Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 08/04/1974 - 31/07/1990
Alan Victor Maxwell, known as Victor, was born on 1 July 1922 at Sydney, New South Wales, the son of Allan Victor Maxwell, who was a Supreme Court Judge from 1934 to 1956, and his wife Sadie Margaret nee Lawler. Alan Victor Maxwell was educated at Knox Grammar School, Sydney Church of England Grammar School, and the University of Sydney (LLB 1949). (1)
During World War II, Maxwell served in the militia initially and later enlisted in the Australian Army on 17 July 1942 at Perth, Western Australia. At the time of his discharge on 22 February 1946 he was a Major with the 55/53 Australian Infantry Battalion. In 1945 his unit was sent to New Britain province, New Guinea, and he was seconded to sit as president of the War Crimes Tribunal at Rabaul. From 1954 to 1961 he was a member of the Australian Army Legal Corps with the rank of Major. (2)
After his discharge from the Army in 1946, Maxwell studied law at the University of Sydney. He was also a Clerk Associate to Justice Colin George Watt Davidson in 1946-1947 and to Acting Justice Stanley Vere Toose in 1949. Maxwell was called to the New South Wales Bar on 28 October 1949. He practised extensively in the Common Law jurisdiction and his chambers were at 150 Phillip Street. He was a Council member of the NSW Bar Association from 1950/51 to 1957/58. He was made a Queen's Counsel in 1968. (3)
Alan Victor Maxwell was appointed a Judge of the New South Wales Supreme Court on 8 April 1974. He presided mainly in the Common Law jurisdiction and at a number of notable criminal trials, including that of the 'Croatian Six' tried for conspiracy to make explosive devices with an intent to injury property and endanger people (1980), the murderers of Anita Cobby (1987), and the trial of Manly hotelier Andrew Kalajzich for the contract murder of his wife (1988). Maxwell retired from the Supreme Court on 31 July 1990. (4)
Maxwell was a member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences during the 1970s and 1980s. In his youth he had been a national athlete, being the holder of the Australian Junior record for the 120 and 220 yards hurdles in 1940. (5)
Maxwell died on 6 June 1997 at Sydney, survived by his wife Mora Massie nee Dunlop, whom he married on 28 June 1950, and one son and two daughters. (6)
1. Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, 1971, p.664; 1974, p.720; 1977, p.762; 1980, p.590; 1983, p.598; 1985, p.594; 1991, pp.826-7; 1994, p.1024; 1997, p.1096; University of Sydney Calendar, 1943-47 Exam results, pp.161, 254, 257, 370, 372-376; 1952 Supplement, p.373, http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 27 May and 19 June 2008).
2. 'Maxwell, Alan Victor', Department of Veterans Affairs World War 2 Nominal Roll http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/script/veteran.asp?ServiceID=A&VeteranID=219804 (cited 12 August 2008); Who's Who in Australia, op. cit.; Australian Law Journal, Vol.64, p.521 (August 1990); Anabel Dean, 'Career that began with a death sentence', Sydney Morning Herald, 25 August 1990, p.23.
3. New South Wales Law Almanac, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1946, p.40; 1947, p.42; 1950, pp.57, 63; 1952, p.57; 1953, p.61; 1954, p.65; 1955, p.67; 1956, p.68; 1957, p.68; 1958, p.68; New South Wales Government Gazette, No.226, 16 December 1949, p.3736; Barrister and Solicitors Admission Boards; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 17 February 1927 - 10 June 1955; Reel 2147, p.29; Australian Law Journal, Vol.48, p.220 (April 1974).
4. Australian Law Journal, op.cit.; Anabel Dean, op.cit.; New South Wales Law Reports, Sydney, Law Book Company Ltd, 1974, Vol.1, p.xxi; Vol.20, 1990-91, p.ix.
5. Who's Who in Australia 1991, Melbourne, Information Australia, 1990, pp.826-7.
6. Sydney Morning Herald, death notice 9 June 1997; Anabel Dean, 'Legal lights farewell a judge and nice fellow', Sydney Morning Herald, 19 June 1997, p.7; Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.