The Honourable Justice Roslyn G Atkinson AO

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  • Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Gregory Terrace (1962-1965)

University Education

  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons), University of Queensland (1985)
  • Bachelor of Educational Studies, University of Queensland (1975)
  • Graduate Certificate, Speech and Drama, Rose Bruford College, United Kingdom (1975)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons), University of Queensland (1970)


  • Officer of the Order of Australia (2015)


  • James Archibald Douglas Prize, Bar Practice Course (1985)
  • Wilkinson Memorial Prize (1984)
  • Morris Fletcher & Cross Prize (1984)
  • Virgil Power Prize (1984)
  • Women Lawyers' Prize (1984)
  • Ruthning Memorial Scholarship (1984)
  • Feez Ruthning Prize in Company Law (1983)

Judicial Career

  • Judge, Supreme Court of Queensland (1998-)

Pre-judicial Career

  • Hearing Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (1994-1997)
  • Inaugural President, Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal (1994-1997)
  • Deputy Chair, Queensland Law Reform Commission (1994-1996)
  • Member, Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal (1992-1994)
  • Member, Advisory Committee to the Law Faculty, Queensland University of Technology (1991-)
  • Member, Queensland Law Reform Commission (1990-1996)
  • Member, Social Security Appeals Tribunal (1988-1990)
  • Admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland (1987)
  • Associate to the Honourable Justice Brennan, High Court of Australia (1986-1987)
  • Articled Clerk, Feez Ruthning (1985)
  • Lecturer, Literature, Drama, Film and Australian Studies, Queensland Institute of Technology (1979-1985)
  • Consultant, Innovations programme of the Australian Schools Commission and Theatre Board of Australia Council (1976-1979)
  • Actor and Theatre Administrator (1975-1978)
  • Teacher (1970-1974)

Extra Judicial Positions

  • Chair, Queensland Law Reform Commission (2002-2014)
  • President, International Commission of Jurists (Queensland) (2000-2013)
  • Board, Expressions Dance Company (1999-2002)
  • Convenor, Constitutional Centenary Foundation (Queensland Branch) (1999-2000)
  • Member, National Indigenous Justice Committee, National Judicial College of Australia
  • Co-Editor, Equal Treatment Benchbook, Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Vice-President, International Association of Judges' Study Commission on the Independence of the Judiciary

Biographical Notes

Roslyn Gay Atkinson was born in November 1948 in Brisbane, to Oliver John Scott (Jock) Atkinson, DFC, and Heather Noelle Atkinson. She attended Brisbane Girls Grammar School (1962-1965), before graduating Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English language and Literature (1970) and Bachelor of Educational Studies (1975) from the University of Queensland. She obtained a graduate certificate in Speech and Drama at Rose Bruford College in the United Kingdom. She initially pursued careers in the arts and education.

Justice Atkinson then completed a Bachelor of Laws degree with first class honours at the University of Queensland (1985). She received the Feez Ruthning Prize in Company Law (1983), the Ruthning Memorial Scholarship (1984), the Women Lawyers Prize (1984), the Virgil Power Prize (1984), the Morris Fletcher & Cross Prize (1984) and the Wilkinson Memorial Prize (1984). She commenced articles of clerkship at the Brisbane firm, Feez Ruthning (1985), and then served as Associate to Brennan J of the High Court of Australia (1986).

On 23 February 1987, she was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland and commenced practice at the bar in Brisbane. Whilst in practice at the bar, Justice Atkinson also served as a member of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (1988–1990), a member (1990–1996) and deputy chair (1994–96) of the Queensland Law Reform Commission, a member of the advisory committee to the Law Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology (from 1991), a member (1992–94) and later inaugural president (1994–1997) of the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, and a hearing commissioner for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (1994–1997). She also served as a member of the management committee of the Caxton Legal Service and as subeditor of the Queensland Reports.

On 3 September 1998, Justice Atkinson was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland. Thereafter she also served as chair of the Queensland Law Reform Commission (2002-2014).

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

Justice Atkinson has made contributions to the development and strengthening of judicial institutions internationally. Her Honour served as President of the International Commission of Jurists (Queensland) from 2000 to 2013. Her Honour led a delegation to South Africa in 1999 to advise with regard to the implementation of Equality Courts and presented at Anti-Discrimination Law workshops for the South African judiciary in 2000. In 2005, Justice Atkinson gave presentations at a training workshop for Iraqi Judges on International Human Rights Law. Justice Atkinson was Delegation Leader for the International Bar Association’s Report on Independence of the Judiciary in Fiji. Her Honour is a Vice-President of the International Association of Judges’ Study Commission on the Independence of the Judiciary.

Her Honour is a Member of the National Judicial College of Australia’s National Indigenous Justice Committee. In that role, she led a project in 2013 that was aimed at better informing courts and the legal profession in Queensland about many urban, remote and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Her Honour is also Co-Editor of the Equal Treatment Bench Book of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

In 2015, Justice Atkinson was made an Officer of the Order of Australia “For distinguished service to the judiciary and to law reform in Queensland, through contributions to the legal profession and to promoting awareness of issues of injustice and inequality in Australia and internationally.”

Judicial Papers

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