The Hon. Robert Shenton French AC

Chancellor of The University of Western Australia

Robert French was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia on 1 September 2008 and retired from that office on 29 January 2017.

He is a graduate of the University of Western Australia in science and law. He was admitted in 1972 and practised as a barrister and solicitor in Western Australia until 1983 when he went to the Independent Bar. He was appointed a judge of the Federal Court on 1 September 2008. From 1994 to 1998 he was the President of the National Native Title Tribunal.

In 2010, he was made a Companion in the Order of Australia and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He is a Founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, a member of the American Law Institute, and an Honorary Life Member of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, the Australian Bar Association and the West Australian Bar Association.

Mr French was appointed as a Non-Permanent Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal in May 2017.

Since August 2016 he has been an Adjunct Professor at the Law School at the University of Western Australia, a Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University since October 2016 and from 2017 an Adjunct Professor at Monash University Law School.

Mr French is a Board member of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation. He is a member of the Committee on International Freedom of Scientists of the American Physical Society.

Mr French is married to Valerie French and lives in Perth. They have three adult children.


University Profile

For more than 100 years The University of Western Australia (UWA) has provided world-class education, research and community engagement for the advancement and welfare of society. UWA is committed to contributing significantly to the intellectual, cultural and economic development of the State of Western Australia and the nation. The University has a broad research and teaching profile across a wide range of disciplines. With world-class staff and facilities, UWA students are given the best possible opportunities to pursue their impossible and excel in their fields.

UWA is a community of people who want to explore the unknown, challenge convention and make things happen; people with a burning desire to make the most of their own potential and contribute to the world’s advancement. As WA’s oldest university, UWA aspires to be counted among the top 50 universities in the world by 2050. Its consistently high entry (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) scores mean UWA’s undergraduate cohort is the most academically talented of any WA university and generally is recognised as being of the highest quality in Australia.

UWA graduates consistently rank as the most employable in WA and are employed at a greater rate than any other university graduates in WA, with UWA graduates consistently exceeding national average starting salaries. The University is internationally recognised and is ranked 87th in the world and first in the State, according to Academic World Ranking of Universities 2015.

To find out more, visit the University of Western Australia website www.uwa.edu.au 



The University of Western Australia Senate

The University of Western Australia Act 1911 (WA) gives Senate, as the governing authority of the University, responsibility for the “entire control and management of the affairs and concerns of the University”. As such, the Senate is responsible to the public for the stewardship of the University as an institution of excellence and integrity, and for the custodianship of its future prosperity. It ensures that the University’s policies and procedures are consistent with legal requirements and community expectations.

By harnessing the individual and collective experience and wisdom of its members, and by ensuring that it is well informed on all substantive issues affecting the University, the Senate seeks to help the University identify, resource and meet its goals in the context of a rapidly changing external environment. It exercises a broad overview of the University’s directions, facilitates and assists with the promotion, positioning and resourcing of the University, and regularly monitors its performance. As an integral part of its role it exercises broad control over the University’s mission, strategic directions, and finances; and it ensures proper systems of control, accountability and risk management of all University activities (including commercial activities).

The Senate is also the ultimate legislative authority of the University, with power to enact regulations and by-laws and to recommend changes to the Statutes and the University Act to facilitate the educational and research mission of the University.

To fulfil its responsibilities effectively, the Senate appoints the Vice-Chancellor as its Chief Executive Officer, and works in partnership with the Vice-Chancellor to maximise the University’s capacity and performance, and to ensure its fiscal viability. The Senate delegates operational responsibility for the management of the University to the Vice-Chancellor, and monitors, guides and supports the work of the Vice-Chancellor and Executive.

For more information, refer to the University of Western Australia’s Senate Charter .

Membership of the University of Western Australia’s Senate is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

The Hon. Robert Shenton French AC – Chancellor
Professor Dawn Freshwater – Vice-Chancellor

Appointed Members – Governor

Dr Lynton Raymond Hayes (to 2020)
Mr Robert John Inverarity AM MBE CitWA (to 2018)
Mrs Susan Lee Murphy (to 2019)

Co-opted Members – Senate

Mr Frank Cooper AO (to 2020)
Ms Michele Dolin (to 2021)
Dr Penelope Ruth Flett AO (to 2019)

Elected Members

Mr Simon Lee Dawkins – Elected by Convocation (to 2018)
Adjunct Professor Warren Kerr AM – Elected by Convocation (to 2019)
Winthrop Professor Raymond da Silva Rosa – Academic Staff (to 2019)
Dr James O’Shea – Academic Staff (to 2020)
Associate Professor Cara MacNish – Academic Board (to 2020)
Mr Craig Williams – Professional Staff (to 2018)
Ms Megan Michelle Lee – Undergraduate Student (to 2018)
Mr Peter Daniel Watson – Postgraduate Student (to 2018)


Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Audit and Risk Committee

Chair – Ms Michele Dolin

Strategic Resources Committee

Chair – Mr Frank Cooper AO