Michael Kirby retired from Australia’s highest court, the High Court of Australia, after serving from 1996-2009.
In addition to judicial duties from 1975-2009, he has played an active part in civil society organisations and U.N. bodies.
Between 1983-98, he was a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, rising to President (1995-98).
In the United Nations, he served as Special Representative of the Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-96). He has also played a role in the U.N. response to HIV/AIDS. This includes as a member of the WHO Global Commission on AIDS (1988-92); Chair of the UNAIDS Expert Panel on HIV testing and UN peacekeepers (2001-02). From 2003 he has been a member of the UNAIDS Reference Panel on AIDS and Human Rights. From 2010 he has been a Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law.
In 1991 he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal. In 1998 he was awarded the UNESCO prize for teaching of human rights. In 2010 he was named joint winner of the Gruber Justice Prize.