Commencing his position at the FCCA’s Melbourne Registry on 2 November 2015, Judge Wilson will be working on a breadth of cases spanning admiralty, migration, trade practices, human rights, family law, intellectual property, extradition and bankruptcy.
‘For many people the appointment to judicial office is regarded as the pinnacle of one’s career and I am certainly pleased to have been invited and wholeheartedly embrace the offer,’ he says.
Judge Wilson was at primary school when he first discovered his passion for debating and soon thereafter wondered how to combine a career with his enthusiasm for words. The law seemed to be a natural fit.
‘In addition to all other factors, I was also terrible at science and a life as a vet was out of the question,’ he says.
Commencing his legal career in 1982, Judge Wilson was first admitted to practise as a barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1983.
Throughout his esteemed career, Judge Wilson completed a Master of Laws at the University of Melbourne in 2006 and a Doctor of Philosophy at Deakin University in 2008.
‘I completed my PhD in extradition law at Deakin and now, in my new position as judge, I particularly look forward to the opportunity of judging cases in this field of the law,’ he says.
Other major career milestones included the appointment of Senior Counsel in Victoria in 2008 and Queen’s Counsel in Victoria in 2014.
Now, at the peak of his career, Judge Wilson hopes to make a real contribution to the FCCA by assisting in the movement of the substantial workload the court currently shoulders and, above all else, by doing justice according to the law.
‘I don’t want to be a revolutionary judge and certainly not one who is hell-bent on attempting to orchestrate major social change through judgments. In my opinion, change of that magnitude is best left to Parliament,’ he says.
Aside from his day-to-day job, Judge Wilson spends large portions of time on contributions to academia.
‘I’ve spent a lot of time working with Professor Mirko Bagaric, who supervised my PhD and who has been instrumental in getting me involved in the workings at Deakin Law School and in particular with the Law Advisory Board and also on the front-line teaching students.’
Judge Wilson’s top tips for law students:
- Obtain a high-quality degree, such as a Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor from Deakin University - in the first instance employers will always look at your academic results.
- Gain experience in any practical aspect of the law throughout the duration of your degree. Be a shadow to an existing lawyer, or participate in a more formal work experience arrangement.
- Employing people is an expensive business and as a graduate you need to be conscious that you must add value to the practice potentially employing you.
- Today, much like in the EU and USA, in Australia a law degree is a door-opener into an array of business and other professional callings – it is not limited to the practice of the law. Society is better educated with people who have a thorough understanding of the law of the land.