New ways forward

Date & time
Friday 2 December 2016

Common Room

University House, Balmain Crescent, The Australian National University, Canberra


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.

Nicole Harman
Professor Michael Coper
PHOTO: National Schools Constitutional Convention 2016

Reform and renewal in constitutional interpretation and legal education

A conference in honour of Professor Michael Coper

Michael Coper has had a distinguished career as a constitutional lawyer and educationalist, from influencing a dramatic change in the law on section 92 of the Constitution, to conceiving the pioneering Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia, to urging law schools, nationally and internationally, to embrace a pervasive ethos of law reform, social justice and public service. 

In the year of his 70th birthday, the ANU College of Law is celebrating Michael’s career by holding a conference with the general theme of reform and renewal in constitutional interpretation and legal education, using as a launch pad select aspects of Michael’s contributions in these areas. Over 20 eminent speakers will range over new and different ways of thinking about and doing law and legal education, from the vagaries of legal doctrine, to the realities of the judicial process, to the insights we can draw from biography and imagery, to the purposes and values that underpin the role of law schools. 

Michael is a graduate of Sydney Law School, was one of the founders of the UNSW Law School, and, following stints of government service and private practice, was Dean of the ANU College of Law for a record term of fifteen years. He has now returned to the classroom, to challenge, provoke and inspire the students he first confronted 45 years ago.    


Full registration - $255
Student & concession - $90

Dinner (optional) - $120
Book (optional) - $50

CPD points

CPD points available for this event.


  • Dr Andrew Bell SC »

    Andrew Bell SC is a Sydney barrister with a diverse national practice although he is best known for his expertise in transnational litigation and private international law. He was the Rhodes Scholar for NSW in 1990, a dual university medallist at Sydney University and the Vinerian Scholar at Oxford University where he obtained his BCL in 1993 and doctorate in 1994.  He is an Adjunct Professor at Sydney University, a member of the NSW Bar Council and is also the Chairman of Sculpture by the Sea.  In 1990-1991, he was Associate to Sir Anthony Mason.

  • Prof Duncan Bentley »

    Duncan Bentley has engaged in international law and legal education for over 30 years, including eight years as Dean of Law at Bond University. He is currently involved in several representative groups for the Law Council of Australia, primarily focusing on international legal education and the practice of law internationally

    Professor Bentley is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor International at Swinburne University of Technology. He is a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of New South Wales, an Emeritus Professor at Victoria University, Melbourne, and Adjunct Professor at Bond University. He has served in senior executive roles in several Australian universities.

    Professor Bentley is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, an Honorary Fellow of the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners and a Fellow of the Institutes of Chartered of Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, and England and Wales. He publishes and presents widely on legal education and his major research area in taxpayers’ rights. 

  • Prof Tony Blackshield »

    Tony Blackshield AO taught in the 1960s at the University of Sydney Law School.  In the 1970s (along with Michael Coper) he was one of the founding members of the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales.  Thereafter he was Professor of Legal Studies at La Trobe University, and Professor of Law at Macquarie University.  He is an Honorary Professor of the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi.

    Tony has written extensively on jurisprudential and constitutional issues. He was also a frequent public commentator, notably on “the Dismissal” of 11 November 1975 and “the Murphy affair” of 1984-1986.

  • Prof Stephen Bottomley »

    Stephen Bottomley is Dean of the ANU College of Law, and Professor of Commercial Law at the Australian National University. He has been a member of law school at ANU since 1988, having previously taught corporate and commercial law for a number of years in Sydney.  Prior to commencing the Deanship in January 2013, he served the College in a number of capacities, including as Associate Dean and Head of School (2005-2009); and Head of School (2011-2012).  He was the inaugural Director of the College's Centre for Commercial Law (1998-2005). 

    From 2000 to 2012 he was the legal advisor to the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.  He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.  His areas of research interest are corporate law and governance in the private and public sectors; law and regulation; and delegated legislation.  His teaching record covers postgraduate and undergraduate courses in corporate and takeovers law; and corporate governance.

  • Prof Hilary Charlesworth »

    Hilary Charlesworth is a Melbourne Laureate Professor at Melbourne Law School and Distinguished Professor in the Regulatory Institutions Network at the ANU. Her areas of research include international law and human rights law at both international and national levels.

