• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE5445

Warner, Catherine Ann (Kate)

(1948 – )
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 1 January, 1948, Hobart Tasmania Australia
  • Occupation Academic, Barrister, Commissioner, Governor, Lawyer, Solicitor


Catherine Ann ‘Kate’ Warner AM is an Australian lawyer, legal academic, and the current (2015) Governor of Tasmania. She was sworn in as Tasmania’s twentieth-eighth Governor at Government House on Wednesday 10 December 2014.

In 2017, Kate Warner was made a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia ‘for eminent service to the people of Tasmania through leading contributions to the legal community, particularly to law reform, to higher education as an academic, researcher and publisher, and as a supporter of the arts, and environmental and social justice initiatives’.


Professor Kate Warner was born in Hobart, and attended St Michael’s Collegiate School and the University of Tasmania, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours on 15 April 1970, and with a Master of Laws by research thesis on 7 December 1978. Her LLM thesis focussed on ‘Presentence Psychiatric Reports in Tasmania’.

After graduation, she worked as Associate to (then) Chief Justice of Tasmania Sir Stanley Burbury at the Supreme Court of Tasmania and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1971. Following completion of her LLM thesis in 1978, she commenced her lengthy career as an academic at the University of Tasmania Law School. She was promoted to Lecturer in 1981, to Senior Lecturer in 1989, Associate Professor in 1993, and Professor in 1996.

In 1992, she was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Law and later was appointed Head of the School of Law (the first woman to hold these positions at the University of Tasmania). She was promoted to Professor in 1996 and in 2002 was appointed as foundation Director of the Tasmania Law Reform Institute.

Before her appointment as Governor for the State of Tasmania, Warner was Professor, Faculty of Law, at the University of Tasmania and Director of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute. She had also, in her career at the University, held the positions of Dean, Faculty of Law, and Head of School.

Professor Warner’s teaching interests were in Criminal Law, Evidence, Criminology and Sentencing, and her research interests included Sentencing and Criminal Justice, areas in which she has a significant publications record.

Professor Warner was a Commissioner of the Tasmanian Gaming Commission, with a particular interest in regulation, gaming policy and harm minimisation. She had also been a Member of the Sentencing Advisory Council since 2010, and had assisted with the preparation of the Council’s discussion papers and reports. She was a Member of the Board of Legal Education; a Member of the Council of Law Reporting; and Director, Centre for Legal Studies.

In addition to working with the Tasmania Law Reform Institute on its projects, Professor Warner had been involved in providing advice and submissions on rape law reform, drug diversion and mental health diversion programs and abortion law reform. She also assisted other law reform bodies nationally, including the New South Wales Law Reform Commission and the Australian Law Reform Commission.
As President of the Alcorso Foundation, Her Excellency supports social and cultural advancement in the community through its programs in the Arts, Environment and Social Justice.

Professor Warner has received a number of awards and fellowships, including Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law in 2007; Visiting Fellow All Souls College Oxford in 2009; the University of Tasmania Distinguished Service Medal in 2013; and the Women Lawyers Award for Leadership in 2013. She has been nominated as a finalist in the Tasmanian Australian of the Year Awards for her contributions to the law, law reform and legal education.

On 26 January 2014 Her Excellency was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to the law, particularly in the areas of law reform and education.

Her Excellency is married to Richard Warner, and has two daughters. Richard was the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship in 1999, and is actively involved in the Derwent Valley community. He is a keen horticulturalist, and interested in the re-use of redundant heritage buildings in Tasmania.
She is grandmother to five grandchildren, a passionate gardener, keen bushwalker and occasional cyclist.


Published resources

  • Resource
  • Article
  • Book
    • Sentencing in Tasmania, Warner, K and Davis, J., Henning, T. and Porter, D (eds.), 2002
    • Criminal Process and Human Rights, Gams J, Henning T, Hunter J and Warner K, 2011
  • Book Section
    • Equality Before the Law and Equal Impact of Sanctions: Doing justice to difference in wealth and employment status, Warner, Kate, 2012
  • Journal Article
    • Public judgement on sentencing: Final results from the Tasmanian Jury Sentencing Study, Warner K, Davis J, Walter M, Bradfield R and Vermey R, 2011
    • Using jurors to explore public attitudes to sentencing, Warner, Kate and Davis, J., 2012
    • The Role of Guideline Judgments in the Law and Order Debate, Warner, Kate, 2003
    • Gang Rape in Sydney: Crime, the media, politics, race and sentencing, Warner, Kate, 2004
  • Report
    • Sentencing, Warner, Kate, 2008
  • Site Exhibition

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