A "dynamic lawyer" with a reputation for revolutionising the NSW court system, and was the first Chancellor at Southern Cross University, died this week at the age of 92.
Andrew Rogers AO KC, died on February 4, and is remembered for his passion and commitment to the university and his revolutionary approach to commercial dispute resolution in the courts.
Mr Rogers was appointed as the first Chancellor of Southern Cross University during its foundation in 1994 and served in this role until 1997.
Under his leadership, the university saw the establishment of the Coffs Harbour campus at Hogbin Drive, the opening of the Lismore Law School building, the establishment of the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics and a global exchange program.
Before joining Southern Cross, Mr Rogers led an accomplished legal career, serving on the New South Wales Supreme Court between 1979 and 1993.
He is regarded as having revolutionised commercial dispute resolution in the Supreme Court after being appointed the first chief judge of the commercial division in 1987.
The Chief Justice of New South Wales, Andrew Bell said Mr Rogers "is rightly seen as responsible for the Court's pre-eminent reputation in commercial dispute resolution, a reputation that continues to this day".
Mr Rogers also served as Commissioner on the NSW Law Reform Commission, as a member of the Australian Delegation to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and was involved in the establishment of the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre.
In 2015, Mr Rogers was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law.
He moved to Australia from Hungary in 1947, graduating from University of Sydney Law School. He was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1956 and took silk in 1973.
Southern Cross University Chancellor Sandra McPhee AM said Mr Rogers left an enduring legacy at the university.
"Andrew was very generous in his advice to me when I took up my role as Chancellor. I have been most grateful for the historic perspective he provided as well as his enthusiasm to see our students and the university prosper," Ms McPhee said.
"His passion and continued commitment to SCU after 30 years has been extraordinary."
Dean of Law Associate Professor David Heilpern said Mr Rogers was kind, patient and resourceful.
"Andrew was a great supporter of Southern Cross Law and was a regular attendee at our functions and meetings," Associate Professor Heilpern said.
"He often commented on his pride at helping in the creation and continuation of the first non-metropolitan law course in Australia."
In the Inaugural Andrew Rogers Lecture in Private Law and Legal Practice delivered in 2019, Justice Kunc said Mr Rogers recognised the need for efficient and cost-effective commercial justice.
"What Andrew Rogers singlehandedly pioneered as Chief Judge of the Commercial Division has become orthodoxy and the young lawyers of today would not believe that litigation was ever done any other way."
One of his successors, Justice David Hammerschlag, now Chief Judge in Equity said: "Andrew Rogers was a towering figure in the world of commercial litigation in this state. He single-handedly revolutionised it by introducing practices to promote efficiency and encouraging a culture of compliance.
"Practitioners, including myself, who appeared before him have vivid memories of how he conducted his court and from the most senior to the most junior levels, learnt from him. He leaves a special legacy."
Chief Justice Bell said Mr Rogers "was one of the most dynamic lawyers ever to occupy a seat on the Supreme Court. Its reputation as an outstanding commercial court owes so much to him".
"On behalf of the Supreme Court, I extend my sincerest condolences to his beloved wife the Hon. Helen Coonan and his family. May he rest in peace," he said.