  • Prof Richard Chisholm »

    Richard Chisholm was a founding member of the Law School at UNSW in 1970, where he came to specialise in family law and children’s law. In 1993 he was appointed a Judge of the Family Court of Australia based at the Sydney registry.  Since retirement from the bench in 2004, he moved to Canberra, where he is an Adjunct Professor at the ANU College of Law. 

    From the 1970’s, when he was a founding member of the children’s rights group Action for Children, and also of the Aboriginal Legal Service, he has continued to research and publish on family law topics and work with various bodies associated with law reform and children’s rights.  He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2009.  He has recently worked with the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department on a number of projects, including The Family Courts Violence Review (2009).

  • Prof Michael Coper »

    Prof Michael Coper graduated with Arts and Law (Hons) degrees from the University of Sydney in 1969, spent 1970 as Myer Foundation Fellow at the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur, and became one of the seven ‘founding fathers’ of the UNSW Law School when he was appointed to that fledgling institution in its first year of teaching in 1971. After nearly two decades at UNSW, which included a year as Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Virginia in 1978, he moved to Canberra in 1988 to take up his appointment as a Member of the Inter-State Commission, a constitutionally-mandated but curiously ephemeral body, which conducted inquiries into regulatory reform of interstate land transport and the operation of the Australian waterfront.

    When in 1991 the second iteration of the Inter-State Commission was returned to the oblivion to which the Wheat Case had effectively condemned it in 1915, he joined Sly & Weigall in Canberra as Director of Government Advising and remained in private practice until 1995, when he was appointed to the ANU as Professor of Constitutional Law following the retirement of Professor Leslie Zines. Michael was Dean of the ANU College of Law from 1998 to 2012, championing in particular the values of academic excellence, collegiality, law reform and social justice, and internationalisation.

    Michael’s books include Freedom of Interstate Trade under the Australian Constitution (1983), Encounters with the Australian Constitution (1987), and The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia (co-edited with Tony Blackshield and George Williams, 2001). He has appeared as counsel in a number of cases in the High Court, including the revolutionary Cole v Whitfield (1988), and argued the very first case brought by a non-claimant in the Native Title Tribunal. He was Chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans (2005-2007), Vice President of the International Association of Law Schools (2011-2014), is a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and, since 1999, a member of the American Law Institute.    

  • Prof Rosalind Dixon »

    Rosalind Dixon is Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Director of the Comparative Constitutional Law Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, and deputy director of the Herbert Smith Freehills Initiative on Law and Economics, a joint initiative of the Faculty of Law at UNSW and the Australian School of Business 

    Her main research interests are in comparative constitutional law, constitutional design, socio-economic rights as well as law and gender. She is the Co-Editor of Comparative Constitutional Law (2011), and Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia (2014), leading handbooks in the field of comparative constitutional law, series co-editor of the Edward Elgar series on Constitutional and Administrative Law, on the editorial board of the Public Law Review, and associate editor of the Constitutions of the World series for Hart publishing.

  • Prof Kim Economides »

    Kim Economides is Professor of Law and Dean at Flinders Law School. Previously, Professor of Legal Ethics (2000-09) and Head of Law (1999-2004); Director, Exeter University Centre for Legal Interdisciplinary Development (EUCLID) (1989-93) and Acting Director, Centre for Legal Practice, (2005-06), University of Exeter, Devon, UK; Professor of Law and Founding Director, Legal Issues Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (2009-12). Kim studied law in London and was one of the first researchers at the European University Institute in Italy where he worked on the Florence Access to Justice Project (1976-79). 

    Kim co-directed the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded Access to Justice in Rural Britain Project (1983-1987). Founding Secretary (1990-92) and Vice Chair (1992-93) Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA). From 1993-95 he was seconded as Education Secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education & Conduct (ACLEC). He was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Hamlyn Trust (2004-09) and Series Editor, The Hamlyn Lectures (2005-10). He was Founding General Editor of Legal Ethics (1998-2008) and in 2004 helped establish the International Legal Ethics Conference (ILEC) series that meets biennially. He served as President of the International Association of Legal Ethics (IAOLE) (2014-16). 

  • Prof Bill Ford »

    Bill Ford is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Western Australia, where he continues to teach into the Law School's postgraduate programmes. He is a graduate of the University of Western Australia and the University of New South Wales and has worked at the University of Melbourne and the High Court of Australia. Bill was Dean of Law and Head of School for ten years, from 2001 until 2011, and Chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans for three years from 2008 until 2010. His principal areas of teaching and research are employment law and labour law.

