Professor Michael Coper FAAL

Emeritus Professor
BA LLB (Hons) (Syd); PhD (NSW); Barrister NSW; Barrister & Solicitor ACT
+61 2 6125 8143
Room 303

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Research Theme

Biography

Professor Michael Coper succeeded Leslie Zines in 1995 as Professor of Constitutional Law at the ANU. Michael was a founding member of the UNSW Law Faculty in the 1970s, a member of the Inter-State Commission in the 1980s, and had a stint in private practice in the early 1990s. He served in all these capacities as one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers, and maintained his interest in the area notwithstanding his long tenure as Dean of the ANU College of Law from 1998-2012.

Professor Coper came to prominence with his prize-winning 1983 book Freedom of Interstate Trade under the Australian Constitution, which was influential in the High Court’s change of direction five years later in the landmark case of Cole v Whitfield, in which Professor Coper also appeared as counsel. His 1987 book Encounters with the Australian Constitution was received to great acclaim, as was the project he conceived and co-edited to fruition in 2001, the comprehensive Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia.

In addition to his core interest in constitutional law and the judicial process, Professor Coper’s current research extends to legal biography, oral history, and law, philosophy and the photographic image. With colleagues he has conducted interviews of former judges and others to create an oral history of the High Court, and has also written extensively about legal education.

Significant research publications

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Recent news

03
May
2017
Rachael Grivas

At the beginning of her final semester, Juris Doctor graduate Rachael found out she had breast cancer. She would have been forgiven for putting her studies aside, however, finishing her degree turned out to be an essential distraction.

08
Mar
2017
ANU Law staff

After a long and illustrious career, ANU College of Law Professor Michael Coper FAAL has transitioned to Professor Emeritus following his recent retirement.

30
Nov
2016
Professor Michael Coper

On Friday 2 December a conference celebrating the achievements of Michael Coper will be held in the Common Room, University House. Michael is a “big picture” person whose vision has always focused on the future. The conference’s title, “New Ways Forward”, with its tone of energy and optimism, could not be more fitting for an event celebrating the career of Michael Coper and reinforcing the continuing beneficial effects of his achievements.

27
Jul
2016
Professor Bill Andreen

The ANU-Alabama Joint Summer Program started as the brainchild of two mates and has grown to become one of the most sought after law student exchanges.

Past events

02
Dec
2016
Professor Michael Coper
12.00AM Conference

A conference in honour of Professor Michael Coper.

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

Research biography

Professor Michael Coper succeeded Leslie Zines in 1995 as Professor of Constitutional Law at the ANU. Michael was a founding member of the UNSW Law Faculty in the 1970s, a member of the Inter-State Commission in the 1980s, and had a stint in private practice in the early 1990s. He served in all these capacities as one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers, and maintained his interest in the area notwithstanding his long tenure as Dean of the ANU College of Law from 1998-2012.

Professor Coper came to prominence with his prize-winning 1983 book Freedom of Interstate Trade under the Australian Constitution, which was influential in the High Court’s change of direction five years later in the landmark case of Cole v Whitfield, in which Professor Coper also appeared as counsel. His 1987 book Encounters with the Australian Constitution was received to great acclaim, as was the project he conceived and co-edited to fruition in 2001, the comprehensive Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia.

In addition to his core interest in constitutional law and the judicial process, Professor Coper’s current research extends to legal biography, oral history, and law, philosophy and the photographic image. With colleagues he has conducted interviews of former judges and others to create an oral history of the High Court, and has also written extensively about legal education.

Research projects & collaborations

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Grants

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Consultancies

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Books & edited collections

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Book chapters

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Refereed journal articles

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Conference papers & presentations

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Commissioned reports

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Government submissions

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Committees

External Organisations

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Internal ANU Committees

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Case notes & book reviews

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Other

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Currently supervising

PhD supervision

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SJD supervision

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MPhil supervision

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LLM Masters thesis supervision

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Honours thesis supervision

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Internship supervision

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Past courses

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