1 May 2008

The Honourable Justice Paul Guest will retire on 2 May 2008 after 10 years on the bench of the Family Court of Australia and bring to a close his law career spanning 43 years.

A ceremonial sitting will be held in the Commonwealth Courts building in Melbourne tomorrow to officially farewell him.

The Honourable Diana Bryant, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, in acknowledging his contribution said that he had brought the dedication and determination typical of an elite athlete to his work.

“Justice Guest spent 29 years as a barrister and Queens Counsel and in that time he had success in several fields of the law but family law work was where he excelled”, Chief Justice Bryant said.

“His flair with the language and his oratory is sadly missed at the Bar and will now be lost to the court room and judgments as well.

“His landmark ruling in the re Patrick case really marked the beginning of recognition of the complexity of parenting issues for same sex unions and the lag between the law and social reality. 

“Justice Guest’s sympathetic call for legislative reform to assist homo-nuclear families earned him respect in the gay community and showed him to be a modern thinker ahead of his time.

“He brought the personality traits that earned him success in the very demanding sport of international rowing to his courtroom – self-discipline, concentration and the capacity for hard work over a sustained period.”

Justice Guest has an impressive record as a rower – he represented Australia in three Olympic Games, three World Rowing Championships and the Commonwealth Games and Victoria in nine King’s Cups.  He continues to compete in State, National and World Masters rowing events, gathering medals as he goes. 

He is also a passionate collector of contemporary art and donated the Paul Guest Acquisitive Award at the Bendigo Regional Gallery. 

Works from Justice Guest’s personal collection have been lent to the National Gallery of Victoria, the Gallery of Modern Art (Brisbane), the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Heide Museum of Contemporary Art for display.

He is still an active rower; president of Banks Rowing Club and of Rowing Australia’s Appeals Tribunal.

“On behalf of the Court I wish Justice Guest a long and happy retirement. 

“We expect to hear about him, either as a rower or an art collector/benefactor and, when we do, we will know he’s enjoying his well earned retirement,” the Honourable Diana Bryant said.