A recording of an interview between Professor Greg Adamson (of the University of Melbourne) and the Hon Michael Kirby concerning the late Justice James Staples. He was a brilliant student at the University of Sydney; a barrister who often appeared for the underdog; an active member of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties; and ultimately a Deputy President (judge) of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
When the Australian Industrial Relations Commission was established to take over the jurisdiction and functions of the earlier Commission, Justice Staples was the only presidential member not reappointed to the new body. This was a breach of long-standing Federal conventions defensive of judicial independence and tenure.
The interview explores the life and times of Jim Staples and the way his life illustrates his deep conviction that the law would protect him, although it did not.