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Our history

Ranked among the world’s top law schools, the ANU College of Law is Australia’s national law school. Since 1960, tens of thousands of students, alumni, staff and academics have experienced the passion and dedication to legal studies that makes ANU Law one of the top law schools in the world. In 2020, we celebrated their contribution to 60 years of ANU Law.

The University confers Honorary Degrees to highly eminent individuals in recognition of their significant contributions and achievements. Throughout the College's history we have awarded the Honorary Doctor of Laws (HonLLD) to the recipients listed on the following page, for exceptional contributions to public service or to the practice of law that is recognised nationally or internationally. 

The following timeline provides a brief snapshot of our history.

Our timeline

Our historic building

The first wing of our historic Law building was built in 1965 by architects O'Mahoney Neville & Morgan.

The architectural characteristics demonstrate elements of the late-twentieth century stripped classical style including the symmetrical facades, a horizontal skyline and a lack of classical detailing.

The cast in-situ concrete arches provide a stylistic reference to similar elements of the adjacent Chifley Library, also designed by O'Mahoney. The arches are clad in 'special rendered facing' specifically chosen for the complex.

Windows are spaced uniformly throughout the complex, providing a vertical perspective to the long horizontal buildings.

Two large oaks have been retained in Latham Court, on the Law lawns.

In 2017, ANU Law undertook a substantial building renovation and refurbishment project to the iconic Fellows Road Law buildings.

Deans of the College

  • John Fleming (1959–60)
  • Harold Ford (1960–61)
  • Jack Richardson (1961–66) and (1968–70)
  • Harry Whitmore (1970–72)
  • Patrick Atiyah (1972–73)
  • Leslie Zines (1973–75)
  • Douglas Whalan (1975–77)
  • Don Greig (1977–80)
  • David Hambly (1980–82)
  • Dennis Pearce (1982–84)
  • Leslie Zines (1984–86)
  • David Hambly (1986–88)
  • Don Greig (1988–91)
  • Dennis Pearce (1991–93)
  • Tom Campbell (1995–97)
  • Michael Coper (1998–2012)
  • Stephen Bottomley (2013–17)
  • Sally Wheeler OBE (2018-22)
  • Tony Connolly (2022-)

Our rankings

our rankings

One of the world’s best law schools

The ANU College of Law consistently performs strongly in global university rankings. We are ranked 18th in the world and 2nd in Australia for law by the Times Higher Education Rankings (2023) and 24th the world and 4th in Australia for law by the QS World University Rankings (2023).

Guided by our strong and long-established research culture, we make a significant contribution to the University’s top rating of 5 in Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) in the Law and Legal Studies category, placing us among a select group of Australian universities to achieve this.

One of the world’s best universities

In addition to ongoing success in discipline-specific rankings, ANU is consistently ranked among the world’s top universities, including leading institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and Ivy League universities in the United States.

While the methodology varies across respective publishers, rankings are generally based on a combination of factors such as academic reputation, graduate outcomes, employer reputation, student-to-staff ratio, research output and internationalisation.

Currently, ANU is ranked: