Acting Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 04/06/1990 - 3/08/1990, 01/07/1991 - 30/08/1991
Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 04/07/1994 - 08/03/1999
Vince Bruce was born on 6 December 1942, at Sydney, the son of Vince and Eileen Bruce. He was educated at Sydney Technical High School; Lyons High School, New York, USA, (1960-1961); and the University of Sydney (LLB 1965). He attended school in New York as one of the first Australians to take part in the AFS (American Field Service) Exchange Scheme, established in Australia in 1959. (1)
While at University, Bruce was a law clerk from 1963 to 1964 with Alan Ritchie of Ritchie and Arnold, Solicitors, Sydney. From 1964 to 1965 he was an Associate to Sir Garfield Barwick, the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. Resuming his articles under Hugh Jamieson with Allen, Allen and Hemsley, Solicitors, of Sydney he was called to the New South Wales Bar on 9 February 1968. He practised from 174 Phillip Street, mainly in equity and commercial law. He became a Queen's Counsel on 13 October 1982 and his practice included a number of important building cases. As a result he became interested in resolving disputes through other means. He was admitted to the Bars of the Australian Capital Territory (by 1980), Papua New Guinea (by 1981) and Victoria and South Australia (by 1992). (2)
Bruce was active in legal organisations. He was a director of the Counsel Chambers Ltd (2 September 1987 to 4 July 1994); the Barristers Superannuation Pty Ltd (1981-1994); and the Barristers Sickness and Accident Fund Pty Ltd (1975-1994, Chairman 1992-1994). He was Executive Director of the National Disputes Centre (1993-1994), established by Counsel Chambers Ltd. From 1994 to 1997 he was Chairman of the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales. (3)
Bruce was an Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on two occasions: 4 June to 3 August 1990 and 1 July to 30 August 1991. He was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court on 4 July 1994. His performance as a judge was criticised by a Judicial Commission which reported on 15 May 1998 and on 25 June 1998 the New South Wales Legislative Council voted not to remove him. He resigned on 8 March 1999. (4)
Bruce was active in his community. He was president of the Asthma Foundation of New South Wales from 1996 to 2001 when he resigned due to ill health. He was chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the New South Wales Rugby League from 1992 to 1994 and in 1992 was chairman of the League's Draft Appeals Committee. He was an arbitrator of the Olympic Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) from 1996. Court members have a four year term. (5)
Bruce is married, with two sons and a daughter. (6)
1. Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, 1985, p.136; 1990, p.215; 1994, p.268; 1997, p.286; 1999, p.300; 2002, p.325; Australian Law Journal, Vol.69, p.185 (March 1995); University of Sydney Calendar, 1966, p.1125; 1967, p.936, http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 30 June and 10 August 2008).
2. Australian Law Journal, op.cit.; Barrister and Solicitors Admission Boards; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 29 July 1955 - 28 July 1972; Reel 2147, p.33; New South Wales Law Almanac, Sydney, NSW Govt Printer, 1969, p.93; 1980, p.110; 1981, p.92; 1992, pp.2, 42.
3. Who's Who in Australia, op.cit; Australian Law Journal, op.cit..
4. New South Wales Law Reports, Sydney, Law Book Company Ltd, Vol.20, 1990-1991, p.ix; Vol.25, 1990-1992, p.ix; Vol.35, 1994-1995, p.ix; Vol.49, 1999-2000, p.ix; Parliament of New South Wales. Legislative Council, Hansard, 27 May 1998, pp.5206-8; 2 June 1998, pp.5502-5506; 25 June 1998, pp.6525-6588, http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/web/common.nsf/V3HHBListDate?open&yr=1998 (cited 22 September 2008).
5. Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.; Asthma Foundation of NSW, Annual Report, 2001, p.2, http://www.asthmansw.org.au/assets/265/File/AFNSW_Annual_Report_01.pdf (cited 19 September 2008); Cynthia Banham, 'From slow to go: judge steps on the gas', Sydney Morning Herald 24 August 2000, p.6.
6. Who's Who in Australia, op.cit..