Our Team

Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG


Michael Kirby was a solicitor and barrister before being appointed to judicial office in 1975.

He served as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84); President of the NSW Court of Appeal (1984-96); and eventually (1996 -2009) , as a Justice of the High Court, Australia’s federal supreme court. He was also President of the Solomon Islands Court of Appeal (1994-5). Following judicial retirement, he has undertaken many tasks for universal human rights, including LGBTIQ rights.

He was a commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011-2); chaired a UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea (2013-4) and cochaired the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (2018-21). He is patron of many worthy causes and has received many honours and university doctorates.

When marriage equality belatedly reached Australia, he and his partner, Johan van Vloten, married on the very day they had met at the ‘Bottoms Up Bar’ in Kings Cross Sydney, exactly 50 years earlier. Johan served as an Ankali providing support and assistance to people living with AIDS and he helps to keep Michael’s feet planted firmly on the ground. Michael Kirby and Johan are co-patrons of the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation and Michael is a Patron of the Victorian Pride Centre and of Qtopia, Sydney’s Gay Museum.

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