21 May
Robyn Ayres

Arts Law welcomes new President, Justice John Sackar

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) is thrilled to announce our new President, the Honourable Justice John Sackar.

Justice Sackar joins us as a distinguished legal practitioner and a strong advocate for the Australian arts community and a keen collector of art and other objects. He is particularly passionate about protecting the moral and legal rights of artists and the special cultural integrity of Indigenous art.

His appointment comes after former president, the Honourable Justice Margaret Beazley, stepped down to perform her new role as the 39th Governor of New South Wales. Arts Law offers our warmest congratulations to Justice Beazley on a well-deserved appointment to office.

John Sackar graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1973 and was admitted as a solicitor in that year.  He was admitted as a barrister in 1975 and graduated with a Master of Laws degree in 1976 again from the University of Sydney. After practising as Queen’s Counsel for nearly 25 years, he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in February 2011.

In his role as NSW Supreme Court judge, Justice Sackar dealt with many cases involving artist’s rights and is acutely aware of the need to protect artists who are at risk of exploitation.

Speaking to The Australian, Justice Sackar commented “an artist should be able to earn an income from producing a work. But if their work is, in effect, stolen from them – if their copyright is breached, for example – then the value of their work is significantly diminished. That’s talking on a straight financial basis, let alone the moral rights involved.”

In particular, Justice Sackar is a zealous advocate for Arts Law’s Fake Art Harms Culture campaign which addresses the economic and cultural damage caused by “inauthentic” Indigenous art and craft. This unregulated trade exploits Indigenous culture and tradition, and Justice Sackar believes it’s time for these fake, “rip-off” products to be banned, or at the very least minimised.

Justice Sackar’s legal acumen will greatly support the delivery of Arts Law’s vision to be the preeminent authority on artists’ rights and arts law in Australia, and we are thrilled to welcome him into our team.