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Justice Derek Price will retire as the Chief Judge of the District Court of NSW and President of the Dust Diseases Tribunal on Friday 26 April 2024.

“I wish to thank Justice Price for his extraordinary contribution to the judicial system of NSW,” NSW Attorney General Michael Daley said in a statement published today.

“Derek Price is a thoroughly decent man who has shown what can be achieved through hard work and determination. His career has left an indelible mark on the judicial system of New South Wales. He has shown exceptional skill and talent to rise to the top of his profession. What a great story he is. He has shown that hard work and dedication really make a difference.”

The news marks an end to a remarkable career of more than 35 years presiding on the bench of three NSW courts.

“It has been an extraordinary privilege in my 35 years as a Judicial Officer to have been a Head of three jurisdictions, and a Justice of the Supreme Court,” Justice Price said.

Daley praised Justice Price’s service as head of three jurisdictions as a “remarkable record to look back on” and regarded him as “a trailblazer for demonstrating the possibility of rising through the ranks.”

“He is an inspiration to all young members of the legal community by showing it is possible to reach the highest ranks, no matter where you start out.” Daley said.

Justice Price graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws in 1972, before moving to Dubbo the following year to become a partner with Peacocke, Dickens and King. After obtaining a Master of Laws with Honours in 1974, he was appointed a magistrate of the Local Court of NSW in 1988 before being appointed as an acting judge of the District Court in 1999, which became permanent the following year.

He was appointed Chief Magistrate of the Local Court in 2002 and became a Judge of the Supreme Court in 2006. During his eight years in the Common Law Division, Justice Price presided over a number of high-profile murder trials.

“I believe my career has shown that there can be successful promotion between all the courts and that the respective courts have much to learn from each other.” Justice Price said.

Justice Price became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 and was appointed Chief Judge of the District Court in 2014, as well as President of the Dust Diseases Tribunal. He continued to sit in the Court of Criminal Appeal and became an Officer of the Order of Australia in the General Division in 2020.

Justice Price has indicated his willingness to continue to sit on the Court of Appeal which has been gratefully accepted by the Attorney General.

Read a full profile on Justice Price’s career in the Legacy edition of the Law Society Journal.

Image: Gillianne Tedder