Vale – Richard J Stanley QC


Bar Roll No: 795

It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death of Richard J Stanley QC on 7 June 2020 at the age of 78 years.

Richard was admitted to practise law in 1966 and came to the Bar the same year, where he read with the Hon Sir James Gobbo AC QC.

Richard established a practice in common law and came to be regarded as a leader of the Common Law Bar. Richard was a hard worker, capable of managing several difficult cases at the same time. He has been described as the preeminent jury advocate of his generation.

Richard appeared in many of the landmark jury trials, including Rabenalt and PQ, the latter of which proceeded to verdict after a six month trial. He frequently appeared for dying plaintiffs in asbestos litigation as well as for the victims of toxic torts.

Richard formally mentored seven readers: John Williams, the Hon Jack Forrest QC, Paul Scanlon QC, John Batten, Michael Sharpley, Michael Wilson QC, and the Hon Shane Stone AC QC. He took silk in 1983.

Richard served on a number of committees, including joint Bar/LIV committees relating to accident compensation (1983-92) and LawAid (2000-2004) and Bar Council (1986-1987). He was the Bar’s representative on the Chief Justice’s Civil Listing Committee (1987-2006).

Richard was an inaugural and long-standing committee member of the Common Law Bar Association (1992-2019). He was Chairman of the Foleys list committee at the time of the passing of Kevin Foley and steered the list into its new corporate structure.

In 2012, Richard was recognised as a Legend of our Bar. He moved to the list of retired counsel in July last year.

Richard was held in wide regard by many in the community both within and without the law. He was an accomplished A Grade amateur footballer in his youth, playing for the Old Xaverians Football Club and as a Victorian State Amateur representative. A lifelong member of the OXFC, Richard was a valued mentor to many generations of its members. He was also a soundly credentialled golfer and lover of that game.

Deepest sympathies are extended to Richard’s family, especially his son Richard H Stanley, who is a member of our Bar.

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