Vale – The Honourable Geoffrey Giudice AO


Bar Roll No: 1942

It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death of the Honourable Geoffrey Michael Giudice AO on Wednesday 17 November 2021. He was 73.

Geoff, as he was known, was born in 1947 in Bendigo. He studied at Xavier College in Melbourne before taking up Law at Melbourne University, where he was resident at Newman College.

After graduation, Geoff worked for the Hospital Employees Federation, then for Myer Emporium as National IR Manager, before taking up an articled clerkship at Moule Hamilton and Derham (now Herbert Smith Freehills). In short time, he became a partner.

Geoff signed the Bar Roll in 1984 reading with the Honourable Dr Chris Jessup QC and quickly built up a strong practice in employment and industrial relations, appearing regularly before the State and Federal industrial tribunals, the Federal Court and High Court. He often represented the oil and mining industries. Geoff also represented airlines during the 1989 Australian pilots’ dispute. He represented Federal and State Governments and appeared in National Wage cases on a regular basis.

He was a well prepared and articulate advocate, unfailingly courteous and respected by the judges and tribunal members he appeared before.

On 17 September 1997, he was appointed as the President of the Australian Industrial Relation Commission and a Judge of the Federal Court.  He then went on to serve as the President of that national tribunal and its successor, the Fair Work Commission (of which he was the Inaugural President) through to his retirement at age 64 on 28 February 2012. That made him the 13th and second longest serving President of the national tribunal.

In this time, he was involved in substantial Award modernisation and hearing various test cases of significance.  Almost invariably wearing a bow tie, he remained courteous and respectful to advocates throughout his time on the Bench.  He published carefully written judgments, which focused on the main issues and fulfilled the primary role of the national tribunal by providing fairness to all.

After leaving the Tribunal, his appointments included Professorial Fellow with the University of Melbourne, consultant to Ashurst Australia, Chair of the Independent Review Panel under the Gaming Regulation Act 2003 (Vic), Chair of Catholic Professional Standards Limited and Chair of the AFL Tribunal and AFL Appeal Tribunal.

Geoff was admired and respected by his many friends and acquaintances at the Bar, in the national legal profession and those engaged in industrial relations across the country.

His interests outside his busy schedule involved golf and the Melbourne Football Club. He also placed great important on family.  He is survived by his wife Beth, children Barnaby, Charlotte, Edward and John and eight grandchildren.

Geoff’s funeral is to be held on Monday 29th November at 2.00pm at St Ignatius Catholic Church in Church Street, Richmond.

News Category: