Associate Professor Stephen Thomson

Associate Professor
LL.B. (Hons.), LL.M. (Res.) (by Thesis), Ph.D., Dip.L.P. (Edinburgh)

home icon

mail icon ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Rd, Acton ACT 2600



Dr Stephen Thomson is an Associate Professor at the ANU College of Law, The Australian National University, where he is also the General Editor of the Federal Law Review.  Previously he was an Associate Professor and Director of Research Postgraduate Programmes at the School of Law, City University of Hong Kong, and an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh (LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D., Dip.L.P.), and held a visiting faculty appointment as a Herbert Smith Freehills Visitor at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Thomson's areas of expertise are in public law, including administrative law, constitutional law and human rights, both domestic and comparative.  His recent work includes multiple contributions on the legal and human rights aspects of COVID-19 regulations, including peer-reviewed papers in interdisciplinary, public health and science journals.  His analysis and recommendations submitted to the UK House of Lords Constitution Committee were adopted in its Report on COVID-19 and the Use and Scrutiny of Emergency Powers.  He is also the Rapporteur for the Hong Kong SAR on The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to COVID-19 project run by University College London, King's College London and the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public Law and International Law. 

Dr Thomson is the author of Administrative Law in Hong Kong (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and The Nobile Officium (Avizandum / Edinburgh University Press, 2015), co-author of the Administrative Law (Reissue) in The Laws of Scotland: The Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia (the most authoritative reference work on Scots law), and author of articles in a range of leading journals including the Oxford Journal of Legal StudiesPublic LawMelbourne University Law ReviewJournal of Law and the Biosciences and Harvard Journal of Law and Technology.


  • General Editor, Federal Law Review
  • Legal Adviser to the Ombudsman of Hong Kong
  • Member, Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights Committee, Law Society of Hong Kong
  • Examiner in Constitutional Law, Overseas Lawyers Qualification Examination, Law Society of Hong Kong

Recent news

Dr Stephen Thomson
Three ANU College of Law scholars have published chapters in a new edited collection that examines the challenges facing ombudsmen and the governance systems within which they operate.

Books & edited collections

S. Thomson, Administrative Law:  A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

S. Thomson, M. Groves & G. Weeks (eds), Administrative Tribunals in the Common Law World (Hart Publishing, forthcoming)

S. Thomson & D. Edwards (eds), Administrative Law (Reissue) in The Laws of Scotland: The Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia (LexisNexis, 2022 forthcoming)

S. Thomson, Administrative Law in Hong Kong (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

S. Thomson, The Nobile Officium: The Extraordinary Equitable Jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts of Scotland (Avizandum / Edinburgh University Press, 2015)

Refereed journal articles

S. Thomson, 'Mask Mandates for Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic:  An International Human Rights Perspective' (2022) 50(6) Scandinavian Journal of Public Health doi: (access accepted version online)

S. Thomson, E.C. Ip & S.F. Lee, 'International Comparisons of COVID-19 Case and Mortality Data and the Effectiveness of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions:  A Plea for Reconsideration' (2021) 54(5) Journal of Biosocial Science 735-741 doi: (access accepted version online)

S. Thomson, 'Ombudsmen As Courts' (2022) 42(1) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 76-103 doi:

S. Thomson & E.C. Ip, 'COVID-19 Emergency Measures and the Impending Authoritarian Pandemic' (2020) 7(1) Journal of Law and the Biosciences 1-33 doi:

