Justice Stephen Rothman, AM

(Supreme Court of NSW)

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THE HONOURABLE JUSTICE STEPHEN ROTHMAN AM commenced practice at the Bar in 1982, was appointed Senior Counsel in 1995, and continued to work as a barrister until 3 May 2005, when he was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

His Honour was a foundation member of Denman Chambers from 1994 until his appointment to the Supreme Court.

Justice Rothman sits in the Common Law Division, as a trial judge in: administrative law (judicial review and appeals on issues of law); contracts; torts; bail appeals; in major crime, usually with a jury; and as a judge of the Court of Criminal Appeal (being appeals from convictions and sentences for all indictable offences).  His Honour chairs the Ngara Yura Committee of the NSW Judicial Commission, which liaises with the Aboriginal community and seeks to educate judicial officers about issues particularly affecting the community.

His Honour’s practice prior to his appointment to the Bench was predominantly in appellate advocacy, in the High Court of Australia and elsewhere, and otherwise he practised in labour law, constitutional law, administrative law and human rights law.

Justice Rothman was, immediately prior to his appointment to the Court, involved in cases concerning the protection of persons applying for refugee status under the immigration laws in Australia and two groundbreaking cases on racial vilification and freedom of speech (Toben and Scully), being cases which determined that Holocaust denial was racial vilification and unlawful.

As counsel, his Honour was a founding member (and International Vice-President) of the International Centre on Trade Union Rights and was selected by the I.L.O. to advise the Soviet Union on human rights and the establishment of free trade unions.  For that purpose his Honour met with and advised Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 and 1988.

Justice Rothman was President of the New South Wales Jewish Board Deputies from 2000 to 2004, and also currently holds or has held a number of other Jewish communal positions.  His Honour continues to act as the Co-Chair of the Australian Council of Jewish Schools, a position he has held since 1994.  His Honour is a Director of the Association of Independent Schools (NSW) and Chair of the board of Fighting Chance, a charity providing employment and other services for the disabled, particularly cerebral palsy sufferers.  His Honour also chairs the advisory board of the Workplace Research Centre, of the University of Sydney, specialising in workplace and industry research for employers, unions and government (including government tribunals).

Justice Rothman was awarded with membership of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2007, for work in the Jewish community.

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