QLS remembers the great contribution of leading legal light – former Justice Martin Moynihan
5 April 2017
Queensland this week lost one of its most celebrated and leading legal minds with the passing of former Supreme Court Justice Martin Moynihan, AO.
Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth paid tribute to Mr Moynihan – saying he was one of Queensland’s finest legal leaders and one of the nation’s most respected lawyers.
“It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Mr Moynihan -- one the legal professions true leading lights,’’ Ms Smyth said.
“His passing is a great loss to the profession and I would like to pass on my sympathies to his family –who will no doubt be in thoughts of those who knew Mr Moynihan, worked alongside him, appeared before him and remember him with great fondness and admiration.’’
Mr Moynihan, 76, passed away surrounded by family on Sunday.
Ms Smyth noted Mr Moynihan – the son of barrister and acting Supreme Court Judge Nicholas Moynihan -- was born into one of Queensland’s most famous legal families and was admitted to the Bar in February 1965.
He took silk in November 1980 and was appointed a Justice of Queensland Supreme Court in February 1984.
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.
His most celebrated protégé is the newly appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia Susan Kiefel – our nation’s first female appointee to the most senior judicial office in the land, who began her legal career as his secretary.
He also garnered national and international acknowledgement for his role in landmark changes to the entitlement of indigenous Australians as the presiding judge in the famous Mabo land rights case.
Mr Moynihan also served as president of the Industrial Court, 1986-93, Supreme Court senior judge administrator, 1991-2007, awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in June 2002.
After retiring from the bench in August 2007, he served as chairperson and chief executive officer of the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, 2010-11.
A funeral service to celebrate his life is scheduled to be held at St Brigid’s Catholic Church, at Red Hill, at 2pm Friday (April 7).