High Court Judge Michael Kirby has urged graduating UNSW law students to work for change in the legal system and think globally in their approach.

Justice Kirby, Australia's longest-serving judge, made the comments during the occasional address at the Law Faculty's graduation ceremony, during which he received the University's highest honour, an honorary Doctorate of Laws (honoris causa) for his service to the community.

Justice Kirby urged the graduates to "scrupulously" maintain, strengthen and safeguard the tradition of the integrity of the legal system, adding that in his entire time on the High Court he had "never been offered a bribe or an inducement or advantage to decide a case or do some official act in a way contrary to law and justice".

"That is still true in Australia. It is not true in most countries," he said.

Attending the ceremony were Justice Kirby's partner of 40 years Johan van Vloten, his 92-year-old father Donald Kirby, Chancellor David Gonski, Vice-Chancellor Fred Hilmer, Dean of the Faculty of Law David Dixon, and the faculty's Foundation Dean Professor Hal Wooten.

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Media Contact: Steve Offner | 9385 8107 | s.offner@unsw.edu.au