Obituary - Richard Henry Searby AO, QC



It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death yesterday, Wednesday 8 August 2018, of Richard Henry Searby AO, QC. Richard was 87 (born 23 July 1931).

The Funeral in Celebration of the Life of Richard Searby will be at St John’s Anglican Church Toorak, 86 Clendon Rd, Toorak on Wednesday 15 August 2018 at 10:30 am.

Richard Searby was educated privately at home, then at Geelong Grammar School, then at Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford, graduating B A (Hons) and, in due course, MA. He was awarded a Full Blue in Tennis and was Captain of the Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club. He was admitted to the Bar of England & Wales as a Member of the Inner Temple on 19 June 1956; then in Victoria on 3 December 1956. He signed the Victorian Bar Roll on 31 July 1957 and read with John Young (later, the Honourable Chief Justice Sir John Young AC KCMG).

He served as Associate to Sir Owen Dixon, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, 1956-59; then commenced practice at the Victorian Bar. While practising, he was an Independent Lecturer at the University of Melbourne in The Law of Executors & Trustees 1961-72. He had 3 Readers. He took Silk on 3 November 1971. He practised at the Bar for some 34 years, of those more than 21 as Silk – a wide Commercial and Equity practice. He ceased practice as a barrister on 1 July 1993.

Both concurrently with, and after, his practice at the Bar, Richard Searby was a Company Director and Chairman of companies Australian and international – including as a Director of News Limited for some 15 years (1977-92) of those some 12 years (1981-92) as Chairman; and Chairman of Equity Trustees for some 21 years (1980-2000).

He was the Fourth Chancellor of Deakin University for some 9 years (1997-2005) and was, in 2005 awarded the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa. In the 2006 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia “for service to education . . . and to the community as a contributor to the programs of major cultural institutions, and to business and the law”.


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