The Honourable Dr Ian Callinan AC QC

Award of Doctor of Laws honoris causa
The Honourable Dr Ian Callinan AC QC


The Honourable Justice Ian Callinan, AC, has had a legal career spanning 47 years during which time he has contributed substantially to the Australian justice system, reaching the eminent position of Justice of the High Court of Australia.

As a playwright, author, avid art enthusiast and active member of the Australian art community, Mr Callinan has also contributed extensively to Australia’s cultural development. Despite his heavy involvement in law and the arts, Mr Callinan has also managed to maintain regular and productive contact with his alma mater, The University of Queensland, particularly through the TC Beirne School of Law. Mr Callinan was
appointed an Adjunct Professor in the School of Law in 2008 and the School devoted the July 2008 issue of The University of Queensland Law Journal to articles about Mr Callinan’s contributions to Australian law. Mr Callinan now serves as Patron of the Friends of Fryer.

The only member of his family to undertake tertiary study, Mr Callinan completed a Bachelor of Laws at UQ in 1960 and practised as a solicitor for five years until being admitted to the Queensland Bar in 1965. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1978 and has been involved in many of Australia’s landmark legal cases. In 1998, he was appointed a Justice of the High Court of Australia, a role from which he retired in 2007.
He was President of the Queensland Bar Association from 1984–87 and President of the Australian Bar Association in 1986.

While at the Bar, Mr Callinan always made time for supporting the arts in Queensland, being Chairman of the Brisbane Community Arts Centre, the Brisbane City Council Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Queensland, and a member of the Australian National Gallery since 2007. Apart from his judicial writings, he has written and had published six novels including The Lawyer and the Libertine, The Missing Masterpiece, and Appointment at
Amalfi – as well as many short stories. He has written several plays four of which have been produced on the Queensland stage.

Immediately upon his retirement from the High Court, he was called back into public service through his appointment to conduct a Commission of Inquiry into the outbreak of equine influenza in Australia. The Federal Government adopted all 38 of his report’s recommendations following its handing-down in June 2008. Throughout his professional career, Mr Callinan has been formally recognised on numerous occasions for his services to the law and the arts, receiving a Centenary Medal in 2001 and being made a Companion of the Order of Australia for his service to the judiciary and the practice of law as well as his service to the arts and the community in 2003.

Chancellor, in recognition of his distinguished career and service to the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland, I present to you The Honourable Justice Ian Callinan (Bachelor of Laws from The University of Queensland) for the award of Doctor of Laws honoris causa bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland.

Honorary award citation


Doctor of Laws honoris causa