  • Justice Stephen Gageler »

    Stephen John Gageler was appointed to the High Court in October 2012. At the time of his appointment he was Solicitor-General of Australia. He is a graduate of the Australian National University and has post-graduate qualifications from Harvard University. He was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1989 and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2000. Before his appointment as Solicitor-General in 2008, he practised as a barrister extensively throughout Australia principally in constitutional law, administrative law and commercial law.

  • Justice Michelle Gordon »

    Michelle Marjorie Gordon was appointed to the High Court of Australia in June 2015.  At the time of her appointment, she was a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, a position to which she was appointed in April 2007.

    Her Honour was born and educated in Perth.  She graduated in law from the University of Western Australia.  She did her Articles at Robinson & Cox (now Clayton Utz) and was admitted to practise in Western Australia in 1987.  She moved to Melbourne in 1988 and worked at Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks for four years.  She was appointed a Senior Associate of that firm in 1992 and later that year joined the Victorian Bar.  She was appointed Senior Counsel in 2003.  She practised in state and federal courts principally in commercial, equity, taxation and general civil matters.  She was appointed a Professorial Fellow of the Melbourne Law School in July 2015, where she has taught in the Masters Course since 1999.

  • Dr Ryan Goss »

    Ryan Goss is a Senior Lecturer at the ANU College of Law, working on public law and human rights law. Before joining the ANU in 2013, Ryan was Junior Research Fellow in Law at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. His book on European human rights law, Criminal Fair Trial Rights (Hart, 2014) was longlisted for the Inner Temple Book Prize 2015, and shortlisted for the Birks Prize 2015.

  • Prof Helen Irving »

    Helen Irving is a Professor of Law at the University of Sydney, where she teaches Australian and United States Constitutional Law. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She has researched and written about Australian constitutional law, history, and interpretation, for more than two decades, and was prominent in public events surrounding the Centenary of Federation, the Australian republic campaign, and the Bill of Rights debate.

    Her publications include To Constitute a Nation (1997/1999), Five Things to Know about the Australian Constitution (2004) and, as editor, The Centenary Companion to Australian Federation (1999) (all Cambridge University Press). More recently, she was among the pioneers in developing a gender equality framework for assessing constitutional design, in Gender and the Constitution (Cambridge 2008). Her latest publication, on the history of laws governing married women’s citizenship is Citizenship, Alienage and the Modern Constitutional State (Cambridge 2016).

    She is currently editing a Handbook on Constitutions and Gender for Edward Elgar Publishing. In 2003, she was awarded the Centenary Medal and, in 2005-2006, held the Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University. In 2015, she held a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship at the European University Institute. She attributes her career in constitutional law to reading Michael Coper's Encounters with the Australian Constitution in 1987, while teaching Australian politics at Macquarie University.  

  • Hon Michael Kirby »

    When he retired from the High Court of Australia on 2 February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge.

    He was first appointed in 1975 as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission.  Soon after, he was seconded as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84).  Later, he was appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, then President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (1984-96) and, concurrently, President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995-6).  His appointment to the High Court of Australia came in 1996 and he served thirteen years.  In later years, he was Acting Chief Justice of Australia twice.

    In addition to his judicial duties, Michael Kirby has served on three university governing bodies being elected Chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney (1984-93).  He also served on many national and international bodies.  Amongst the latter have been service as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Commission on AIDS (1988-92); as President of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva (1995-8); as UN Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-6); as a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (1995-2005); as a member of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Judicial Reference Group (2007- 9) and as a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights(2004-). 

    Following his judicial retirement, Michael Kirby was elected President of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia from 2009-2010.  He served as a Board Member of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (2009-14).  In 2010, he was appointed to the Australian Panel of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank).  He has been appointed Honorary Visiting Professor by twelve universities. And he participates regularly in many local and international conferences and meetings.  He has been awarded a number of honorary doctorates at home and abroad.  He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Laws of Australia (2009 - ). 

