 billion in various countries around the world.
His other roles have included as Probity Adviser to the Leighton Group of Companies, Chairman of Audit Quality Review Board Limited, Deputy Chairman of ILSAC, Patron of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (NSW Division) and Patron of the Ted Noffs Foundation since the early 1990s.
In 2015 he was awarded an Order of Australia for distinguished services to the judiciary and to the law, especially reforms to commercial dispute resolution and case management, through contributions to international commercial arbitration and to the community.