10. Isaac letters

Updated time

Last updated

08 July 2016

On 28 October 2002 the Archives was launched with a speech by Professor Joseph Isaac AO. On that day he presented a selection of documents from his personal correspondence files to the Archives. These are letters between the Deputy President, as he was then, and Sir Richard Kirby over the period 1965 to 1985, plus a letter from Justice Foster in 1962.

The letters’ significance, apart from providing an insight into the thoughts and ideas of the authors at that time, is in illustrating the connections between the tribunal and academia. In 1974 Professor Isaac was the first academic and economist appointed to the tribunal. His appointment as Deputy President ended with his retirement in 1987. These links have persisted. Commissioner Suzanne Jones, appointed in 2011, was one of the many students he taught over the years.

One treasure from these letters has a personal aspect—an exchange of letters on the event of Sir Richard Kirby’s retirement as President of the tribunal in 1973. Professor Isaac’s letter succinctly sets out the impact Sir Richard made as President, and the reply reflects the open and modest nature of Sir Richard that was often remarked on by his peers.