Governor of New South Wales 1/3/1996-28/2/2001
Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales 20/11/1972-23/3/1992
Judge of Court of Appeal 12/8/1974-23/3/1992
Acting Judge of Appeal Supreme Court of New South Wales 23/3/1992-7/4/1993
Chancellor of University of New South Wales 1976-1994
Chairman NSW Law Reform Commission 1993-1996
Chairman Board of Governors Law Foundation NSW 1992-1993
Chairman Australian Legal Education Council 1981-1985
President Council of Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences 1974-1976
President of the NSW Bar Association 1971-1972
Vice-President of the NSW Bar Association 1967-1970
President of the Australian Society of Legal Philosophy
Member of the NSW Bar Association
Chairman NSW Migrant Employment and Qualifications Board 1992-1995
Presiding Member Independent Advisory Committee Educational Needs Overseas Trained Doctors1990-1995
Gordon Jacob Samuels was born 12 August 1923 in London. He was educated at University College School and Balliol College, Oxford, graduating with a Master of Arts. After completing his education he served as a Captain 96th (Royal Devon Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery, in Northern Ireland, India and Malaya from 1942-1946.(1)
Samuels was called to the English Bar Inner Temple on 7 November 1948.(2) In 1949 Samuels emigrated to Australia and was called to the New South Wales Bar on 14 March 1952 'and soon earned a reputation not only as a lawyer of great scholarship but also, by all accounts, as a brilliant young advocate'.(3)
Gordon Samuels married Jacqueline Kott 4 April 1957 and the couple had two daughters. Samuels was appointed a Queen's Counsel in New South Wales in 1964, and in Victoria in 1965.
Samuels was Vice-President of the New South Wales Bar Association from 1967-1970 and President from 1971-1972.(4) Samuels was also a President of the Australian Society of Legal Philosophy. From 20 November 1972 until 23 March 1992 Samuels was a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. From 12 August 1974 until 23 March 1992, Samuels was also a Judge of the Court of Appeal. From 23 March 1992 until 7 April 1993, Samuels was an Acting Judge Court of Appeal Supreme Court of NSW.(5) Upon his retirement from the bench in 1993, Samuels became a Board Member of the Law Foundation (1993-Sep1994) and Chairman of the Law Reform Commission of New South Wales (30/6/1993-2/4/1996) (6), 'a position he resigned to devote his time and skills to his new role as Governor of New South Wales'.(7) Samuels was a part-time Commissioner from 2001.
Interwoven with his legal career was an involvement with and commitment to education. Samuels was the Challis Lecturer Pleading at the University of Sydney from 1964-70. Samuels was elected to the University of New South Wales Council in 1969, serving on the Council from 1969 until 1994, and became the University's longest serving Chancellor, being Chancellor from 1976-1994. In 1989 Samuels successfully led the campaign against the proposal by the New South Wales Minister for Education to merge the University of New South Wales into a state-wide university with a number of colleges of advanced education.(8)
Samuels was involved with many educational bodies including: President Council of Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences 1974-1976; Chairman Australian Legal Education Council 1981-1985 (and a member since 1977); Presiding Member Independent Advisory Committee Educational Needs Overseas Trained Doctors 1990-1995; and Chairman NSW Migrant Employment and Qualifications Board 1992-1995 (a member since 1989).
Samuels received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Sydney University, and an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of New South Wales in 1994.
Gordon Samuels was the Governor of New South Wales from 1 March 1996 to 28 February 2001.(9)
Samuels was made a Companion of the Order of Australia on 8 June 1987 (10), Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 2000, and was a recipient of the Centenary Medal in 2003.
Samuels has been a distinguished leader of the community, including being patron of the following: Sorry Day, MS Society of New South Wales, Australian Legal Resources International, NSW Justices’ Association and a trustee of Currency House Incorporated- a non-profit association designed to provide a resource centre for the performing arts.
Samuels died on 10 December 2007.(11)
Who's Who in Australia 2004, XXXX Edition, Crown Content, Nth Melbourne, 2004, p.1777
(1) The Chancellors of the University New South Wales http://info.library.unsw.edu.au/archives/about/archexhibit.html accessed 20.5.2004
(2) NSW Law Almanac 1969
(3) Legislative Council Hansard Article No.6 of 16 April 1996; Barrister and Solicitors Admission Boards; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 17 February 1927 - 10 June 1955; Reel 2147, p.35.
(4) List of Bar Council Members from 1902-2003 http://www.nswbar.asn.au/Public/About%20us/bchistory.htm accessed 21.5.2004
(5) NSW Law Almanac 2000 p.60 and 65
(6) Law Foundation Annual Report 1993 p.62; Law Foundation Annual Report 1994 p.58; Law Foundation Annual Report 1995 p.10; and Law Reform Commission Annual Report 1993 p.17
(7) Legislative Assembly Hansard Article No.25 of 16 April 1996
(8) The Chancellors of the University New South Wales http://info.library.unsw.edu.au/archives/about/archexhibit.html accessed 20.5.2004
(9) Circular No.96-3, NSW Government Gazette 9 Feb 1996
(10) It's An Honour Website http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/ accessed 21.5.2004.
(11) Sydney Morning Herald, 13 December 2007, p.22; UNSWorld, May/June 2008, Issue 8, p.8.