Judicial Practice


In 2017 Ian Freckelton was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nauru and sworn in the President of Nauru.

As of 2021 Justice Freckelton continues in the role.

Nauru’s Supreme Court is the superior court of the Republic of Nauru. It was established by Part V of the Nauruan Constitution upon Nauru obtaining independence in 1968. It has five justices who are appointed by the President: two of the justices are currently from Australia. The Supreme Court has original and appellate jurisdiction. Appeals from the Nauru Supreme Court went to the Australian High Court until March 2018. In May 2018 Nauru established a Court of Appeal.

The Honourable Justice Freckelton sits principally on administrative law cases, especially on appeals from the Nauru Refugee Review Status Tribunal which was established after Nauru acceded in 2011 to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

The decisions of the Nauru Supreme Court are reported on http://www.paclii.org/nr/cases/NRSC/

Justice Freckelton’s judicial appointment in Nauru is part-time and extra-territorial – on a fly-in fly-out basis, permitting him to continue his practice as a Queen’s Counsel in Australia.

Judgments delivered by Justice Freckelton include:


    • ETA 082 v Republic [2021] NRSC 22; Refugee Case 3 of 2018: Appeal – misunderstanding of evidence – failure to provide reasons
    • CRI020 v Republic [2021] NRSC 23; Case 2 of 2019: Appeal – irrationality – illogicality – unreasonableness
    • CRI 041 v Republic [2018] NRSC 7; Refugee Appeal Case 42 and 43 of 2016: Appeal – refugee status – adjournment – rescheduling – competence to participate in a hearing – procedural fairness – legal unreasonableness
    • REF 001 v Republic [2018] NRSC 54; Case 20 of 2017: failure to put credible, relevant and significant information to Appellant – failure to consider evidence – failure to consider all the Appellant’s claims – complementary protection – Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    • DWN 034 v Republic [2018] NRSC 57; Case 32 of 2017: natural justice – failure to arrange a medical examination – s 24(1)(d) , s22 and s40 of the  Refugees Convention Act 2012 (Nr)
    • CRI020 v Republic [2021] NRSC: reasoning of Tribunal – irrationality – illogicality -unreasonableness
    • ETA082 v Republic [2021] NRS: reasoning of Tribunal – misunderstanding of evidence – failure to provide reasons

Justice Freckelton’s Associate between 2017 and 2019 was Esther Pearson.