    He served 2011-12 as a member of the Eminent Persons Group on the future of the Commonwealth of Nations. He was a Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission of HIV and the Law 2011-2012.  He was appointed to the Advisory Council of Transparency International, based in Berlin in 2012.  In 2013- 2014, he was appointed Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in North Korea.  He also served as a Commissioner of the UNAIDS Lancet Commission on AIDS to the Right to Health (2013-2014) and of the Global Fund’s Equitable Access Panel (2015-16).

    In December 2015 he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General to be a member of the United Nations High Level Panel on Health Technology Innovation and Access.  At the same time he was appointed to chair the Expert Advisory Group of the High Level Panel.  The Panel is expected to report to the Secretary-General in 2016.  He was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize in 2010 and has been Patron of the Kirby Institute on Blood Borne Diseases in UNSW Sydney, Australia since 2011.

  • Prof Desmond Manderson »

    Desmond Manderson is jointly appointed in the ANU Colleges of Law and of Arts & Social Sciences at the Australian National University. He is an international leader in inter-disciplinary legal scholarship and his books include From Mr Sin to Mr Big (1993); Songs Without Music: Aesthetic dimensions of law and justice (2000); Proximity, Levinas, and the Soul of Law (2006); and Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law (2012). Since returning to Australia in 2012 he has continued his work on aesthetics and law. Concepts of Law and Time in the Visual Arts (Cambridge University Press) will appear next year. 

  • Sir Anthony Mason »

    The Honourable Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE GBM was a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1972 to 1987 and Chief Justice from 1987 to 1995.  He was Commonwealth Solicitor General from 1964 to 1969 and a Judge of the NSW Court of Appeal from 1969 to 1972.  He has been Chancellor of UNSW, National Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU, a Judge of the Supreme Court of Fiji and President of the Solomon Islands Court of Appeal.   In 1996-1997 he was Arthur Goodhart Professor in Legal Science at Cambridge University. Since 2001 he has been Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the ANU College of Law. Sir Anthony was a non-permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal from 1997 until 2015.  Sir Anthony holds Honorary Doctorates from the Australian National University and Sydney, Melbourne, Monash, Griffith and Deakin Universities, UNSW and the Universities of Oxford and Hong Kong. 

  • Hon Keith Mason »

    Keith Mason AC QC was at law school with Michael Coper and appeared with him in the landmark section 92 case of Cole v Whitfield. He practised at the Sydney Bar between 1972 and 1985 before becoming, in succession, the Chair of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission, Solicitor-General for New South Wales and President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. Since 2007 he has been a visiting professorial fellow at the University of New South Wales, a mediator and chair of the New South Wales Electoral Commission. His publications include two Australian legal miscellanies, Lawyers Then and Now; and Old Law New Law.

  • Mr Russell Miller »

    Russell Miller AM graduated in law (with honours) at the ANU following which he went into private practice, ultimately as Chair of Minter Ellison. He and Professor Coper worked closely together in private practice advising the government prior to Professor Coper joining the ANU.  Russell Miller tutored in corporate law at ANU and taught various commercial law subjects at the ANU Legal Workshop, where he spent 6 months as the acting director. He has been an adjunct professor at the ANU and at the University of Canberra and a senior fellow in the Melbourne University Law School. 

    He is the author of Miller’s Australian Competition and Consumer Law Annotated (38th ed 2016) and Miller’s Australian Competition Law and Policy (3rd ed in preparation).  He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and of the Centre for Strategy and Governance.

  • Prof Brian Opeskin »

    Brian Opeskin is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean (Research) at the University of Technology Sydney. Prior to joining UTS, he held positions as: Professor of Legal Governance at Macquarie University; Head of the Law School at the University of the South Pacific in Vanuatu; Deputy President of the Australian Law Reform Commission; Associate Professor at Sydney University; and Associate to Justice Mason at the High Court of Australia. He undertook his undergraduate study in economics and law at the University of New South Wales; postgraduate study in law at Oxford University; and holds a Masters degree in demography.

    He researches in the broad field of public law and has written widely on constitutional law; courts, judges and jurisdiction; and international migration law.

  • Dr Heather Roberts »

    Heather Roberts is a lecturer at the ANU College of Law where she teaches constitutional law and property law. After completing her undergraduate degree at the ANU, Heather worked as a solicitor at Freehills in Canberra. She returned to the law school in 2002 as a PhD student and tutor in property law.

