Obituary & Funeral Details - The Hon Richard Tracey AM RFD QC


Bar Roll No: 1692

It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death of Major General the Honourable Richard Tracey AM RFD QC, who passed away on the weekend at the age of 71 years.

A Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Richard Ross Sinclair Tracey will be offered at St Patrick’s Cathedral, East Melbourne on Thursday 24 October 2019 at 2:00pm.

Rosary will be recited at Newman College in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, 887 Swanston Street, Parkville, Wednesday 23 October 2019 commencing at 7:30pm.

Richard attended Melbourne University on a Commonwealth scholarship. He was awarded a Bachelor of Laws degree with honours in 1969, then went on to complete Masters degrees in law at Melbourne University in 1974 and the University of Illinois in 1979. He continued teaching at both universities as a Senior Lecturer and Sub-Dean at Melbourne and as a Teaching Fellow at the Law School in Illinois.

In 1976, Richard commenced a 43-year involvement with the Australian Army Legal Corps and the Australian Defence Force. He served as a Defence Force magistrate, Judge Advocate General of the ADF and President of the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal.

Richard came to the Bar in 1982 and read with Graeme Uren QC. They continued to share chambers until Richard’s appointment to the Bench. Richard specialised in industrial and administrative law and took silk in 1991.

Richard’s varied legal career included an appointment as a Commissioner of the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission in 1997 and as a Reporter and Editor of the Victorian Reports and as an Editor of the Federal Law Reports.

In 2006, Richard was appointed as a judge of the Federal Court, where he served until 2018. In that role he was renowned for his fairness, integrity and respectful manner towards all who appeared before him, including unrepresented litigants.

In 2014, Richard was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Military Division for exceptional service in the field of military law. He was appointed Chair of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in December 2018—a position he held until his death.

Richard is remembered by his peers as a man of great learning and ability, dedication, firmness of mind, good character, good humour and independence – one of the great gentlemen of our Bar, the Bench and the broader community, in the very best sense of that word.

Deepest sympathies are extended to Richard’s wife Hilary and their children Jack (who is a member of our Bar), Philip, Fiona and Rosie.

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