On 16 February 2022, and following news of current Chief Justice Tom Bathurst's retirement, Mr. Andrew Bell SC has been named the next Chief Justice of NSW.

Earlier today, her excellency the Governor of NSW, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, appointed the Honourable Justice Andrew Bell as the next Chief Justice of NSW, while Bathurst CJ is set to retire on 5 March 2022.

Bell J’s ascension to the role of Chief Justice left his current posting vacant. As such, A-G Speakman has named the Chief Judge in Equity, the Honourable Justice Julie Ward, as the new president of the NSW Court of Appeal.

Ward J was the first female solicitor appointed directly to the Supreme Court of NSW, and her appointment makes her second-highest ranking judicial officer in the state of New South Wales.


Chief Justice Andrew Bell SC

Bell CJ began his legal studies at the University of Sydney. He graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws.

In 1990–1991, Bell was the Associate to the then Chief Justice of the High Court, Anthony Mason. He was admitted as a barrister in 1995 and took silk in 2006 as a Senior Counsel, and appeared in more than 30 High Court appeals. His notable legal cases have included acting for Qantas against Rolls Royce, the Rinehart children in trust litigation against Gina Rinehart, and for Channel 7 in relation to cases arising from Australian Federal Police raids.

Bell CJ was appointed as President of the NSW Court of Appeal on 28 February 2019. On 4 June 2019, he was sworn in as an Administrator of the State of New South Wales. He has handed down decisions in the Chris Gayle defamation appeal, and the lead judgment in Searle v Commonwealth of Australia, an important case on the constitutional doctrine of “fettering” of discretionary powers of Government.

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