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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 of May 2011. From 2013 to 2020, he was a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

After his retirement as Chief Justice he joined One Essex Court, Temple, London as an arbitrator. He has since been appointed Chair of panels with seats in London (x6), Singapore (x6), Dubai, Sydney (x2), Perth and ICSID, as an umpire in Singapore, as sole arbitrator in one case in Singapore, one case in Melbourne, two related disputes in Sydney, to determine a privilege issue in a NAFTA arbitration and as mediator in an Australian/UK dispute. He has also been a party appointed arbitrator in London (x5), Singapore (x6), Sydney (x2), Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Frankfurt, The Hague, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and investment treaty cases at ICSID (6) and the PCA (2).

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 of a number of cultural and educational institutions, including as Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Library of Australia, the Australian Film Finance Corporation and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

James Spigelman is the author of three books, co-author of a fourth and of some 180 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.