Ninian Stephen

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"Sir Ninian Stephen was Governor-General of Australia from 1982 until 1989. Born at Nettlebed in Oxfordshire, he migrated to Australia in 1940. He completed his education at Scotch College in Melbourne before joining the Australian Imperial Force, where he served until 1946. He completed his law degree at the University of Melbourne in 1949, was admitted to the Bar in 1952 and was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1966, specialising in taxation and constitutional law. Boasting a distinguished judicial career, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1972 before he moved to the High Court of Australia in 1972, serving as a Justice of this court until 1982.

"Upon the conclusion of his term as Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen was appointed the first Australian Ambassador for the Environment, in which he worked towards a mining ban in Antarctica. In 1991, he became the Chairman of the second strand of the Northern Ireland peace talks. He then moved onto work with the United Nations, as a judge of the International Criminal Tribunals, investigating war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Sir Ninian Stephen also headed an Expert Group, investigating the possibilities of trialling former Khmer Rouge leaders. He was a legal advisor to South Africa in their transition from apartheid, joined a Commonwealth mission to Bangladesh and investigated labour conditions in Burma with the International Labour Organisation

"Sir Ninian Stephen has been the recipient of numerous accolades. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1979, given the Legion D’Honneur in 1983 and granted a knighthood of the Order of Australia in 1982. He also received a knighthood in the Order of the Garter in 1994." [1]

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  1. Patrons, Lawyers Beyond Borders, accessed March 23, 2011.