Andrew Inglis ClarkPrimary architect of Australia's constitution

Supreme Court Judge


Clark resigned as Attorney-General after his Cabinet colleagues did not seek his advice over the legality of leasing Crown land to a private company. After a period as Leader of the Opposition, Clark left politics to become a Judge of the Tasmanian Supreme Court in June 1898.

Although his forte was constitutional law, as a Judge Clark's time was divided between presiding in jury trials in civil and criminal jurisdictions, hearing civil cases as the sole Judge, and receiving appeals from lower courts. 

While a Supreme Court Judge, Clark published his Studies in Constitutional Law in 1901, which confirmed his reputation as a leading constitutional lawyer. This strengthened his claim to a position on the High Court, but he was denied this much desired prize. In 1903 the chance of a seat evaporated when the Commonwealth Parliament cut the number of High Court Judges from five to three. In 1906 when the bench was enlarged he was again passed over and this soured relations with his Federation colleague Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. Clark remained on the Tasmanian Supreme Court until his death in 1907.