Chair

The Hon. Anthony North QC

The Hon Athony North 2019

With a distinguished career spanning forty-five years, the Hon. Anthony North QC is a former judge of the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. Admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1976, he was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1989. In 1995, Mr North was made judge of the Federal Court of Australia, where he served until his retirement in 2018. He also served, from 2004, as additional judge of the Supreme Court of the ACT. During his time as judge, Mr North presided over cases involving constitutional and commercial law, industrial and employment law, taxation, intellectual property and native title. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Laws from the University of London.

Mr North took over from Bruce Gardner, who was appointed as Acting Chairperson of the Commission in March 2019 following the death of Philip Cummins. 

Previous Chairpersons 

Bruce Gardner PSM 

Bruce Gardner PSM sat as Acting Chair of the Victorian Law reform Commission from March to August 2019. Until 2018, Mr Gardner was Senior Legal Advisor to the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions, with thirty-six years' experience in the Crown Solicitor's Office and the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) as a prosecution solicitor. He held a range of policy-related positions with the OPP, including Manager of Policy and Advice for twenty-one years, fourteen of which he was also Manager of Appeals. Mr Gardner has served on numerous committees and working groups addressing criminal law reform issues. He was appointed Commissioner of the VLRC in April 2012 and, in June of the same year, awarded an Australian Public Service Medal for outstanding public service to criminal law reform.

The Hon. Philip Cummins AM 

The Hon. Philip Cummins AM was Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission from September 2012 until his death in February 2019. He was a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria from 1988 to 2009. He served in all Supreme Court Divisions and in the Court of Appeal, including as a Senior Judge of the Trial Division of the Court and Principal Judge of the Criminal Division. In 2010-2011, he was Chair of the Protecting Vulnerable Children Inquiry. He was Chair of the Victoria Law Foundation from 2009 to 2014 and President of Court Network Inc. from 2010 to 2014. He held a number of degrees from the University of Melbourne, including Master of Laws and Master of Science (Psychiatry). He was a fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. In December 2015, he became President of the Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies, based in London.   

Gemma Varley PSM

Gemma Varley was acting Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission from 25 September to 3 December 2018. Mrs Varley was Chief Parliamentary Counsel for Victoria from 2008 until 2016.  She was Second Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel from 2004 until 2008 and has more than 37 years’ experience as a legislative drafter in the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.  Mrs Varley is in private practice as a consulting legislative drafter. In 2017 she was awarded a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service through the drafting of legislation in Victoria. She was appointed to the Commission in August 2016.  

His Honour David Jones AM

His Honour David Jones AM was Acting Chairperson of the Commission from February to August 2012. Mr Jones has held a wide range of positions in the legal sector, including 25 years of service as Judge of the County Court.

Professor Neil Rees AM

Professor Rees served as Chairperson of the Commission from June 2007 until February 2012. His legal career has included significant periods in academia, legal practice and as a member of tribunals. 

The Hon. Marcia Neave AO

The Hon. Marcia Neave AO served as Chairperson from 2000, when the Commission was re-established, until 22 February 2006, when she was appointed to the Victorian Court of Appeal. 

Main menu

Back to top