Michael Kirby and the Kirby Cup

Above: Michael Kirby with ALRC staff

The Kirby Cup Law Reform Competition is a unique opportunity for Australian law students to consider the role of law reform and law reform agencies in Australia. To enter, law students must provide a written paper (2,000–4,000 words) on a given topic of law reform.

The competition is open to all students currently enrolled in a tertiary law course (including law courses offered by universities and legal practitioner admission boards). Students may participate in the competition as individuals or as a team of up to four students.

The topic for 2011 was chosen to feed into the ALRC’s Classification and Copyright inquiries:

It is generally accepted that the internet has had a real impact on a variety of traditional creative industries. The internet provides a medium through which there is a great potential for Australian users to infringe copyright in music and films and commit classification offences such as selling or distributing unclassified films and computer games. How should the law respond to these challenges?

The year the Kirby Cup was jointly won by Tyler Fox and Melchor Raval.

Photo: Tyler Fox, The Hon Michael Kirby and Melchor RavalTyler Fox is studying a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Newcastle and his winning entry, ‘Breaking the Internet’, examined the current laws in Australia particularly as they pertain to copyright and privacy and canvassed a number of possible law reform responses to the problems raised. Melchor Raval is a student in the School of Business Law and Taxation at Monash University and his winning entry used Australian case studies, in particular of gaming, and focused on international law and comparisons.

Both winners met the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG at a small function at the ALRC on 6 December 2011, when they were presented with their certificates. Their names are now inscribed on the perpetual ‘Kirby Cup’ that is kept on display at the offices of the ALRC—a record of all past winners of this prestigious law reform competition.

The Kirby Cup is one way that the ALRC provides insight to law students across Australia into the processes of law reform and our inquiries.

Photo: (left to right) Tyler Fox, The Hon Michael Kirby, Melchor Raval

‘Chairman Emeritus’

As a particular mark of respect, admiration and affection, the ALRC took the opportunity to proudly confer on Michael Kirby the honorary title of ‘Chairman Emeritus’, acknowledging his role as inaugural Chairman of the ALRC, from 1975 to 1984. The gathering of ALRC colleagues, Kirby Cup recipients and their families was an ideal occasion to present Kirby with his testamur, adding to his astonishing collection of honorary degrees and other prestigious awards.