    Heather’s research interests are in judicial biography and constitutional law. Her PhD explored the constitutional philosophy of Justice Deane, a member of the High Court of Australia between 1982 and 1995. She then continued her passion for judicial biography as a research fellow with Professor AJ Brown on his award-winning biography of Justice Michael Kirby (co-incidentally, Justice Deane’s successor on the High Court).

    Heather’s current research picks up a thread from her PhD, the speeches made at judicial swearing-in ceremonies. Focusing on judges of Australian federal courts, she is exploring how speeches made at judicial swearing-in ceremonies shed light on the Australian legal and judicial system. That research recently featured in Radio National's Law Report Program 'Judge's Maiden Speeches'.

  • Prof Simon Rice »

    Simon Rice OAM is a Professor at the ANU College of Law, where he is director of law reform and social justice activity (a role created by Michael Coper). Before his academic life, Simon worked for many years in community legal centres, legal aid, access to justice research and policy, law reform, and human rights advocacy. 

    Simon has been director of the NSW Law and Justice Foundation, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, and legal adviser to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.  He chairs the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council and is editor of the Human Rights section of the Australian Law Journal. He is a co-author of Australian Anti-Discrimination Law and of The International Law of Human Rights, and is co-editor of Social Work in the Shadow of the Law.  He was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia for legal services to the economically and socially disadvantaged.

  • Prof Kim Rubenstein »

    Kim Rubenstein is a Professor in the ANU College of Law and an ANU Public Policy Fellow.  The second edition of her landmark book Australian Citizenship Law in Context is due out in December 2016, and she is the co-series editor and co-editor of each volume of the Cambridge University Press six volume series Connecting International law with Public law. In a constitutional context she has been lead counsel in two High Court matters; on the special leave application to the Court from Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs v Walsh (2002) 189 ALR 694 and in Re Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs; Ex parte Ame (2005) 222 CLR 439.  She was also junior counsel to the solicitor general in Singh v Commonwealth (2004) 222 CLR 322.  

    Internationally, she has participated in legal and policy work on statelessness and on citizenship by descent policy and she has been involved in two amici submissions before the United States Supreme Court. In 2012 she was recognized in the first batch of the Australian Financial Review’s and Westpac’s “100 women of influence” for her work on public policy. 

    She is currently completing a major ARC oral history project on Trailblazing Women and the Law, which has led to a significant new online exhibition – Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens

  • A/Prof Amelia Simpson »

    Associate Professor Amelia Simpson is currently the Sub-Dean LLB & JD programs at the ANU College of Law.

    Amelia is one of Australia’s leading scholars of discrimination and equality principles in constitutional law. Her published research on interstate free trade doctrine has been cited and quoted with approval by pluralities in Australia’s High Court and Federal Court.

    In 2016 Amelia has written on Parliaments, for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Australian Constitutional Law, and on constitutional non-discrimination principles, for a forthcoming collection on functionalism in the High Court. She is also co-author of the recently released 10th edition of Hanks Australian Constitutional Law Materials and Commentary.

  • Prof James Stellios »

    Dr James Stellios is a Professor at the ANU College of Law. His primary research interest is constitutional law, and he has published widely in that field. He is the Director of the Centre for International and Public Law. James is also a barrister at the NSW Bar and has appeared as junior counsel in a number of High Court and lower court cases. Prior to joining the ANU, he spent a number of years in legal practice working for the Attorney-General's Department and the Australian Government Solicitor, principally in the area of constitutional litigation. He has also been Counsel Assisting the Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth.

  • Prof Adrienne Stone »

    Adrienne Stone is a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow and a Professor at Melbourne Law School where she also directs the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies. Her research focusses on comparative constitutional law and theory with particular attention to freedom of expression and the tensions between diversity and social cohesion in liberal democracies.  She has published widely in international journals including in the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Toronto Law Journal and in theOxford Journal of Legal Studies.

    Her recent publications include Small Brown Bird: Values, Aspirations and the Australian Constitution (with Elisa Arcioni) in the International Journal of Constitutional Law and Constitutional Orthodoxy: The Deepening Divide in the Melbourne University Law Review.  With Cheryl Saunders AO she is editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on the Australian Constitution.

