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Supreme Court Prize

04 April 2017

Last night, the winners of the prestigious Supreme Court Prize were announced in an intimate ceremony in the Supreme Court Library:

  • Lauren Gasparini, The University of Melbourne
  • James Campbell, Monash University
  • Benjamin Wighton, Deakin University
  • Jake Breheny, La Trobe University
  • Mat Mirabella, RMIT University
  • Cecilia Moon, Australian Catholic University
  • Sarah Stroes, Victoria University

The Prize winners were announced by Justice Mark Weinberg AO, and presented with their awards by Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC.

Madeleine Salinger, a graduate of Monash University, received the Supreme Court Exhibition Prize for the best thesis.

“The Supreme Court Prize is the most prestigious academic prize for students graduating in law. It is a hallmark of outstanding excellence and intellectual ability,” said the Chief Justice. “The Prize has proven to be a symbolic indicator that the recipient will go on to play an important part on the bench, at the Bar, in the profession or in public life.”

The winners, their family and friends, mingled with past Supreme Court Prize recipients, among them a number of Supreme Court judges. While the Supreme Court Prize has long been awarded, it is the first time that an event has been held to recognise and celebrate recipient’s outstanding achievement.

The Supreme Court Prize is a prestigious honour in the legal community. Established in 1864, it was originally awarded to the top student at the University of Melbourne. It was expanded in 1968 to include the top scoring students in the Bachelor of Laws degree at Monash University, and further thereafter in years to follow to recognise the top law students of Deakin University and La Trobe University.

The Prize was revamped in 2016, to include all Victorian universities offering a law degree, with students from RMIT University, Australian Catholic University and Victoria University eligible. Swinburne University will award their first Prize in 2018 when the first of their new law degree students graduate.

Supreme Court Prize winners are highly sought after recruits, with many securing graduate positions in top law firms and associate roles for judges in the High Court of Australia and Supreme Court of Victoria.

Among the past winners are a great number of people who have gone on to lead distinguished careers as judges, lawyers, and tertiary educators and lecturers in the law. Among the prominent past winners, are:

  • Sir Robert Menzies, KT, AK, CH, PC, QC, FAA, FRS, Prime Minister of Australia 1939-41, 49-66
  • Sir William Irvine, GCMG, Premier of Victoria 1902-04. He also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Governor, of Victoria
  • Sir Rupert ‘Dick’ Hamer, AC, KCMG, ED, Premier of Victoria 1972-81
  • Sir Isaac Isaacs, GCB, GCMG, KC, Governor-General 1931-36. He also served as Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia
  • Sir Zelman Cowen, AK, GCMG, GCVO, QC, Governor-General 1977-82. He was also one of Melbourne Law School’s longest serving deans
  • Justice Mark Weinberg AO, Justice Emilios Kyrou, Justice Anne Ferguson, Justice Stephen Kaye AM, Justice Stephen McLeish and Judicial Registrar Patricia Matthews, all current judicial officers of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Justice Mark Weinberg AO addresses those gathered for the awarding of Supreme Court Prizes in the Supreme Court library.

Lauren Gasparini, The University of Melbourne, receives the Supreme Court Prize.

James Campbell, Monash University, receives the Supreme Court Prize.

Benjamin Wighton, Deakin University, receives the Supreme Court Prize.

Jake Breheny, La Trobe University, receives the Supreme Court Prize.

Mat Mirabella, RMIT, receives the Supreme Court Prize.

Cecilia Moon, Australian Catholic University, receives the Supreme Court Prize.

Madeleine Salinger, Monash University, receives the Supreme Court Exhibition Prize for the best thesis.

Supreme Court Prize winners.

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