The Honourable Catherine Branson, QC receives honorary doctorate from Macquarie University

16 April 2014

One of Australia’s leading legal minds, the Honourable Catherine Branson QC, has received the award of the degree Doctor of Letters honoris causa from Macquarie University, for her services as a passionate advocate and supporter of human rights.

“It is an honour to be awarded an honorary degree by Macquarie University as it celebrates its 50th anniversary jubilee, and its history of valuing scholarship, integrity and empowerment,” said Branson.

Branson received the award at an afternoon graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Arts and Macquarie Law School, where she also presented an occasional address.

“Our new law graduates have been given a very special opportunity today to hear from such a pre-eminent leader in their field,” said Vice-Chancellor, Professor S. Bruce Dowton. “The role Catherine Branson has played in building greater understanding and respect for human rights in Australia has been tremendous, and I am delighted to welcome her into our community.”

Branson is the immediate past President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, a role for which she was commended for her efforts towards the rights of all Australians, particularly those most vulnerable in our society. After assuming this role in 2008, she was also appointed Human Rights Commissioner in 2009.

Prior to this, Branson had practiced as  a barrister being appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1992, from there ascending to the bench of the Federal Court in 1994. Earlier she had held the offices of Crown Solicitor of South Australia and CEO of the Attorney-General’s Department of that State. She had also been a member of the Board of Examiners of the Supreme Court of South Australia, a council member of the University of South Australia, and a Trustee of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust. Even earlier she had been Deputy Chair of the Adelaide Medical Centre for Women and Children and a member of the National Women’s Advisory Council.

Branson graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws, then after briefly teaching at the Adelaide Law School she worked in private practice in the 1970s, before beginning what would become a long and distinguished career in public service in 1976.

She now serves on the Council of the University of Adelaide and is an Adjunct Professor at the Adelaide Law School.

Branson is a former member of the Board of Management of International Development Law Organisation (a governmental organisation based in Rome enjoying observer status at the United Nations), a member of the International Association of Judges, a member of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges and convenor of the latter association’s Human Rights Nexus Working Party.

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Chancellor The Hon Michael Egan AO presents The Hon Catherine Branson QC with her honorary doctorate. Credit: Dermot Walsh

Chancellor The Hon Michael Egan AO presents The Hon Catherine Branson QC with her honorary doctorate. Credit: Dermot Walsh

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