Elizabeth Andreas Evatt

The Honourable Justice, AC

Born
1933
Occupation
Barrister, Commissioner, Judge, Lawyer and Solicitor
Jurisdiction

Elizabeth Evatt was the first Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and the first woman to preside in an Australian Federal Court.

Elizabeth Evatt studied Law at the University of Sydney and at Harvard Law School. A Barrister-at-law at Inner Temple and the New South Wales Bar, her legal career began in England where she was a barrister and editor of the International and Comparative Law Quarterly. In 1968 she was invited to join Lord Scarman at the English Law Commission where she worked for five years.

Evatt was Deputy President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission from 1973-76, before becoming the first Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia (1976-1988). From 1988-1993 she was president of the Australian Law Reform Commission, and Chancellor of the University of Newcastle from 1988-1994.

Between 1984-1992, Evatt was a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, serving as Chair of the Committee from 1989-1991. She was a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee from 1993-2000, and was a part time Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission from 1995-1998.

Evatt is currently a judge of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal; a Visiting Professor at the University of New South Wales; and Chair of the Board of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Sydney. She has for many years been a member of the Australian section of the International Commission of Jurists, and was elected as a Commissioner in April 2003. A niece of former Labor leader Dr H. V. Evatt, Elizabeth Evatt is a Life Member of the Evatt Foundation, and served as Vice-President from 1982-1987.

Sources used to compile this entry: Address delivered by Justice Elizabeth Evatt, Chief Judge, Family Court of Australia, at the National Press Club, Canberra, 24 September, 1980, 24 September 1980, ORAL TRC 812/B; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ); National Library of Australia Oral History Collection; Addresses given by Justice Elizabeth Evatt, 1 Sep 1973 - 31 Aug 1990, Series M3708; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ), Elizabeth Evatt; National Archives of Australia, National Office; Elizabeth Evatt interviewed by Daniel Connell in the Law in Australian society oral history project [sound recording], 1996, ORAL TRC 3501; National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection; Evatt, Elizabeth, 'Recollections', in Curthoys, A., Martin, A.W., Rowse, Tim (ed.), Australians from 1939, Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates, Broadway, N.S.W., 1987, p. 474; Evatt, Elizabeth (ed.), A Guide to family law : questions and answers to help you make the right decisions, 2 edn, Bay Books, Sydney, 1991, 176 pp; Evatt, Elizabeth, 'The status of women in Asia', in LAWASIA Conference, Indian Ocean Centre for Peace Studies, Nedlands, W.A., 18 September 1991, p. 20; Evatt, Elizabeth, Valuing women's work : women, equality and family law reform, Anne Conlon memorial lecture, New South Wales Women's Advisory Council, NSW Women's Advisory Council, Haymarket, NSW, 19 July 1991; Evatt, Elizabeth, Review of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984, Office of the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Australia, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Canberra, 1996, 379 pp; Evatt, Elizabeth, National implementation : the cutting edge of international human rights law, Australian National University, Centre for International and Public Law., Federation Press in association with the Centre for International and Public Law, Australian National University, NSW, 1999, 32 pp; Files created by Justice Alastair Bothwick Nicholson as Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, 5 Jan 1975 - 1 Feb 1988, Series M3819; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ); National Archives of Australia, National Office; Files created by Justice Elizabeth Evatt as Chancellor of Newcastle University, 29 Apr 1988 - 10 Nov 1993, Series M3656; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ), Elizabeth Evatt; National Archives of Australia, National Office; Files created by Justice Elizabeth Evatt as President of the Australian Law Reform Commission, 5 Jan 1988 - 10 Nov 1993, Series M3681; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ), Elizabeth Evatt; National Archives of Australia, National Office; Interview with Hon. Justice Elizabeth Evatt, 13 September 1996 - , Law in Australian society oral history project, Bib ID 2710506, ORAL TRC 3501; Daniel Connell; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection; Kerwin, Hollie and Rubenstein, Kim, 'Law', in The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, Judith Smart and Shurlee Swain (eds), Australian Women's Archives Project, 2014, http://www.womenaustralia.info/leaders/biogs/WLE0624b.htm; Magarey, Kirsty, Genital mutilation : a health and human rights issue, Briefing paper (Australian Development Studies Network) ; no. 18., Elizabeth Evatt, Australian Development Studies Network, Canberra, 1990, 13 pp; 'Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933-)', Trove, National Library of Australia, 2009, http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-463286; Personal correspondence files, 7 Dec 1973 - 22 Sep 1993, Series M3688; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ), Elizabeth Evatt; National Archives of Australia, National Office; Personal papers relating to family law matters, 5 Jan 1976 - 5 Jan 1988, Series M3654; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ), Elizabeth Evatt; National Archives of Australia, National Office; Records created by Justice Elizabeth Evatt as Chairman of the Royal Commission into Human Relationships, 21 Aug 1974 - 31 Dec 1980, Series M3655; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ), Elizabeth Evatt; National Archives of Australia, National Office; Royal Commission on Human Relationships (Australia) (ed.), Royal Commission on Human Relationships: official transcript of proceedings, Elizabeth Evatt, Commonwealth Reporting Service, Sydney, 1976; Royal Commission on Human Relationships (Australia), Final report. Royal Commission on Human Relationships., Elizabeth Evatt, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1977; Smart, Judith and Swain, Shurlee (eds), 'Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas', The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, Australian Women's Archives Project, 2 May 2014, http://www.womenaustralia.info/leaders/biogs/WLE0356b.htm; Swain, Shurlee, Born in hope : the early years of the Family Court of Australia, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2012; Working papers of Justice Elizabeth Evatt, April 1989 - December 1991, Series C5031; Evatt, Elizabeth Andreas (1933 - ), Elizabeth Evatt; National Archives of Australia, National Office; http://www.hcourt.gov.au/speeches/gaudronj/gaudronj_wlansw.html.

Prepared by Barbara Lemon