Skip to main content

Portrait of Susan Crennan
, 2017

by Lewis Miller

oil on linen (frame: 125.5 cm x 125.5 cm, support: 122.0 cm x 122.0 cm)

The Hon. Susan Crennan AC QC (b. 1945) is a leading barrister and former High Court judge. Having completed a Bachelor of Arts and Postgraduate Diploma in History at the University of Melbourne, she worked as a teacher before studying law at the University of Sydney. A barrister for 24 years, she was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1979, to the Victorian Bar in 1980 and as a barrister at King’s Inns Dublin in 1991. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in Victoria in 1989 and in New South Wales in 1990. She was the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council, in 1993–94, and the President of the Australian Bar Association, in 1994–95. She served as a Commissioner for Human Rights for six years from 1992 and was appointed a judge of the Federal Court of Australia in February 2004. In November the following year, she was appointed to the High Court of Australia, serving alongside justices Heydon and Gummow, both of whom taught her at law school. In 2011, she was appointed a Master of the Bench (Hon) of Gray’s Inn, London. Crennan is widely acknowledged as a leader and mentor within the legal profession and her engaging speeches are peppered with literary quotations. Her membership on numerous boards and foundations is notable and her contributions to constitutional law, arbitration and law reform are remarkable. She retired from the High Court in 2015.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the Hon Susan Crennan AC QC
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program 2018
Accession number: 2018.23