Our lecture series
The Honourable Michael Kirby Lecture Series
The annual Honourable Michael Kirby Lecture is a prestigious keynote address delivered by a prominent figure in the law, human rights, social policy or justice. Hosted by the School of Law and Justice, the lecture series is named for Australia's most iconic judge, The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG.
When he retired from the High Court in 2009, The Honourable Michael Kirby was Australia's longest-serving judge, celebrated for his heroic judicial stands as the ‘Great Dissenter’. Despite retiring, he continues to be one of the world’s leading advocates for human rights and most active campaigners for social justice. He has undertaken many international activities on behalf of, amongst others, the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and the OECD; and he has been honoured by many organisations, universities, NGOs and governments.
2019: Kirby vs. Schlink – judges on law, letters and life
In collaboration with the Byron Writers Festival, the 2019 Michael Kirby Lecture Series featured Justice Kirby himself in a spirited debate with renowned German jurist, legal academic and best-selling author of The Reader, Professor Bernhard Schlink. The debate was moderated by Professor William MacNeil, Dean of the School of Law & Justice.
2018: The Lawfare Problem – a case for an environmental rule of thumb
Keynote speaker: Ms Sue Higginson
Ms Higginson is a public interest environmental lawyer, former CEO and Principal Solicitor of EDO NSW, and a celebrated alumni of the School of Law and Justice.
2017: Reimagining Native Title through the eyes of Justice Kirby
Keynote speaker: Ms Raelene Webb QC
Ms Webb QC has a national practice specialising in native title, appellate advocacy, mining law, administrative and constitutional law, and taxation law. She was President of the National Native Title Tribunal from 2013-2018. View lecture
2016: The Doctrine of the Separation of Powers in Australia
Keynote speaker: The Honourable Justice Walter Sofronoff QC
The Honourable Justice Walter Sofronoff is President of the Queensland Court of Appeal and the former Queensland Solicitor-General. View presentation
2015: Reimagining law reform – Michael Kirby's vision, human rights and the Australian Law Reform Commission in the 21st century
Keynote speaker: Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, President of the Australian Law Commission. View presentation
2014: Chancellor's address
2013: Indigenous Australians and the constitutional project. The politics of discrimination and why recognition is not enough
Keynote speaker: Professor Megan Davis, Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, University of New South Wales. View presentation
2012: Reflections on gay marriage
Keynote speaker: The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull MP, Member for Wentworth. Mr Turnbull became the 29th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 2015-18. View presentation
2011: Global Artificial Photosynthesis – an emerging challenge for bioethics, health law and human rights
Keynote speaker: Associate Professor Thomas Faunce, bioethics scholar, Australian National University
2010: An Australian Human Rights Act – quixotic impossible dream or inevitable natural progression?
Keynote speaker: The Honourable Justice Margaret McMurdo AC, President of the Court of Appeal for the Supreme Court of Queensland. Justice McMurdo was the first woman appointed to this role.
2009: Global Commitments to Human Rights in National Courts in the Age of Obama
Keynote speaker: Professor Adrien Wing, human rights scholar and lawyer from the University of Iowa. View presentation
2008: Human rights in Australia – what would a Federal Charter of Rights look like?
Keynote speaker: Pamela Tate SC, the first woman appointed to the position of Solicitor-General in Victoria, 2003-10
2007: Lecture series namesake address
Keynote speaker: The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG
The Honourable Andrew Rogers Lecture Series in Private Law and Legal Practice
Launched in 2019, The Honourable Andrew Rogers Lecture in Private Law and Legal Practice features a keynote address delivered by a prominent academic or practitioner. The series is named for The Honourable Andrew Rogers AO QC, a former NSW Supreme Court justice, who oversaw the establishment of the School of Law and Justice in the early 1990s and was Southern Cross University's first Chancellor (1995-97).
2019: Courage as a legal virtue
Keynote speaker: Justice Francois Kunc
Justice Francois Kunc is a member of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Equity Division. He is past President of the Law and Literature Association of Australia, the General Editor of The Australian Law Journal and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Equity. An accomplished musician, a papal knight and a true Renaissance man, The Honourable Justice Kunc is Deputy Chair of the SLJ’s Law Advisory Committee.
The Professor Greta Bird Lecture Series in Legal Theory and Critique
Commencing in 2017, The Professor Greta Bird Lecture in Legal Theory and Critique is delivered by a prominent academic in the areas of law, human rights, social policy or justice. The series is named for Adjunct Professor Greta Bird, a founding member of the School of Law and Justice and a scholar in the fields of multiculturalism and the law, Indigenous studies, law and society, feminist critique, and critical race theory.
2019: Thoughts on a jurisprudence of doubt
Keynote speaker: Professor Karin van Marle
A leading legal philosopher and constitutionalist based at the Department of Public Law of the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Professor van Marle considered the notion of the Constitution as a living document, but within which the role of politics poses many challenges.
2018: The afterlife of criminal evidence
Keynote speaker: Professor Katherine Biber
A legal scholar, criminologist, historian based at the University of Technology Sydney, Professor Biber's lecture examined the laws of evidence and criminal procedure, as well as the role of documentation, visual culture and particularly photography in the law.
2017: Pregnancy, poverty and the state
Keynote speaker: Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin
A distinguished legal theorist of race, gender and the law based at the University of California at Irvine, Professor Bratcher Goodwin canvassed the question as to whether the state controls a woman’s right to choose.