In conversation with the Honourable Ian Callinan AC

Kiel-Chisholm, Scott D. (2014) In conversation with the Honourable Ian Callinan AC. Intellectual Property Forum, 2014(97), pp. 7-15.

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When, in 1977, the Australian electorate provided a double majority to effect a change of section 72 of the Commonwealth Constitution requiring judges of the High Court of Australia to retire at the age of 70 years old, I doubt we understood the continuing capacity of these esteemed members of the judiciary. For the opportunity to sit and talk with Ian Callinan AC who, in compliance with that amendment, retired from the High Court in September 2007, I needed to wait until he returned from The Hague where he was sitting as a Judge ad hoc on the International Court of Justice.

Although a native of Casino, New South Wales, Mr Callinan is regarded as a Queenslander. Indeed, he grew up in Brisbane, finished high school at Brisbane Grammar and graduated in law at The University of Queensland. Appointed in 1978 as a Queen’s Counsel, Mr Callinan enjoyed this period of his legal career and we discussed an aspect of the Christopher Skase case, which reinforced my belief that Mr Callinan is an incredibly skilful advocate.

On 14 September 1998, ABC Four Corners broadcasted the views of some prominent Australians on the appointment of Mr Callinan to the High Court. In assessing the type of person Mr Callinan is, Tony Morris QC said: “Ian Callinan isn't a coward”, while former Commonwealth Attorney-General, Michael Lavarch, said: “He was regarded as an absolutely outstanding criminal lawyer within the Queensland legal profession, I mean really a top-notch advocate”.

I was not interested in raising any of the controversial issues that Mr Callinan has encountered as an advocate in high profile matters. I wanted to know how he felt about his time on the High Court, what his thoughts are on the operation of the High Court, the IP cases he decided, the real life issues that he feels impact on counsel who are appearing before the High Court and the people he regarded as role models. During our conversation, Mr Callinan laughed often and when he did his eyes lit up, revealing his passion for life.

He is an incredibly genuine Australian who loved his time as a barrister, enjoyed his role on the High Court, enjoys his current job as mediator, loves writing novels, has a great desire for continual improvement in the quality of legal education and legal advocacy and sees a need for change in IP law.

When I asked: “So, what might the future hold for you?”, he laughed and said: “Well, at my age I don’t have a long horizon time”. I said: “Just enjoy the journey?”, to which Mr Callinan responded: “Exactly”.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 73135
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Ian Callinan AC, Interview, High Court of Australia, Intellectual Property Cases, Civil Law System, Common Law System
ISSN: 0815-2098
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Civil Law and Procedure (180104)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Intellectual Property Law (180115)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > International Law (excl. International Trade Law) (180116)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Legal Institutions (incl. Courts and Justice Systems) (180120)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Scott Kiel-Chisholm
Copyright Statement: Contributors grant to the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc a non-exclusive, irrevocable, perpetual licence to publish their articles on-line in the form as published in the Journal, for services,including but not limited to libraries and educational institutions, as approved by the Society from time to time.
Deposited On: 30 Jun 2014 22:24
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2014 21:55

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