On 8 October 2020 David Ipp passed away at the age of 82.
David was a great Australian. He was a national leader as a judge, a law reformer and a corruption fighter. His death is a grievous loss to the country and also to The Centre for Public Integrity.
Born and educated in South Africa, David became a leading barrister in Cape Town. Most of his work was commercial but he devoted part of his time to defending indigent black people faced with the death penalty under the oppressive apartheid regime. His success brought him to the attention of the authorities, and he was told he was being “watched’ by state security.
By 1981 it had become too much, and David migrated with his family to Perth, where he quickly became a leading legal figure and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1989.
In 2001 he was coaxed east and became a justice of appeal in New South Wales. On both Courts he was a dynamic force and recognised as one of Australia’s leading judges.
In 2002 David was appointed to chair a far-reaching federal inquiry into reforming tort law. The recommendations of the Ipp Committee continue to have a profound effect in that part of the law.
In 2009 he was appointed Commission of the Independent Commission Against Corruption and turned that organisation into the most dynamic and successful corruption-fighting body in the nation. Under his leadership ICAC completed some of the most important investigations in Australian history.
David never lost the instinct or the passion for fighting oppression and corruption. On his retirement he became one of the founding directors of The Centre for Public Integrity. He was relentless in pressing for a strengthening of transparency, honesty and accountability in the public sector.
We feel his loss terribly. He was our colleague and our friend. We especially send our sympathy to David’s wife, Erina – they had met as students and were married for 58 years.
The Board of the Centre for Public Integrity