Trust, regulation and public protection discussed at inaugural David Malcolm lecture

Adjunct Professor Philip Evans, Professor Doug Hodgson, Kaaren Malcolm, Manisha Malcolm, The Honourable Professor Neville Owen, The Honourable Justice Robert Mazza and Associate Professor Jane Power.

21 October 2015

Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, The Honourable Professor Neville Owen, delivered the inaugural The Honourable David Malcolm Annual Memorial Lecture on Tuesday 13 October 2015 at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus.

Professor Owen, also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, spoke on issues of trust, regulation and public interest and confidence in the legal system in his lecture topic: ‘Surviving Sisyphus: Justice, Judges and Jaundice’.

With the first two themes closely related, according to Professor Owen, they are all of significance for the legal profession and the judiciary to be aware of.

“There is a heavy responsibility on lawyers, their professional associations and the courts to explain the problems and to buttress the values-based underpinning that our system must have if it is to function as it should. The genesis of the problem may lay elsewhere. But we, as lawyers and judges, must contribute to the solution,” Professor Owen said of a lack of trust and over-regulation in society.

“The term ‘the public interest’ is hard to define. Because of this, judges need to explain clearly what is it about the facts of an individual case that have compelled the conclusion as to what the public interest requires. This is quintessentially a situation where the reasoning process must be explicit.”

In his concluding remarks, Professor Owen said Professor Malcolm had a generosity of spirit and a commitment to the best interests of clients and the firm.

“Those of us who worked with or observed David Malcolm will immediately bring to mind times when those qualities were strikingly on display in all facets of his life,” Professor Owen said.

“In the years to come, thousands of law students, lawyers, judges and, I hope, legislators will read what he has written and will be guided by him in the ways of doing justice. His family, friends and the many community organisations he served will benefit long into the future from his loyal and tender commitment to them.”

The annual lecture is in tribute of The Honourable David Malcolm AC QC, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, University Governor and member of academic staff in the School of Law, Fremantle, as a Professor of Law from 2006-2010 and Adjunct Professor from 2011. He passed away in 2014.

Professor Doug Hodgson, Dean of the School of Law, Fremantle, said this event was another way of engaging law students and legal professionals in contemporary discussion concerning rule of law and separation of power issues, within a context of Professor Malcolm’s contribution to the profession.

“This annual event is dedicated to the life and work of Professor Malcolm as an eminent jurist, scholar and legal practitioner, as well as the significant contributions he made to the law profession, community and civil society. Through these lectures, we hope to pay tribute to and celebrate Professor Malcolm’s enduring legacy,” Professor Hodgson said.

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;