Law school campaign launch
Law school campaign launch


Law school campaign launch

On 6 November, a crowd of alumni, University staff and leaders, and notable law professionals gathered at Sydney’s Royal Mint in Macquarie Street to see the design for Macquarie University’s new law building unveiled and its name announced as the ‘Michael Kirby Building’.

“I can see no finer way to commemorate the contributions of Michael Kirby as a member of the Macquarie University family and an outstanding member of the legal profession of Australia, than to have the home of the new Macquarie University Law School be named in his honour,” said Professor S Bruce Dowton, Vice-Chancellor.

The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG, who was Chancellor of Macquarie University from 1984 to 1993 and served 13 years as a Justice of the High Court of Australia, has been appointed Honorary Professor by 12 universities and has served numerous roles in the international legal community since his judicial retirement, most recently as part of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) panels on overreach of criminal law.

Professor Dowton was joined by Kirby and other speakers including Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor David Wilkinson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts Professor Martina Möllering, Acting Law School Dean Dr Vijaya Nagarajan, and head of the newly launched Social Justice Clinic Dr Daniel Ghezelbash.

“Michael has a very warm place in Macquarie University, and gives of his time generously,” Professor Dowton said, adding that law students treat Kirby “like a rock star!”

Professor Dowton said that since 1972, Macquarie’s Law School has combined world-leading research with deep partnership with the community including those who are marginalised.

In his address, Kirby described research showing that law students primarily come from wealthier parents, from private schools and from conservative backgrounds.

“As we open this law school, we must ensure that this beautiful building will be open to people from all economic backgrounds, all social backgrounds, all racial and ethnic backgrounds.”

Kirby continued, “We need to see our legal system in the context of the world and to concern ourselves about injustices across the whole world; a burden and obligation that moral and civilised societies must do.”

The new law building carries with it the hope of new ideas, and of the opportunity to reach out to people of every background, and outwards to international law, “so that we look at ourselves and see ourselves in the prism of the world and of its development of a world legal order,” Kirby said.

“As I look at this beautiful building, I’m very proud that it will carry my name and I’m very grateful for this honour.”

Möllering points out that Macquarie University has been widely recognised for its innovatively critical approach to legal education: “The time has come to build on its foundations and to furnish today’s students and the community with facilities properly equipped to deliver the service they deserve and need.”

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