Mitchell, Dame Roma Flinders

▪ 2001

      Australian jurist (b. Oct. 2, 1913, Adelaide, Australia—d. March 5, 2000, Adelaide), was a lifelong advocate of rights for women, Aboriginals, and the disabled as well as a pioneer in holding numerous official positions that had previously been exclusively male. Mitchell, who received her law degree from the University of Adelaide in 1934 and practiced law in her native South Australia, was the first woman in Australia to be named a queen's counsel (1962), the first woman sworn in as a state Supreme Court justice (in South Australia; 1965), the inaugural chairman of the Australian Human Rights Commission (1981–86), the first nonroyal woman to serve as chancellor of an Australian university (at her alma mater; 1983–90), and the first female state governor (South Australia; 1991–96). Mitchell also successfully campaigned for the right to have women sworn in on Australian juries and chaired the committee that issued the influential five-volume Mitchell report on penal reform in the 1970s. She was made CBE in 1971, Dame Commander in 1982, a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1991, and Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in January 2000.

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Universalium. 2010.

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