Navigating Special Leave in the High Court (1 CLE/CPD point)


60 minute on demand audio session = 1 CLE/CPD point for lawyers*

“maximize the opportunities for a just and lawful disposition that will stand the test of time and minimize the injustices that we accidentally and without deliberate intent, do in the course of our work as lawyers, as fallible human beings”

In 2016-2017, approximately 75% of special leave applications were finalised without an oral hearing. Just what is the process of reviewing an application and what is considered by Justices to reach an outcome? In this Salvos Legal CLE/CPD for Lawyers audio session, the Hon Michael Kirby joins us to answer just that. Starting with the history of special leave, Kirby outlines the developments and changes to the application process and oral submissions. Kirby walks us through the steps a Justice will take once the book of leave applications is received, through to the hearing. In this time, he outlines considerations Justices apply to assess whether or not a case enters the High Court.

You will also understand a criterion Kirby applies to help describe, as an appellant, what to focus on in the twenty minutes provided during the application hearing. Lastly, Kirby shares his thoughts on automated decision making in the special leave application process.

Listen to this on-demand audio session, anywhere and anytime for a detailed description of the special leave application process and to meet your CLE/CPD requirements.


Here’s a preview of the Hon Michael Kirby discussing the relationship between Special Leave in the High Court and equal access to justice (preview length: 1:20 mins)


This continuing legal education audio session on demand will deliver the following learning outcomes:

  • Understand the history of the special leave application process
  • Understand what a Justice might do in the lead up to a special leave application hearing
  • Learn what to focus on during a special leave application hearing

Please note that the purchase of this CLE/CPD product allows you to access the recording 5 times over a period of 365 days from the date of purchase.
To access the recording again you must login to your account.


The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Professional Background

Michael Kirby is today considered one of Australia’s most recognised and respected judges. When he retired from the High Court of Australia on 2 February 2009, Michael was Australia’s longest serving judge.

In 1975, he was appointed as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliating & Arbitration Commission. From 1975-84, he was seconded as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission. He was later appointed as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal, and, concurrently, the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands. Michael was appointed to the High Court in 1996, where he served until 2009. In this period, he acted as Acting Chief Justice of Australia twice.

Awards and Recognition (Post-Judicial Roles)

Since retiring from the High Court, Michael Kirby was elected President of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia from 2009-2010. He is the current Editor-In-Chief of the Law of Australia. Michael has been appointed Honorary Visiting Professor by twelve universities, and has been awarded a number of honorary doctorates.

In 2010, Michael Kirby was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize, and appointed to the Arbitration Panel of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank). As an member of the Eminent Persons Group (2010-11), Michael helped to investigate the future of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Michael was appointed to the UNDP Global Commission of HIV and the Law from 2010-12, and subsequently served as a Commissioner of the UNAIDS Commission on Sustainable Health from 2013-14. Michael became a member of the Global Fund’s High Level Plane, Equitable Access Initiative to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

In late 2013, the President of the UN Human Rights Council, in accordance to a resolution of the Council, appointed Michael to head the Commission of Inquiry on Alleged Human Rights Violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. (2013-14).

A champion of human rights, Michael was elected the Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International bar Association in 2014. The United Nations Foundation of United States of America also awarded him the Leo Navas Award for human rights.

Find out more about the Hon Michael Kirby and his story here

Read more about the Hon Michael Kirby’s thoughts on Special Leave in the High Court:

* CLE/CPD schemes are based upon self-assessment of an educational activity. In order to count an educational activity towards mandatory CLE/CPD requirements a legal practitioner must determine for themselves that the activity extends their knowledge and skills in areas relevant to their practise or professional development. If you are in WA, please note we are not a WA Law Society accredited CPD/CLE provider and an audio session will not count towards your points.