The Honourable Margaret J White AO

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Date of Birth

04 June 1943


  • Cabra Dominican Convent, South Australia (1949-1960)

University Education

  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Adelaide (1966)


  • Officer of the Order of Australia (2013)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Queensland (2005)
  • Centenary Medal (2003)

Judicial Career

  • Judge, Queensland Court of Appeal (2010-2013)
  • Judge, Supreme Court of Queensland (1992-2010)
  • Master, Supreme Court of Queensland (1990-1992)

Pre-judicial Career

  • Practised at the Bar in Queensland (1983-1990)
  • Senior Tutor/Temporary Lecturer, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland (1970-1982)
  • Research Assistant to Professor DP O'Connell, Professor of International Law, University of Adelaide (1968-1970)
  • Research Assistant, State Succession Committee of the International Law Association (on Ford Foundation Grant) (1965-1968)
  • Research Assistant to Professor DP O'Connell, Professor of International Law, University of Adelaide (1963-1965)
  • Admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland (1978)

Extra Judicial Positions

  • Deputy President, Defence Force Discipline Appeals Tribunal (2008-)
  • Deputy Chancellor, University of Queensland (2006-2010)
  • Commander, Royal Australian Naval Reserve (2003-2010)
  • Chair, Churchill Trust (Qld) (2003-)
  • President, Queensland Commandery of the Order of St Lazarus (2000-2002)
  • Chair, Supreme Court Library Committee (1999-2003)
  • Member, Judiciary Act Advisory Committee of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1999-2002)
  • Member, Churchill Fellowship Selection Committee (1993-)
  • Member, University of Queensland Senate (1993-)
  • President, Queensland Chapter International Law Association (1999)

Biographical Notes

Margaret Jean White was born on 4 June 1943 in Hamilton, Victoria, to John Stephen Broderick, (then in the RAAF) teacher, and his wife, Annie Nicol (née McInally). She was educated at the Cabra Dominican Convent, Adelaide (1949–60), and graduated Bachelor of Laws at the University of Adelaide (1966). While based in Adelaide, White worked as a research assistant to Professor DP O’Connell (1963–65, 1968–70), as a research assistant to the state succession committee of the International Law Association, Geneva (1965–66), and as a consultant to the governments of Guyana, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago in relation to their pre-independence treaties (1966–67). She married Michael William Duckett White on 19 September 1970. The couple had three sons and one daughter. From 1970 to 1982, she was a senior tutor and lecturer in law at the University of Queensland.

On 18 July 1978, White was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland. In 1983, she commenced full time practice at the bar in Brisbane. On 5 March 1990, White was appointed a master of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

On 2 April 1992, White was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland. She was the first woman to be appointed to the court. She served as the chair of the Supreme Court library committee (1999–2003), a member of the advisory committee to the Australian Law Reform Commission on the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) (1999–2002), a foundation fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (2006) and a member of the visiting committee for the Bond University Law School (1993–2003). She was also a member of the University of Queensland senate (1993–2009) and deputy chancellor of the University of Queensland (2006–09) receiving an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Queensland in 2005. She was the first member of the revived WRANSR in 1968 and served as a commander in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve (2002–10) and deputy president of the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal (Cth) (from 2008). She was on the Board of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and Chair of the Queensland Selection Committee from 2006 and National Chairman from 2011. She was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003. White was appointed to the Queensland Court of Appeal on 15 April 2010.

White was featured in 'A Woman's Place: 100 years of Queensland Women Lawyers', published by the Supreme Court Library Queensland in 2005.

In 2013 White was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia “for distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law particularly in Queensland, as a leading contributor to legal education and reform, and to professional development and training”. White retired on 3 June 2013. In May 2013 White was commissioned by the Queensland Government to head the Queensland Racing Commission of Inquiry.

In August 2013, White donated a number of items to the Supreme Court Library Queensland, including a Ceremonial Robe and full-bottom wig .

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Judicial Papers

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