When he retired from the High Court of Australia on 2 February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge. In addition to his judicial duties, Michael Kirby served on three university governing bodies being elected Chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney (1984-93).
He also served on many national and international bodies. Amongst the latter have been service as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Commission on AIDS (1988-92); President of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva (1995-8); as UN Special Representative Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-6); a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (1995-2005); a member of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Judicial Reference Group (2007-) and a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights (2004-).
In 2010, he was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize. He is also presently a member of the Eminent Persons Group which is investigating the future of the Commonwealth of Nations; and has been appointed to the UNDP Global Commission of HIV and the Law. In 2010, he was appointed to the Arbitration Panel of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank).
In May 2017, he was invested with the insignia of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in Tokyo, with an audience with the Emperor of Japan. In 2017 Japan conferred on him the Order of the Rising Sun – Gold and Silver Star, for his work on human rights in North Korea.