Emeritus Professor David Weisbrot AM

Emeritus Professor David Weisbrot was President of the Australian Law Reform Commission from June 1999 to November 2009.

Completed inquiries during his term include reviews of the federal civil justice system (Managing Justice, 2000); the Marine Insurance Act 1909 (2001); The Judicial Power of the Commonwealth (2001); the use of civil and administrative penalties in federal regulation (Principled Regulation, 2003); the protection of human genetic information (Essentially Yours, 2003); classified and security sensitive information (Keeping Secrets, 2004); gene patenting and human health (Genes and Ingenuity, 2004); harmonisation of Australian evidence laws (Uniform Evidence Laws, 2005); the sentencing of federal offenders (Same Crime, Same Time, 2006); federal sedition laws (Fighting Words, 2006); client legal privilege (Privilege in Perspective: Client Legal Privilege and Federal Investigations, 2007) and privacy (For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice, 2008).

Professor Weisbrot was also the Acting-President of the Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies (CALRAs).

Professor Weisbrot is a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL); an elected Member of the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO): and an Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. He is also a Member of the Human Genetics Advisory Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC); an Honorary Professor in the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland; a Member of the Attorney-General’s International Legal Services Advisory Council; and an ex officio member of the Administrative Review Council.

In 2001, Professor Weisbrot chaired the Attorney-General’s National Pro Bono Task Force, and chaired the resulting National Pro Bono Resource Centre’s Advisory Council from 2002-06. He has been a Commissioner of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission, and a member of the law schools of the University of New South Wales (1979–90) and the University of Papua New Guinea (1976-79, Dean 1978-79). Professor Weisbrot also served as Dean of Law (1994-97) and then Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (1997-99) at the University of Sydney, and was made an Emeritus Professor of the University in September 2004.

Professor Weisbrot has written or edited eight books, including The Promise of Law Reform; Australian Lawyers; Criminal Laws; and Law and Social Change in Papua New Guinea; as well as about 200 official reports, journal articles and conference papers.

Professor Weisbrot previously was a member of the Law Reform Commission of Fiji, and has served as a legal consultant to a number of Pacific Island governments and agencies.

In 2003, Professor Weisbrot was awarded a Centenary Medal by the Australian Government for ‘services to law reform’, and in 2006 was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for ‘service to the law in the areas of law reform, education and access to legal services, and through contributions to research, analysis and policy development on a range of matters of public interest’.

He holds a BA (Hons) degree from Queens College (City University of New York) and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is admitted to practice law in California and New South Wales.

View Professor Weisbrot’s speeches