The Hon Justice Andrew Bell becomes next Chief Justice of NSW

The Hon Justice Andrew Bell becomes next Chief Justice of NSW

4 months ago

The Hon Justice Andrew Bell, in College 1985-89, Fellow 2004-11, has become the state’s Chief Justice following Chief Justice Tom Bathurst AC who stepped down on 5 March. It is customary for the NSW Chief Justice to also be appointed Lieutenant Governor an office that was established by Governor Phillip on 7 February 1788 with the appointment of Major Robert Ross who was succeeded by Major Francis Grose in 1792 who was granted the land on which the College stands today, Grose Farm.

Andrew was appointed President of the Court of Appeal in 2019 after a career as a leading Sydney barrister. He has a long association with the College and won University Medals in Law and Arts. He became Rhodes Scholar for New South Wales in 1990 and topped the Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford in his year, before earning his doctorate from Oxford the following year. He joined the Bar in 1995, took silk in 2006 and served as Senior Vice President of the NSW Bar Association. When a Fellow of St Paul’s he was Deputy Chairman of Council 2010-13.

In 2018 Andrew commissioned and gave to the College the monumental red sculpture by Ayako Saito, Heaven’s Door, which forms the centrepiece of the Third Quad between the Ivan Head Building and the McMillan Building.

The first Chief Justice of NSW was The Hon Sir Francis Forbes appointed in 1823. The third Chief Justice was The Hon Sir Alfred Stephen GCMG CB PC, appointed in 1844, who was a ‘founding father’ and first chairman of St Paul’s College (see Alan Atkinson, Hearts and Minds 2017 Ch 4).

Paul’s has a deep history of producing alumni who serve the greater good of society across all walks of life. Apart from many serving justices today Pauline Chief Justices have included: The Hon Robert Pring, in College 1870, Acting Chief Justice 1918-19; The Hon Sir Philip Street KCMG, in College 1881-82, Chief Justice 1925-34; The Hon Sir Kenneth Street KCMG, in College 1908-10, Chief Justice 1950-60; The Rt Hon Sir Dudley Williams PC KBE, in College 1909-11, Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia 1952; and The Hon Sir Alan Mansfield KCMG KCVO CBE, in College 1920-23, Chief Justice of Queensland 1956-66.

The College offers its very warm congratulations and best wishes to Justice Bell on his appointment to the highest judicial office in the State.

Pic: in August 2020 the Warden and Justice Andrew Bell with HE The Hon Margaret Beazley AC, Governor of NSW and Mr Dennis Wilson viewing Andrew’s gift, the sculpture “Heavens Door”.