House debates

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Statements by Members

Gough, Dr William J (Bill)

1:31 pm

Photo of John AlexanderJohn Alexander (Bennelong, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to advise the House of the passing of one of our nation's great legal minds. Dr William J Gough, known to all as Bill, will be a name familiar to any corporations law student as the revered author of the legal tome Company Charges. Based on his PhD thesis from the University of Cambridge, for which he was awarded the prestigious Yorke Prize, Company Charges was described by the Modern Law Review in England as 'one of a handful of texts on company law that could genuinely be regarded as a classic'. In later years Bill was a partner at Allen Allen & Hemsley and Coudert Brothers International. He authored the Thomson Reuters online legal precedents system, Australian Commercial Precedents, and contributed to the Journal of Banking and Finance Law and Practice.

Bill was also a good friend. Bill had recently been ill and unable to work, but friends—in particular, Paul Kellahan—helped Bill's recovery and re-engagement in the work he loved, using his enormous intellect. Opposites attract! Bill was modest to the extreme and therefore suffered the height of embarrassment when the notorious and flamboyant barrister Stephen Archer described Bill, in esteemed legal company, as 'the greatest legal mind in the English-speaking world'. A great legal mind, a great friend, may you rest in peace.


Leigh Wiggins
Posted on 4 Jun 2018 9:53 pm (Report this comment)

I was with great sadness that I learned of Bill’s death only today. Such a great mind, such a great loss.

I remember, as a client, visiting an opposing solicitor, with Bill and another Allens partner long, long ago. The opposing solicitor was quoting from a book authored by a WJ Gough (whereas there was only a Bill Gough in this meeting) which he thought refuted our position. The other Allens partner looked at Bill and said, Bill, I am not sure that is what you meant when you wrote the book, much to the surprise of the opposing solicitor. Bill’s response was a quiet, no it wasnt. The law was very important to him.

Such a loss. May he RIP.

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