Obituary - The Honourable J. Daryl Davies QC



It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death yesterday, 19 November 2017, of The Honourable John Daryl Davies QC – always known as Daryl. Daryl was 88 (born 21 December 1928).

Daryl Davies began his schooling at Swan Hill Primary, then Brighton Grammar, then Melbourne Grammar. He graduated from the University of Melbourne with an Honours Law Degree. He served Articles and worked as a Solicitor in his father’s firm, E. Edgar Davies & Co in Bank Place. He was admitted to practice in August 1952 and signed the Roll in February 1956. He read with Keith Aickin (later The Honourable Sir Keith Aickin of the High Court). In his first 7 years at the Bar, Daryl was an outstandingly successful plaintiff’s counsel in County Court jury trials. He then served 7 years on the Taxation Board of Review, before returning to the Bar for 7 years. He had one Reader and took Silk in December 1972.

In 1976, Daryl was appointed to conduct an Inquiry into the liquor industry in Victoria. He reported in April 1978. In May 1978, he was appointed to the Federal Court and the ACT Supreme Court, and was made the first Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Sir Gerard Brennan singled him out for particular appreciation as first Deputy President. He succeeded Justice Brennan and served 8 years as President. Daryl served more than 20 years on the Federal Court. Following statutory retirement, he served a further 5 years on the ACT Supreme Court, the NSW Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, and the Fiji Court of Appeal.

Daryl’s service to the Bar was outstanding. He was a member of the Bar Council and its Executive Committee; and he chaired the Applications Review Committee, the Reading & Lectures Committee, the Causes Practice Committee, the Special Committee on Supreme Court Delays and the Special Accommodation Committee – all in difficult years when Bar accommodation was in crisis, the Bar was under threat and successfully resisted a Government proposal for Acting Judges.

He returned to practice at the Bar in January 2004 and finally retired on 30 June 2010. His son Greg and daughter Jennifer are members of our Bar: Greg a Silk; Jennifer a Federal Court Judge. His other son, Paul, is a Chartered Accountant and other daughter Celia is a Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills.

There will be a Celebration of Daryl’s Life at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club at 5 pm
on Thursday 30 November 2017.

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