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Sir Owen Dixon (1886 - 1972), Australian judge and politician, was the sixth Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. A justice of the High Court for thirty-five years, Dixon is widely regarded as one of Australia’s most remarkable legal minds.
Dixon was admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1910. In the 1920s, Dixon was a prominent member of the Victorian Bar, along with his colleagues and friends John Latham (who preceded Dixon as Chief Justice) and Robert Menzies (later the longest serving Prime Minister of Australia).
In 1926, Dixon was briefly made an Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and although he was considered to be an excellent judge, he did not enjoy the experience. In 1929, Dixon was appointed to the bench of the High Court, by his friend John Latham, who was then the Commonwealth Attorney-General.
From 1942 to 1944, Dixon took leave from his judicial duties while he served as Australia’s Minister (Ambassador) to Washington, at the request of the then Prime Minister John Curtin. On May 27 1950, Dixon was invited by the United Nations to act as their official mediator between the governments of India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir. His role was to continue conciliation talks between the two nations in the lead up to a proposed plebiscite to be put to the residents of Kashmir. His role as mediator ended in October 1950 , although he had left India in September frustrated with what he saw as an inability of the respective governments to negotiate.
In 1952, Dixon was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court by his friend Robert Menzies, who remained Prime Minister throughout Dixon’s tenure in the position. This marked the beginning of a period described by Lord Denning as the "golden age" of the High Court. The Court under Dixon presided over such significant cases as the Communist Party Case . Dixon retired from the High Court in 1964, to be replaced by Garfield Barwick, who as a barrister had argued for the Commonwealth in the Communist Party Case, and whom Dixon disapproved of.
Dixon has often been described as a product of his times – for example, he was a strong supporter of the White Australia policy, and was a critic of most organized religions. Furthermore, he had a strong involvement with several politicians of the day, notably Robert Menzies, and on occasion gave "advice" to federal ministers on foreign policy matters. Conversely, Dixon is remembered primarily for his attitude of "strict and complete legalism" (that is, literalism) in his approach to the law, and is considered by some to be among the least politically influenced judges.  Despite this, in the legal profession, he is widely regarded as Australia's greatest judge.
Dixon was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1941, and was elevated to a Knight Grand Cross of that order (GCMG) in 1954. Dixon was appointed to the Privy Council (PC) in 1951.
- Graham Perkin – Its Most Eminent Symbol Hidden by The Law (published in The Age on September 23 1959)
- Michael Sexton – Owen Dixon (book review) (published in the Sydney Morning Herald on June 21 2003)
- Dr Philip Ayres – Federalism and Sir Owen Dixon
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