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Meet the Fellows 

Welcome to the Australian Academy of Law

The Australian Academy of Law comprises elected individuals of exceptional distinction in the discipline of law who are committed to the advancement of that discipline and to justice according to law in Australia.  

Membership is by invitation by the Board of Directors following nomination by an existing Fellow, together with a Seconder, and consideration and recommendation by the Membership Committee. Fellows are invited from the practising profession, from legal academia and from the judiciary to facilitate collaboration and constructive debate amongst all sections of the legal community. The Academy thereby provides a bridge between all sections of the legal community.   

The objects of the Academy are to:

  • Advance the discipline of law;
  • Establish scholarships and research grants;
  • Promote excellence in legal scholarship, research, education, and the administration of justice;
  • Promote law reform;
  • Promote ethical conduct and professional responsibility;
  • Enhance the understanding and observance of the rule of law;
  • Provide a forum for collaboration and constructive debate amongst all branches of the legal community.

It is important that Fellows consider from time to time other distinguished lawyers who are suitable for nomination as a Fellow. The eligibility criteria are that the person is of exceptional distinction in the discipline of law and demonstrably committed to the objects of the Academy. All Fellows are encouraged to look broadly to nominate candidates and to consider candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Nominations should be forwarded to the AAL Secretariat by 31 August each year.

The AAL expects to elect new Fellows by the end of each calendar year.

The AAL's 2022 annual report has now been published and is to be found here.


Contempt of court is a key part of the administration of justice. The law needs to be applied swiftly. Yet, many complexities in the law of contempt have developed over the centuries. Professor Rolph’s new book is the first comprehensive treatment of the Australian law of contempt of court. It discusses fundamental principles and practical issues. The book considers all forms of contempt, including civil contempt, sub judice contempt, contempt in the face of the court, scandalising the court and interference with the administration of justice as an ongoing process. Professor Rolph’s work examines both contempt of superior courts of record and the contempt powers of a range of inferior courts and tribunals. It also analyses the procedures and penalties for contempt of court.

Professor David Rolph is a preeminent scholar in media law. He is the author of the authoritative work, Defamation Law, a consulting editor on Gatley on Libel Slander, and a legal history scholar. His many publications address fundamental issues about affecting freedom of expression and laws that protect competing interests: defamation, privacy and the administration of justice. Patrick McCafferty KC, a media law specialist, will provide a brief commentary. The Hon Justice Peter Applegarth AM, Supreme Court of Queensland, will chair the session

You are warmly invited to register to attend in person or online

More information can be found here

To register click here

Join the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Law for their annual symposium in 2023. This year, three public lectures will be delivered by Dame Julie Maxton DBE, Executive Director of the Royal Society in London. These events will be held in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. 

About the events 


Date: Monday 4 December 2023 
Time: 5.30pm—6.45pm, followed by refreshments 
Venue: The Shine Dome, 15 Gordon Street, Acton ACT 
Cost: Free for Fellows of both Academies. $10 for students. $20 for general admission. 


Date: Tuesday 5 December 2023 
Time: 5.30pm—6.45pm, followed by refreshments 
Court 12D, Supreme Court of NSW, Queens Square, Sydney
Cost: Free for Fellows of both Academies. $10 for students. $20 for general admission. 


Date: Wednesday 6 December 2023 
Time: 5.00pm—6.15pm, followed by refreshments 
Venue: Court No 1, Level 8, Federal Court of Australia, 305 William Street, Melbourne
Cost: Free for Fellows of both Academies. $10 for students. $20 for general admission. 

*Please note: the events will not be livestreamed, but a recording of the Canberra event will be made available on Friday 8 December 2023. 


The creation of the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land

Speaker:  The Hon Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC

On 8 September the Chief Justice gave the opening address for this 2 day conference -  "Enduring Courts in Changing Times"

AAL's Twelfth Annual Patron's Address

The Australian Academy of Law's

Twelfth Annual Patron’s Address was delivered by 

the Hon Chief Justice Peter Quinlan on

Thursday 12 October 2023 in Perth.

The venue was Court 1, Supreme Court Building, Stirling Gardens

There is no single correct sentence:

Some thoughts on choice, subjectivity and the ethics of sentencing 

The full paper can be read here

2023 Academy of Law

Essay Prize Winners

In a first for the Australian Academy of Law, the annual essay prize has gone international.

Please congratulate Professor Andrew Higgins and current bar course student in London John Yap on winning this $10,000 prize. The title of their essay is “Class Actions in Context: Distinguishing Regulation, Tort, and Procedure.”

This year's question asked entrants to consider whether the growth of such private litigation in Australia and elsewhere could ‘be described as an evolutionary form of “privatised regulation”, gap-filling where the state and its regulators have not fully or properly controlled or deterred behaviours, or protected and compensated affected person. To what extent is it successful in that regard? Should it be encouraged? Why or why not? Give examples.’

The winning essay, which can be read here, disagreed with the possible premise of the question and sought to ‘clear the field’ to make a different argument.

More information can be found here.

Newsletter No 11,   

27 November 2023

The latest Newsletter of the Academy can be viewed here. 

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