Issue 7
Monday, 09 May 2016
Charles Darwin University
Michael Grant QC has been appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory
Michael Grant QC has been appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory

Incoming NT Chief Justice reflects on study years

By Katie Weiss

A law alumnus has accepted the highest judicial appointment in the Northern Territory, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Michael Grant QC is currently the Solicitor-General for the Northern Territory, and will replace retiring Chief Justice Trevor Riley from 5 July this year.

Mr Grant said his appointment as Chief Justice had caused him to reflect on his study years at Charles Darwin University’s predecessor, the University College of the Northern Territory (UCNT).

“One of the things of which my appointment has reminded me is how fortunate we were as students to have had the quality lecturers we did during the early years of the degree," Mr Grant said.

"All of my contemporaries, and all law students since, owe a significant debt of gratitude to [CDU Head of the School of Law] Professor Ned Aughterson in particular.

“He was the driving force, in academic and administrative terms, behind the establishment of the law degree; he has worked solidly to establish its reputation over the years, and he has always been generous and supportive to his students.”

Mr Grant was among the first intake of 40 law students in 1987, when the University of Queensland established the College. The campus was originally located at the old Darwin Hospital site on the western end of Smith Street where, coincidentally, in its original capacity Mr Grant was born.

He said the creation of an NT-based university was a natural and necessary step for Darwin to take in establishing its status as a modern capital city, and for the Territory to take in assuming its place as a self-governing body politic.

“It is quite doubtful in my circumstances that I would have completed my study at an interstate institution had the UCNT not been established and offered a law degree,” Mr Grant said.

“The fact that we now have a well-credentialed, local university makes it possible for Territory kids to study here and move into careers locally following their study.

“Because the operation of the law is so fundamental to the working of our various institutions of government, business and wider society, it is important that a local university offers opportunities to undertake study in that field. 

“I am also proud that the university has such well-regarded and equally important programs in science and the arts.”

Mr Grant was the first Territory-born lawyer to be appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2006. Since becoming Solicitor-General in 2007, he has been the Territory's principal advocate and legal advisor.