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

04
Aug
2017
Road Train
A level playing field must be established for TruckSafe to operate effectively.
24
May
2017
Michael Coper
Emeritus Professor Michael Coper was shocked to encounter widespread misconceptions and stereotypes about law and lawyers when he became Dean of the ANU College of Law in 1998. He recalls the experience in ANU Reporter.
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.

Upcoming events

19
Sep
2017
Women in law_440x220
3.00PM to 5.00PM Seminar
  • Professor Rosemary Auchmuty, University of Reading
  • Professor Margaret Thornton, ANU College of Law
  • Dr Heather Roberts, ANU College of Law

Why does feminist legal biography matter? This sounds like an obvious question with an obvious answer – it matters in the same way that feminist legal history matters, because women and gender concerns have been largely left out of writing about the past, and we need to reclaim them

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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Books

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