The Honourable Justice Elizabeth Evatt AO



Mr Chancellor, 

Over the past twenty years the status of women in Australia and throughout many parts of the world has been greatly enhanced. This has occurred in part because of the high achievements of particular women, in part because of institutional changes to protect human rights, especially those of women. Elizabeth Evatt has been both a high achiever and a central figure in promoting change in law and practice. 

In 1955 she was the first woman to receive a University Medal in Law from The University of Sydney. The following year she received her LLM from Harvard. She has been a Member of the New South Wales Bar since 1955 and a Member of the Inner Temple since 1958. 
In 1973 Elizabeth Evatt was appointed Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. From 1974-77 she was Chair of the Royal Commission on Human Relations and from 1984-92 was a Member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, chairing that committee over the years 1989-91. 

Other distinguished achievements include membership of an Advisory Committee for the Australian National University's Peace Research Centre, Chair of the Family Law Council 1976-79, membership of the Board of Pearl Watson Foundation since 1985, Chair of Arts Law 1985-88, membership of the Board of the Australian Institute of Family Studies 1989, Vice-President of the H. V. Evatt Memorial Foundation 1982-87, and membership of the Macquarie University Council 1979-85. Since 1988 she has been Chancellor of the University of Newcastle. 

To highlight one particular contribution is not easy, but Australians owe her a special debt of gratitude for her work as ChiefJudge of the Family Court of Australia from 1976-88 when she pioneered the conciliatory no-fault concept of divorce which set an example to the whole world when she published A Guide to Family Law. 

Mr Chancellor, for her outstanding contribution to the law and to public life in Australia, especially in the area of human rights, I present to you The Honourable Justice Elizabeth Andreas Evatt, Officer of the Order of Australia, Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney, Master of Laws, Harvard University, Honorary Doctor of Laws, Sydney and Macquarie Universities, for conferral of the award of Doctor of Laws honoris causa to which she has been admitted by the Senate of the University.


Doctor of Laws honoris causa