Acting Lecturer, Challis Lecturer in Equity, University of Sydney, 1953 - 1961
Acting Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 01/07/1959 - 31/12/1959
Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 21/03/1960 - 07/02/1974
Judge in Probate, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 29/06/1964 - 31/12/1965
Judge of Appeal, Court of Appeal New South Wales, 01/01/1966 - 30/09/1972
President, Court of Appeal, 01/10/1972 - 07/02/1974
Justice, High Court of Australia, 11/02/1974 - 06/04/1979
Kenneth Sydney Jacobs was born on 5 October 1917 at Gordon, Sydney, New South Wales, the son of Albert Sydney Jacobs. He was educated at St John's Preparatory School, Wahroonga; Knox Grammar School, Wahroonga; St Andrews College at the University of Sydney (BA Honours in Latin and Greek 1938, LLB First Class Honours 1947), and the University of London (MA c.2007). He was awarded a Public Exhibition scholarship to the University of Sydney based on his results in the Leaving Certificate examination of November 1934. He won the Arthur Bowman Prize for proficiency in debating awarded by St Andrew's College in 1937 (shared with JL Mackie) and 1938, and was runner-up in 1935 and 1936. He shared with LJ Downer the 1947 University Medal for Law and the John George Dalley Prize for proficiency in the Fourth Year of Law. (1)
Jacobs' studies at University were interrupted by World War II. Completing his second year of law in 1939, he entered third year in 1940 but on 31 May enlisted in the Australian Army. At the time of his discharge on 11 February 1945 he was a Lieutenant with the 2/4th Light Anti aircraft Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery. He saw service in the Middle East in 1942 and New Guinea in 1943, and was appointed an intelligence officer. (2)
Jacobs was admitted to the New South Wales Bar on 14 February 1947. His chambers were at 142 Phillip Street and he practised mainly in Equity, but also in commercial, taxation and constitutional law. He was made a Queen's Counsel in 1958. From 1953 to 1961 he was a part time lecturer at the University of Sydney in Equity, occupying the position of Acting Challis Lecturer in 1953-54 and Challis Lecturer in Equity from 1955 to 1960. He published 'The Law of Trusts in New South Wales' in 1958. (3)
Jacobs was an Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales for six months from July 1959. He was appointed a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court from 21 March 1960. On 29 June 1964 he was made the Judge in Probate and in the same year he was also sitting in Equity. He relinquished these roles when the Court of Appeal was established on 1 January 1966 and he was appointed a Judge of Appeal. On 1 October 1972 he became the President of the Court of Appeal. He resigned from the Supreme Court on 7 February 1974 when he was appointed a Justice of the High Court of Australia starting from 11 February. He retired from the High Court due to ill health on 6 April 1979. (4)
In 1963, Jacobs was asked by Sir Garfield Barwick, the Australian Minister for External Affairs, to take up a position as President of the Supreme Constitutional Court of the new Republic of Cyprus for three years. Although Jacobs accepted and the appointment was announced, an uprising in December meant the Court never sat again. (5)
Jacobs had an interest in politics. He unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for the Legislative Council of New South Wales at the election of 15 September 1955 called to fill two vacancies. (6)
Jacobs was made a Knight Commander (Civil) of the Order of the British Empire on 23 November 1976 for his services to law. He was appointed a Life member of the New South Wales Bar Association on 19 July 1979. On 1 January 2001 he was awarded a Centenary Medal for his service as a Justice of the High Court of Australia. He moved to England circa 1990. On 5 April 1952 he married Eleanor M Stewart nee Neal. They had one daughter. Eleanor died on 12 May 2002 at Wiltshire, England. (7)
1. Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, 1959, p.417; 1962, p.446; 1965, p.447; 1968, pp.464-5; 1971, p.515; 1974, p.554; 1977, p.574; 1980, p.451; 1983, p.450; 1985, p.449; 1990, p.632; 1994, p.793; 2008, p.1115; Tony Blackshield and Mark Mackrell, 'Jacobs, Kenneth Sydney', in The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia, South Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 2001, pp.364-7; 'Kenneth Jacobs - Wikipedia', http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Jacobs (cited 7 August 2008); University of Sydney Calendar, 1935, pp.508, 774; 1936, pp.538-544, 811, 856; 1937, pp.435-6, 440, 501, 680, 726; 1938, pp.405-6, 459-60, 559, 708, 751; 1939, pp.481, 739, 784, 1077; 1940, pp.256, 323; 1943-47, pp. 89 (1944), 163-4 (1945), 259 (1946), http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 27 May 2008).
2. Ibid, 1940, 1943-47; 'Jacobs, Kenneth Sydney', Department of Veterans Affairs World War 2 Nominal Roll, http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/script/veteran.asp?ServiceID=A&VeteranID=142080 (cited 7 August 2008); Tony Blackshield and Mark Mackrell, 'Jacobs, Kenneth Sydney', op.cit.
3. Barrister and Solicitors Admission Boards; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 17 February 1927 - 10 June 1955; Reel 2147, p.24; New South Wales Law Almanac for 1950, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1950, p.62; Tony Blackshield and Mark Mackrell, 'Jacobs, Kenneth Sydney', op.cit.; University of Sydney Calendar, 1953, pp.26, 46; 1954, p.46; 1955, p.693; 1960, p.47; 1961, p.42, op.cit, (cited 7 August 2008).
4. State Reports New South Wales, Sydney, Law Book Company Ltd, Vol.60, p.viii (1960); Vol.64, pp.iv-v (1963-64); Vol.66, p.vi (1965-66); New South Wales Law Reports, Sydney, Law Book Company Ltd, 1972, Vol.1; 1974, Vol.1, p.xxi; New South Wales Law Almanac, Sydney, NSW Govt Printer, 1975, pp.44-45, 50; 1980, p.46; Australian Law Journal, Vol.33, p.217 (24 September 1959); Vol.33, p.412 (24 March 1960), Vol.48, p.54 (January 1974); Vol.53, p.285 (May 1979); Tony Blackshield and Mark Mackrell, 'Jacobs, Kenneth Sydney', op.cit..
5. 'Kenneth Jacobs - Wikipedia', op.cit.; Who's Who in Australia, op.cit, 1965, p.447; Tony Blackshield and Mark Mackrell, 'Jacobs, Kenneth Sydney', op.cit.
6. Joint Volume of Papers presented to the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly, 1955-56, Vol.1, pp.595-6.
7. Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.; Tony Blackshield and Mark Mackrell, 'Jacobs, Kenneth Sydney', op.cit.; It's an honour website http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au (cited 23 January 2008); 'The New South Wales Bar Association Home Page: Life Members of the Bar Association', http://www.nswbar.asn.au/docs/about/history/lifemembers.php (cited 7 August 2008); Sydney Morning Herald, death notice Eleanor Jacobs, 15 May 2002.