Supreme Court of Tasmania

Supreme Court of Tasmania - Chief Justices

The Hon Justice Peter George Underwood, AO (2004-2008):

Peter George Underwood was born in the United Kingdom on 10 October 1937. He moved to Australia in 1950. Underwood graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1960. After being admitted to the Bar he practiced at the firm Murdoch, Clarke, Cosgrove and Drake. From 1970 to 1983 Underwood was the Director of the National Heart Foundation.

In 1984 Underwood was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tasmania as a Judge. He was Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Friends’ School from 1989 to 1994 and Chairman of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Board from 1998 to 2005. He also became the Deputy President of the Australian Defence Force Disciplinary Appeal Tribunal in 1998. Underwood was involved in managing and teaching the advocacy and Supreme Court practice unit at the Centre for Legal Studies and he was also involved in teaching at the Advocacy Institute of Australia. In 2001 Underwood was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his services to legal education, the arts and the administration of justice. He was President of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration from 2002 to 2004. In June 2002 Underwood became an officer of the Order of Australia

On 2 December 2004 Underwood was appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania. During his time on the Bench Underwood had an interest in judicial reform, including the introduction of case management systems and incorporating technologies in the court process, and he was also a strong supporter of judicial education. In 2005 Underwood became Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania.

On 3 March 2008, Premier Paul Lennon announced the appointment of Peter Underwood as the next Governor of Tasmania. On 28 March 2008 Underwood retired from his position as Chief Justice and on 2 April 2008 he was sworn in as Governor of Tasmania.