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Practice Summary

The Honourable James Spigelman AC QC served as Chief Justice of New South Wales, Australia’s largest state, from 1998 until the end May 2011. In July, 2013 he was appointed a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

After his retirement as Chief Justice he joined One Essex Court, The Temple, London as an arbitrator. He has since been appointed Chair of panels with seats in London (x6), Singapore (x3), Dubai, Sydney (x2) and Perth, as an umpire in Singapore, as sole arbitrator in one case in Singapore and one case in Melbourne, and in two, related, disputes in Sydney and to determine a privilege issue in a NAFTA arbitration. He has also been a party appointed arbitrator on five panels in London, five panels in Singapore and panels in Sydney, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Frankfurt, the Court of Arbiration for Sport and in two ICSID and two UNCITRAL investment treaty cases. 

From 1972 James Spigelman was Senior Advisor and Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of Australia, before appointment as Permanent Secretary of the Department of Media in 1975. He was a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission from 1976 to 1979. He commenced practice at the NSW Bar in 1980.  He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1986. He was acting Solicitor General of New South Wales in 1997. He has served on the boards and as chair of a number of cultural and educational institutions. 

James Spigelman is the author of three books, co-author of a fourth and of some 170 published articles, including on a range of aspects of commercial and corporate law such as contractual interpretation, insurance law, commercial arbitration, insolvency, international commercial litigation, freezing orders and proof of foreign law. Three volumes of his speeches as Chief Justice have been published.