Professor Fiona Wheeler FAAL

Emeritus Professor
BA LLB (Hons); PhD (ANU)
+61 2 6125 4167
Room 311A

home icon ANU College of Law, Bld 7, Fellows Rd, Acton ACT 2601

mail icon ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Rd, Acton ACT 2601

 

Research Theme

Biography

Fiona Wheeler is an Emeritus Professor in the ANU College of Law, ANU. She joined the ANU in 1990 and served in the College as Sub-Dean (2000-2003), Director of Research (2006-2008), Head of School (July-December 2009) and Deputy Dean (January 2010-June 2014), serving as Acting Dean on numerous occasions. She has been a member of many College and University committees and served as Chair, ANU Academic Board (2012-2014). Prior to her appointment to ANU she was an Associate to Justice Mary Gaudron, High Court of Australia (1989-1990).

Fiona is a scholar of the Australian Constitution and has researched and published on public law issues for over two decades. She has a particular interest in courts and the judicial system and the history of the High Court of Australia. Her doctorate on the separation of judicial power under the Australian Constitution was awarded the ANU JG Crawford Prize (2000). She has been an Honorary Harold White Fellow, National Library of Australia (2009), delivered a High Court Public Lecture (2011) and the Winterton Memorial Lecture (2014). In 2015, she was a visitor at the Constitution Unit, University College London. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a member of the Board of Advisers, Public Law Review.

Fiona’s recent research explores evolving conceptions of judicial independence, combining perspectives from law, politics and history to chart the sometimes uncertain boundaries between the ‘legal’ and ‘political’ domains inhabited by Australia's judges. This work has included a study, based on personal papers, of Sir John Latham’s extra-judicial advising; analyses of the wartime work undertaken by High Court judges in the executive branch; and an examination of the constitutionality, under contemporary doctrine, of state judges continuing to serve as Royal Commissioners and in other extra-judicial roles. In addition, Fiona continues to research and write on due process under the Australian Constitution.

Appointments

  • Deputy Dean, ANU College of Law (January 2010-June 2014)
  • Chair, ANU Academic Board (2012-2014)
  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Law (from 2010)

Significant research publications

  • Dan Meagher, Amelia Simpson, James Stellios and Fiona Wheeler, Hanks Australian Constitutional Law: Materials and Commentary (10th ed) (2016) Lexis Nexis Butterworths, Australia
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Constitutional Limits on Extra-Judicial Activity by State Judges: Wainohu and Conundrums of Incompatibility’ (2015) 37 Sydney Law Review 301-27
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘The Latham Court: Law, War and Politics’ in Rosalind Dixon and George Williams (eds), The High Court, the Constitution and Australian Politics (2015) Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 159-178
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘“Anomalous Occurrences in Unusual Circumstances”? Extra-Judicial Activity by High Court Justices: 1903 to 1945’ (2013) 24 Public Law Review 125-141
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Sir John Latham’s Extra-Judicial Advising’ (2011) 35 Melbourne University Law Review 651-676
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Parachuting In: War and Extra-Judicial Activity by High Court Judges’ (2010) 38 Federal Law Review 485-502

 

Recent news

27
Sep
2017
Fiona Wheeler
One of a growing number of ANU Law academics who has forged a highly successful career at her alma mater, Fiona Wheeler (BA ’87, LLB (Hons) ’89, PhD ’99) has a unique perspective on the institution that she both studied and taught with.

Past events

08-09
Sep
2017
Event image
9.00AM to 1.00PM Conference

The ANU Centre for Commercial Law and Centre for International and Public Law are proud to announce a conference to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Federal Court of Australia. 

16
Jun
2016
Sydney Alumni event
6.00PM to 8.00PM Reception
  • Professor Stephen Bottomley

Professor Stephen Bottomley, Dean of the ANU College of Law, invites you to the inaugural Sydney Law Alumni Reception for alumni living and working in Sydney.

Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.

Research biography

Fiona Wheeler is a scholar of the Australian Constitution and has researched and published on public law issues for over two decades. She has a particular interest in courts and the judicial system and the history of the High Court of Australia. Her doctorate on the separation of judicial power under the Australian Constitution was awarded the ANU JG Crawford Prize (2000). She has been an Honorary Harold White Fellow, National Library of Australia (2009), delivered a High Court Public Lecture (2011) and the Winterton Memorial Lecture (2014). In 2015, she was a visitor at the Constitution Unit, University College London. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a member of the Board of Advisers, Public Law Review.

Fiona’s recent research explores evolving conceptions of judicial independence, combining perspectives from law, politics and history to chart the sometimes uncertain boundaries between the ‘legal’ and ‘political’ domains inhabited by Australia's judges. This work has included a study, based on personal papers, of Sir John Latham’s extra-judicial advising; analyses of the wartime work undertaken by High Court judges in the executive branch; and an examination of the constitutionality, under contemporary doctrine, of state judges continuing to serve as Royal Commissioners and in other extra-judicial roles. In addition, Fiona continues to research and write on due process under the Australian Constitution.