    She is First Vice President of the International Association of Constitutional Law; Vice President of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law and is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

  • Mr Garry Sturgess »

    Garry Sturgess practised as a barrister but has worked mainly in media and publishing including Law Reporter, The Age, Presenter The Law Report (ABC Radio National) and Senior Reporter Legal Times (Washington DC.) He is the co-author of Judging the World: Law and Politics in the World’s Leading Courts (1988), the co-editor of Legal Visions of the 21st Century: Essays in Honour of Judge Christopher Weeramantry,  and the author of Murphy and the Media in Lionel Murphy: Radical Judge. He researched The Hawke Memoirs and was Associate Producer of BBC Television’s The Republic of Oz, which Hawke presented.

    He created the Radio National series Prime Minister (1980), and was Senior Researcher of the ABC’s five-part television series Labor In Power (Gold Walkley, Silver Logie) and produced the BBC version. He was the originator & co-creator of the SBS Television’s award-winning series Liberal Rule: The Politics that Changed Australia.  Garry is a regular interviewer for the Oral History and Folklore branch of the National Library of Australia. His film  Barry Jones In search of Lost Time is now in post-production. The Garry Sturgess Collection is held in the National Library. 

  • Prof John Williams »

    Professor John Williams is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Operations) at the University of Adelaide. Prior to this he was the Dean of the Adelaide Law School. At some point he was also Professor Michael Coper’s PhD student.

  • Prof George Williams »

    George Williams AO is the Dean, the Anthony Mason Professor, and a Scientia Professor at UNSW Law.

    He has written and edited 34 books, including Australian Constitutional Law and Theory, The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia and Human Rights under the Australian Constitution. He has appeared as a barrister in the High Court in many cases over the past two decades, including on freedom of speech, freedom from racial discrimination and the rule of law. He has also appeared in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Fiji, including on the legality of the 2000 coup.

    George is a well-known media commentator on legal issues. He has been a columnist for The Australian and the Canberra Times and an on-air analyst for ABC Television, and is a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald. He also reviews science fiction and fantasy books for The Weekend Australian and Books and Arts Daily on ABC Radio National.

    George was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011: ‘For distinguished service to the law in the fields of anti-terrorism, human rights and constitutional law as an academic, author, adviser and public commentator.’

  • Dr Asmi Wood »

    Asmi Wood is the Indigenous Academic Adviser and also teaches at the ANU law School.

Additional Materials

Past Sessions


9.00am to 9.30am Friday 2 December 2016

MC: A/Prof James Stellios

Welcome and introduction: Sir Anthony Mason
Coper’s career and the search for new ways forward: Prof John Williams

Ways of bringing about change: Coper's constitutional cornucopia


9.30am to 11.00am Friday 2 December 2016

Chair: A/Prof Amelia Simpson

The section 92 revolution: Justice Stephen Gageler
The elusive promise of the Inter-State Commission: Dr Andrew Bell SC
The catastrophe of the dismissal: Dr Ryan Goss

Morning tea

Morning tea

11.00am to 11.30am Friday 2 December 2016

Ways of judging: The intractable dilemma of the judicial process

Panel session

11.30am to 1.00pm Friday 2 December 2016

Panel discussion: Legalism, realism, and the tension between legitimacy and credibility

Chair: Justice Michelle Gordon

  • Prof Tony Blackshield
  • Prof Rosalind Dixon
  • The Hon Michael Kirby
  • Prof Adrienne Stone



1.00pm to 2.00pm Friday 2 December 2016

Ways of seeing: Life stories in words and pictures


2.00pm to 3.30pm Friday 2 December 2016

Chair: Prof Kim Rubenstein

Through the lens of biography: Dr Heather Roberts
Through the lens of oral history: Mr Garry Sturgess
Through the lens of an encyclopedia: Prof Helen Irving
Through the lens of images: Prof Desmond Manderson

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea

3.30pm to 4.00pm Friday 2 December 2016

Ways of educating: Purposes, values and leadership


4.00pm to 5.00pm Friday 2 December 2016

Chair: Prof Brian Opeskin

Being a lawyer: Professionalism, values and service: Prof Kim Economides
Being a law dean: Aspiration and reality: Prof Stephen Bottomley
Being a global leader: Challenges of internationalisation: Prof Duncan Bentley

Commentator: Prof Simon Rice

Coper's response


5.00pm to 5.15pm Friday 2 December 2016

Drinks and canapes

6.00pm to 7.00pm Friday 2 December 2016

Drinks and canapés 


Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team