History of SJMC

Sir James Martin Chambers was established in 1990 and now accommodates a strong mix of Senior and Junior Counsel. The prestigious chambers, situated at the heart of Martin Place and Phillip Street, is conveniently located close to the Supreme Court of NSW, the Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of Australia when sitting in Sydney.

As with Martin Place, the Chambers were named after Sir James Martin QC. He was Premier of NSW for three separate terms between 1863 and 1872 and was then Chief Justice of NSW from 1873 until 1886. Sir James Martin was a prominent lawyer and politician, who remains the only person to have held the offices of both Premier and Chief Justice of NSW.

Born in County Cork Ireland in 1820, he emigrated to Australia with his parents and after completing his initial education at the age of 16, he commenced employment as a reporter and publisher. Over the years he was an editor, including in 1839 when he was the acting editor of The Australian. He qualified as a solicitor in 1845 and combined his legal career with that as a journalist and editor, prior to qualifying as a barrister in 1856.

In 1861, Sir James Martin was elected as a fellow of the University of Sydney and was on the committee of the Victoria Club. He was subsequently a committee member of the Hyde Park Improvement Society and vice-president of the Civil Service Club. He took considerable interest in business and held numerous directorships. He was appointed to the Commission of Defence from foreign aggression and as an examiner of University of Sydney’s faculty of law, recognising him as being at the top of his profession.

¬†Since its establishment, Sir James Martin Chambers has grown in seniority and stature and is now recognised as one of Australia’s preeminent Chambers. Several of its members have been appointed to judicial office and its present members continue to offer expertise in all areas of the practice of law. Chambers members include six Senior Counsel and a number of highly regarded senior juniors. Its members often appear in leading cases across all jurisdictions of Australia¬†and in a variety of practice areas. Whilst the floor has a strong Common Law and Commercial basis (continuing the legacy of Chamber’s namesake), members offer a breadth of experience in a diverse range of areas.