S. Thomson & E.C. Ip, 'COVID-19 Emergency Measures are Hurting Democracy Globally' (2020) 110(9) American Journal of Public Health 1356 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Letterhead Bias and the Demographics of Elite Journal Publications' (2020) 33 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 203 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Brexit, Boris Johnson and the Nobile Officium' (2019) 12 Journal of Civil Law Studies 295 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Dare to Diverge: Time for Administrative Law in Hong Kong to Stand on its Own Two Feet' (2019) 7 The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 435 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Going Global: An International Profile of Legal Research in Hong Kong's Law Schools' (2019) 49 Hong Kong Law Journal 29 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'The New Constitutional Disorder: The Unlawful Application of Mainland Chinese Law to Hong Kong' (2018) 54 Texas International Law Journal 115 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Judicial Review and Public Law: Challenging the Preconceptions of a Troubled Taxonomy' (2017) 41 Melbourne University Law Review 890 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'The Public Sector Ombudsman in Greater China: Four 'Chinese' Models of Administrative Supervision' (2017) 39 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 435 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Clutter and Cobwebs: How Administrative Tribunals in Hong Kong can learn from the UK' (2017) 36 Civil Justice Quarterly 363 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'The Doctrinal Core of the Supervisory Jurisdiction of the Court of Session' [2016] Public Law 670 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Leave Without Delay: The Requirement to Make Prompt Application for Leave to Apply for Judicial Review' (2015) 45 Hong Kong Law Journal 449 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'The Nobile Officium: Still Relevant, Still Useful' (2015) Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Mixed Jurisdiction and the Scottish Legal Tradition: Reconsidering the Concept of Mixture' (2014) 7 Journal of Civil Law Studies 51 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'The Nobile Officium in Civil Jurisdiction: An Outline of Equitable Gap-Filling in Scotland' (2014) 29 Tulane European & Civil Law Forum 125 (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Scots Equity and the Nobile Officium' (2010) 2 Juridical Review 93

Book chapters

S. Thomson, M. Groves & G. Weeks, 'The Distinctive Nature of Tribunals' in S. Thomson, M. Groves & G. Weeks (eds), Administrative Tribunals in the Common Law World (Hart Publishing, forthcoming)

S. Thomson, 'A Convenient Inheritance:  Secrecy and Political Control in Postcolonial Hong Kong's Administrative Tribunals' in S. Thomson, M. Groves & G. Weeks (eds), Administrative Tribunals in the Common Law World (Hart Publishing, forthcoming)

S. Thomson, 'The Enforceability of Ombudsman Remedies and Competition with Judicial Review' in M. Groves and A. Stuhmcke (eds), Ombudsmen in the Modern State (Hart Publishing, 2022) 41-61

S. Thomson, E.C. Ip & M. Ramsden, 'Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China' in J. King and O. Ferraz (eds), The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19 (Oxford University Press) (access online)

S. Thomson, 'Governance and Digital Transformation in Hong Kong' in D. Feldner (ed), Redesigning Organizations: Concepts for the Connected Society (Springer) (2020) 229-238

S. Thomson, 'The Impact of English Judicial Review on Scots Judicial Review: A Tale of Resemblance and Distinctiveness' in S. Jhaveri and M. Ramsden (eds), Judicial Review of Administrative Action Across the Common Law World: Origins and Adaptation (Cambridge University Press) (2019) 81-97

Commissioned reports

S. Thomson, 'Discussion Paper on Petition and Summons Procedure: Report for the Rules Rewrite Committee of the Scottish Civil Justice Council' (2016) (commisioned by the Lord President's Private Office / Scottish Civil Justice Council; published as annex to the New Civil Procedure Rules First Report)

PhD supervision

I am willing to supervise in the areas:

  • Administrative law
  • Comparative administrative law
  • Comparative constitutional law
  • UK public law
  • Hong Kong public law

SJD supervision

I am willing to supervise in my areas of research interest.

MPhil supervision

I am willing to supervise in my areas of research interest.

LLM Masters thesis supervision

I am willing to supervise in my areas of research interest.

Honours thesis supervision

I am willing to supervise in my areas of research interest.

Current courses

Year Course code Course name
2023 LAWS1202
Class #7169
Lawyers, Justice and Ethics
2023 LAWS6102
Class #5531
Lawyers, Justice and Ethics

Past courses

  • Administrative Law (LAWS2201 / LAWS6201)
  • Foundations of Australian Law (LAWS1201)

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