When he retired from Australia’s highest court in February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge. First appointed to the High Court in 1996, he had previously been a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal and concurrently, the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands. He twice served as Acting Chief Justice of Australia. Michael Kirby is one of Australia’s most admired public figures. He has been appointed Honorary Visiting Professor by twelve universities, and has been awarded many honorary doctorates.
Michael Kirby was a member of the Eminent Persons Group (2010-11) which investigated the future of the Commonwealth of Nations; and was appointed to the UNDP Global Commission of HIV and the Law (2010-12). In 2013, he was appointed a Commissioner of the UNAIDS Commission on Sustainable Health (2013-14). He has also been appointed by the President of the UN Human Rights Council, to head the Commission of Inquiry on Alleged Human Rights Violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (2013-14).
Michael is passionate about human rights and the rights of sexual minorities. He is the author of numerous books including, What Would Gandhi Do? (2013), A Private Life: Fragments, Memories, Friends (2012) and Through The World’s Eye (2000), as well as the subject of books written by others such as, Daryl Dellora’s Michael Kirby: Law, Love and Life (2012) and A. J. Brown’s Michael Kirby Paradoxes and Principles (2011)
Michael Kirby has lived with his partner Johan van Vloten since 1969.