Professor Stephen Bottomley FAAL

Professor
BA LLB (Hons) (Macq.); LLM (UNSW)
+61 2 6125 4125
Room 205

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Research Centre

Biography

Professor of Commercial Law, Stephen Bottomley is an expert in corporate law with particular emphasis on on corporate governance. His main areas of research interest are corporate governance, and law and regulation. He has also published in the areas of corporate theory, corporate regulation and government-owned enterprises.

His 2008 book, The Constitutional Corporation: Rethinking Corporate Governance was awarded the Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize for outstanding piece of socio-legal scholarship in the same year. Amongst his publications, Stephen is the co-author of Contemporary Australian Corporate Law (2018, Cambridge University Press), Law in Context (2011, 4th edn, Federation Press), and Directing the Top 500 - Corporate Governance and Accountability in Australian Companies (1993, Allen and Unwin). Stephen’s article “The Notional Legislator: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Role as a Law-Maker” (2011) 39 Federal Law Review 1, was awarded the 2011 Zines Prize for Excellence in Legal Research.

Stephen was Dean of the ANU College of Law from 2013 to 2017, prior to which he held positions as Head of School and Deputy Dean in the College.

Recent news

29
Nov
2017
Professor Stephen Bottomley, Mary Spiers Williams and Professor Kim Rubenstein at the 2017 ANU Staff Excellence Awards
Awards season is underway at the Australian National University and many of our colleagues in the ANU College of Law have been recognised for the important contribution they make.
22
Nov
2017
Professor Stephen Bottomley and Di Stewart visit the 2017 ANU College of Law renovation site.
The iconic ANU College of Law building is undergoing a substantial renovation.
10
Oct
2017
Book
ANU Law has launched the Unrequired Reading List, a curated list of books, films, texts and artworks intended to complement students’ study of the law.
18
Aug
2017
Kylie Beutel
Third-year Arts/Law student Kylie Beutel takes part in the ACT Supreme Court Indigenous Mentoring Program.

In the Media

4
Sep
2017
Stephen Bottomley On Campus
20
Mar
2017
Stephen Bottomley Australian Financial Review
10
Mar
2016
Stephen Bottomley quoted in PS News
2
Sep
2015
Stephen Bottomley comments in Voice of America

Past events

10
Oct
2017
Unrequired reading list hero
6.30PM to 7.30PM Launch and panel discussion
  • Genevieve Jacobs, host of Mornings on ABC Radio canberra
  • Professor Stephen Bottomley, Dean, ANU College of Law

This list of books and films is an expression of our Law School’s values and a reminder that a well-rounded education does not come solely from prescribed texts and journals. Reading for pleasure, and broadening one's world view, can be a wonderful supplement to the benefits that an education and a career in the law provides.

12
Sep
2017
Book Cover
6.00PM to 7.00PM Book launch
  • Julian Burnside
  • Professor Simon Rice OAM
  • Professor Stephen Bottomley

ANU/THE CANBERRA TIMES MEET THE AUTHOR

In Watching Out, a successor volume to his best-selling Watching Brief, noted barrister and human-rights advocate Julian Burnside explains the origins of our legal system, looks at the way it operates in practice, and points out ways in which does and doesn't run true to its ultimate purposes. Rich with fascinating case studies, and eloquent in its defence of civil society, Watching Out is a beacon of legal liberalism in an intemperate age.

31
Aug
2017
San Francisco Skyline
6.30PM to 8.30PM Reception
  • Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC

Join the University for the 2017 San Francisco ANU Alumni and Friends Reception hosted by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian P Schmidt AC. Professor Stephen Bottomley, Dean ANU College of Law, will be in attendance to meet ANU Law alumni.

29
Aug
2017
Brooklyn Bridge and Skyline
6.30PM to 8.30PM Reception
  • Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC

Join the University for the 2017 New York ANU Alumni and Friends Reception hosted by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian P Schmidt AC. Professor Stephen Bottomley, Dean ANU College of Law, will be in attendance to meet ANU Law alumni.

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

Research biography

Stephen's main areas of research interest are corporate governance and law and regulation. His current research is on the role of shareholders in corporate governance, focusing on the question of shareholder responsibility. He is also investigating the role of shareholder advisory resolutions in achieving better corporate governance outcomes. A separate project involves using cartography as a device to explain the nature of corporate laws and regulation.

Currently supervising

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Reconceptualising the National Security Regulation of Chinese Central State-owned Companies' Investment in Australian Critical Infrastructure Assets

Philosophy & approach

Teaching corporate law in an ethos of social justice

The ANU College of Law commits itself to an ethos of striving for social justice. It would be fair to say that in discussions about social justice and corporations, the corporations are usually cast as ‘the dark side’. They are, it tends to be assumed, a source of social justice problems rather than solutions.

To be fair again, there is a lot that corporations have to answer for, and it is easy to end the discussion right there: corporations are bad (and what does that say about corporate lawyers?) so in our efforts to achieve social justice goals such as fairness, equity, and access let’s direct our attention elsewhere, or simply take an uncompromising stance against corporations.

That would be a big mistake. I don’t think that any serious progress can be made with a social justice agenda unless it includes serious engagement with and understanding of the corporate sector. That is one of my key motivations for teaching and researching corporate law.

This is not just a simple strategy of ‘know thy enemy’ (for one thing, it is an over-simplification to paint all corporations as ‘the enemy’). My belief, instead, comes from thinking about the ‘social’ in ‘social justice’. As I never tire of telling corporate law students at the start of their Corporations Law course, corporations are one of the most – if not the most – significant social (and, of course, economic and political) actors in our society. Corporate law is not just a branch of business law – it is the law that governs a major form of social organisation. Corporate lawyers need to understand that, and so do non-corporate lawyers (by which I mean lawyers who are not corporate lawyers, as well as people who are not lawyers at all).

How ever one defines ‘social justice’, it must be concerned with the responsible exercise of power in society. By ‘responsible’ I mean open, answerable, other-regarding and non-capricious. The exercise of corporate power, as much as government power, must respond to these criteria.

Corporate lawyers who are informed about social justice debates and issues can, I hope, do much to ensure that corporations – and their directors and shareholders - exercise their power responsibility. And social justice lawyers and activists who are informed about corporations and corporate law will have a more finely-tuned appreciation about what can legitimately or practicably be asked of corporations.

Books

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