The Honourable Charles Simon Camac Sheller AO QC died this morning. The president of the NSW Bar Association, Arthur Moses SC said: “He was one of the great jurists of the NSW Court of Appeal. He will be remembered by the NSW Bar as a judge of outstanding intellect, exemplary fairness, compassion and integrity whose judgments continue to have an impact on the development of the law in NSW.”
C S C Sheller was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in May 1959. He took silk in November 1975. He was appointed to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal in November 1991. At a ceremony in the Banco Court in April 2005 marking his retirement from the bench, the Hon J J Spigelman AC, then chief justice of New South Wales, said:
In the 180 year history of this Court there have been numerous judges who have displayed many of the judicial virtues: learning, wisdom, compassion, eloquence, robust independence, impartiality, attentiveness, diligence, common sense, clarity of thought and of expression, administrative skills and strength of character. Few have had all of these qualities and to the high level, that has been manifest by the Honourable Justice Simon Sheller for the entire period of over thirteen years that you have served as a Judge and Judge of Appeal of this Court.
There is no area of this Court’s jurisdiction that your Honour did not touch. There is no area that you touched that you do not adorn. You have delivered leading judgments on the duties of company directors, on the law of options, on takeovers and winding ups, on the lifting of the corporate veil, on equitable setoffs and constructive trusts, on fatal accident claims, on the duty of care of local authorities and hospitals, on the effect of fraudulent conduct on insurance policies, on the requirements of procedural fairness in various statutory bodies, on the duties of executors, on the disbarment of legal practitioners, on the law of declarations, on the standing to obtain injunctions, on the rights of beneficiaries to have access to trust documents, on sentencing for sexual offences, on identification evidence based on photographs, on the withdrawal of a guilty plea, on the ‘perils of the sea’ exception to carriers liability and on the valuation of a dredge. There is no point in singling out any one of these judgments, nor in extending the list further.
Between 2000 and 2004 he served as the president of the Judicial Conference of Australia. He was also chairman of the Supreme Court’s Building Committee from 1993 to 2005 and oversaw the award-winning renovation of Francis Greenway’s original Supreme Court building.
In his farewell to Justice Sheller, Chief Justice Spigelman concluded by saying: “Thank you for many things, but thank you most of all for providing all of us a role model as to how a judge should behave.”
Members will be advised of funeral arrangements as soon as they are known.