Justice Arthur Emmett graduated from the University of Sydney as Bachelor of Arts (1964), Bachelor of Laws (1967) and Master of Laws with honours (1976). In 2009, the University of Sydney conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws. In 2016 he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia.
From 1964 to 1978, Justice Emmett worked at Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst). In 1978 he was admitted as a barrister in New South Wales and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1985. While at the Bar, he practised in commercial and appeared on many occasions in the High Court of Australia, and also appeared in the last appeal from Australia to the Privy Council.
Justice Emmett was a judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 1997 until 2013. While there, he served as a member of the Competition, Corporations, Patents, Admiralty and Taxation Panels of the Court and was President of the Copyright Tribunal. He also served as a member of the Federal Court's Judicial Education and Practice and Procedural Committees and convenor of the Harmonisation of Rules Committee of the Council of Chief Justices.
From 2013 - 2015, Justice Emmett was a Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and since October 2015, he has been an acting Judge of Appeal, also sitting in the Commercial and Real Property Lists of the Equity Division.
Justice Emmett has taught Roman Law at the University of Sydney since 1978 and has been Challis Lecturer in Roman Law since 1990. He also teaches Roman law at the University of New South Wales, where he is an Adjunct Professor.
Justice Emmett is the Presiding Member of the Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales and is a member of the Law Admissions Consultative Committee.
He is also a member of the Panel of Recognised International Market Experts in Finance in The Hague, and of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne and Chair of the Legal Services Council's Admissions Committee.