Grants

  • Chief Investigator on 2006-2010 ARC Linkage Grant for project ‘Judicially Speaking: An Oral History of the High Court of Australia’ (with Professor Michael Coper and Professor John Williams); Collaborating Organisations High Court of Australia and National Library of Australia

Books & edited collections

  • Dan Meagher, Amelia Simpson, James Stellios and Fiona Wheeler, Hanks Australian Constitutional Law: Materials and Commentary (10th ed) (2016) Lexis Nexis Butterworths, Australia

  • Brian Opeskin and Fiona Wheeler (eds), The Australian Federal Judicial System (2000) Melbourne University Press, Melbourne

Book chapters

  • Fiona Wheeler, 'Due Process' in Cheryl Saunders and Adrienne Stone (eds), Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution (2018) Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
  • Fiona Wheeler, 'Kitto, Sir Frank Walters (1903-1994)' in Australian Dictionary of Biography (forthcoming, anticipated online publication late 2017)
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘The Latham Court: Law, War and Politics’ in Rosalind Dixon and George Williams (eds), The High Court, the Constitution and Australian Politics (2015) Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 159-178
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘The Separation of Judicial Power and Progressive Interpretation’ in Peter Gerangelos and HP Lee (eds), Constitutional Advancement in a Frozen Continent (2009) The Federation Press, Sydney, 222-244
  • Fiona Wheeler and John Williams, ‘“Restrained Activism” in the High Court of Australia’ in Brice Dickson (ed), Judicial Activism in Common Law Supreme Courts (2007) Oxford University Press, Oxford, 19-67
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘BLF v Minister for Industrial Relations: The Limits of State Legislative and Judicial Power’ in George Winterton (ed), State Constitutional Landmarks (2006) The Federation Press, Sydney, 362-389
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘The Boilermakers Case’ in HP Lee and George Winterton (eds), Australian Constitutional Landmarks (2003) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 160-179

Refereed journal articles

  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Constitutional Limits on Extra-Judicial Activity by State Judges: Wainohu and Conundrums of Incompatibility’ (2015) 37 Sydney Law Review 301-27
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘“Anomalous Occurrences in Unusual Circumstances”? Extra-Judicial Activity by High Court Justices: 1903 to 1945’ (2013) 24 Public Law Review 125-141
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Sir John Latham’s Extra-Judicial Advising’ (2011) 35 Melbourne University Law Review 651-676
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Parachuting In: War and Extra-Judicial Activity by High Court Judges’ (2010) 38 Federal Law Review 485-502
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Commonwealth Power Over Infrastructure: Constitutional Tools for National Economic Regulation’ (2007) 2 Public Policy 195-209

Conference papers & presentations

  • 'The Federal Court of Australia and Extra-Judicial Work', Fortieth Anniversary of the Federal Court of Australia Conference, Centre for International and Public Law and Centre for Commercial Law (ANU), Sydney, 8 September 2017
  • 'The French Court and the Kable Doctrine', presentation at Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies Constitutional Law Conference, Melbourne Law School, Melbourne, 21 July 2017
  • Speaker, 'Plaintiff M68/2015 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection', seminar presented by Centre for International and Public Law, Centre for Commercial Law, and Australian Association for Constitutional Law, ANU College of Law, Canberra, 23 March 2016
  • Extra-Judicial Activities by High Court Judges in Wartime’, presentation at ‘Centenary of ANZAC Legal History Symposium – Law, War, Memory: The Nation, the Profession and Defence’, School of Law, UNE and Centre for Military and Security Law, ANU, Armidale, NSW, 10 November 2015
  • ‘Extra-Judicial Activities – A Constitutional Perspective’, presentation at Supreme Court of NSW Annual Conference 2015, Bowral, NSW, 5 September 2015
  • ‘Constitutional Limits on Extra-Judicial Activity by State Judges’, presentation at ‘Judicial Independence in Australia: Contemporary Challenges, Future Directions Conference’, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, 11 July 2015
  • ‘Using Judges to Conduct Royal Commissions: Principle, Policy and Pragmatism’, Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department Constitutional Law Symposium, Rydges Capital Hill, Canberra, 15 April 2014
  • ‘“Judges as Royal Commissioners” Reprised: The Involvement of Australian Judges in Extra-Judicial Work’, George Winterton Memorial Lecture, Supreme Court of NSW, Sydney, 13 February 2014

Case notes & book reviews

  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Book Review: Philip Ayres, Owen Dixon’ (2003) 31 Federal Law Review 415-420
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Book Review: Richard Ely (ed, with Marcus Haward and James Warden), A Living Force: Andrew Inglis Clark and the Ideal of Commonwealth’ (2002) 13 Public Law Review 228-230
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Book Review: The Hon Murray Gleeson, The Rule of Law and the Constitution’ (2001) 16 Australasian Parliamentary Review 219-221
  • Fiona Wheeler, ‘Common Law Native Title in Australia – An Analysis of Mabo v Queensland [No.2]’ (1993) 21 Federal Law Review 271-278

Currently supervising

Honours thesis supervision

I am willing to supervise in the areas:

  • constitutional law; history of the High Court of Australia

Previous courses

Year Course code Course name
2016 LAWS2202
Class #7379
Commonwealth Constitutional Law
2016 LAWS6202
Class #8601
Commonwealth Constitutional Law

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