Julian Block: a life of opera, tax, family, friends and soccer

3 October 2016
Remembering an esteemed alumnus

Julian Block, described by the late Justice Graham Jill, as 'one of the best tax lawyers I know'.

Julian Block

Last year marked the passing of esteemed University of Sydney alumnus and renowned taxation lawyer, Julian Block. During his time at the University, Julian completed both a Master of Laws (1989) and a Master of Taxation (1994), scoring a high distinction in each. 

John Angus and Joanne Seve recall Julian’s larger than life personality and his extraordinary heart for welcoming newcomers and training new lawyers, of which they were two beneficiaries at Freehills. They recall that despite long hours in the office, Julian was always able to create an environment of fun that was intellectually stimulating. He had a terrific sense of humour in a self-deprecating way that instantly put everyone at ease. 

Julian’s assistant, Yolanda Colandrea, fondly remembers how no two days were ever the same. His office would alternate between the sound of Julian speaking to a dictaphone and Opera arias. Julian was always a multitasker. Given his helping nature, it was no wonder Julian went on to become a lecturer at the University of Sydney. He had a skill of imparting his taxation knowledge in a way that was easily understood, often illustrated with an anecdote and frequently amusing. 

But most of all, Julian was renowned for his tax judgments. He served for more than 15 years on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, first as a senior member and then as a deputy president. Julian was also a judicial member of the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal and then a senior member of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal of NSW. He was described by the late Justice Graham Hill, who frequently reviewed his decisions on appeal, as "one of the best tax lawyers I know".

Julian is greatly missed not only by his many colleagues in the legal profession, but by his wife, Rosie and their four daughters, Jessica, Camilla, Vanessa and Antonia and their spouses, their ten grandchildren and all the family and Julian’s many, many friends.

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