John Williams

Professor John Williams

Executive Dean

Professions Office

Faculty of the Professions


John Williams joined the Adelaide Law School in 1997 as a lecturer having completed his doctorate at the Law Program, Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Prior to his appointment as Professor in Law in 2006 he was a Reader at the Australian National University (2004-2005) and a Senior Lecturer (1999-2003) and Lecturer (1997-1998) at the Adelaide Law School. He has held visiting positions at the University of Victoria, BC (2007), the University of Cape Town (2001) and was the Menzies Foundation Fellow at Kings College London (2002).

John’s main research interest is public law and in particular Australian constitutional law, The High Court of Australia, comparative constitutional law, federalism and legal history. In recent times he has developed his research to investigate water law and the regulation of the Murray-Darling. He has held a number of Australian Research Council and national competitive grants.

He has been co-editor and founder of the New Federalist, and editor of the Australian Journal of Legal History (now Legal History) and the Adelaide Law Review. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Legal History.

John is a member of a number of academic and government committees including the National Archives Advisory Council, Vice-President of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law, and the advisory committee of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and chairs the South Australian Fulbright Committee. He has served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Don Dunstan Foundation and UniBooks Pty Ltd. Since 2009 he has been a consultant to the Good Offices Mission as part of the United Nations peace process in Cyprus.

In 2001 he was awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal.

Research Interests

My current research interests are in the areas of public law and legal history. In particular I am interested in the history of federation and the theoretical assumptions in the Australian Constitution such as republican theory. A continuing interest is constitutional reform at both the State and Federal level. Increasingly I am interested in issues of water management and the regulatory framework in Australia.

    Expand
  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2016 Chair, Academic board The University of Adelaide
    2015 Pro-Vice Chancellor Research Operations and Dean Graduate Studies The University of Adelaide
    2015 Dame Roma Mitchel Chair in Law The University of Adelaide
    2015 - 2015 Deputy Executive Dean The University of Adelaide
    2014 - 2014 Harold White Fellow National Library of Australia
    2011 - 2012 Acting Executive Dean University of Adelaide
    2011 - 2016 Dean of Law University of Adelaide
    2010 Foundation Director South Australian Law Reform Institute
    2010 - 2010 Acting Dean of Graduate Studies University of Adelaide
    2009 Acting Dean of Graduate Studies University of Adelaide
    2008 Acting Dean of Graduate Studies University of Adelaide
    2006 - 2010 Professor, Law School University of Adelaide
    2006 - 2010 Associal Dean (Research) University of Adelaide
    2004 - 2005 Reader Australian National University
    2004 - 2005 Reader University of Adelaide
    2003 - 2004 Associate Dean (Research) University of Adelaide
    2002 - 2002 Menzies Foundation Fellow King’s College
    2000 - 2000 Senior Fellow University of Melbourne
    1999 - 2003 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    1997 - 1998 Lecturer University of Adelaide
    1995 - 1995 Tutor Constitutional Law Australian National University
    1995 - 1995 Tutor Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Scheme Australian National University
    1994 - 1994 Research Assistant to Professor Philip Pettit Australian National University
    1992 - 1993 Deputy Head Basser College University of New South Wales
    1989 - 1990 Tutor Basser College University of New South Wales
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2012 Invitation Invited to submit Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Australia
    2012 Invitation Invited to submit Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Australia
    2010 Invitation Invited to submit Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee
    2003 Award Centenary Medal Australian Government
    1997 Award Best Academic University of Adelaide Law School Australia
    1994 Scholarship Post-Graduate Scholarship Australian National University Australia
    1991 Award W Townsley Award University of Tasmania Australia
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1997 Australian National University Australia PhD Conferred
    1993 - 1997 Australian National University Australia Doctoral Candidate
    1991 University of Tasmania Australia Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours)
    1989 - 1992 University of New South Wales Australia Bachelor of Law
    1986 - 1988 University of New South Wales Australia Bachelor of Arts (Majors in Political Science and Industrial Relations)
  • Postgraduate Training

    Date Title Institution Country
    1993 - 1993 Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice University of Technology, Sydney Australia
Date Institution Grant Title Collaborators Amount
2014 - 2016 ARC Research Grant Investigating the uncertainty of the constitutional restrictions confronting State governments when responding to law and order priorities A/Prof James Stellios and Dr Gabrielle Appleby $328,000
2015 ARC Grant A partnership with the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) to create a massive expansion of free access online to Australasian legal history through digitisation and data aggregation   $410,000
2006 ARC Linkage Grant funded in partnership with the High Court of Australia, National Library of Australia An oral history of the High Court of Australia Professor Michael Coper and Dr Fiona Wheeler $150,715
2003 ARC Discovery Grant A history of the High Court of Australia   $108,000
1998 Short Overseas Conference Grant paper for the Research Committee on Comparative Judicial Studies at the American Political Science Association, Boston   $1,200
  Centenary of Federation Council Annotated Constitutions Project   $64,000
  Centenary of Federation Council Foundation Editor of The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History Hon John Bannon $48,042
1998 University Research Grant

Undertake research on the original documents related to the Australian Constitution

  $2,062
1998 Small ARC Grant

The Constitution and Gambling

  $11,500
    Expand
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2011 - 2016 Principal Supervisor COAG, Democracy and the Australian Constitution: You can Choose Two Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Mark Bruerton
    2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Justice and Efficiency in Mega-Litigation Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Anna Olijnyk
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Defining Rights, Powers and Limits in Transboundary River Disputes: A Legal Analysis of the River Murray Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Adam Webster
    2010 - 2012 Principal Supervisor The Constitutional Role of the Solicitor General: An Historical, Legal and Lived Portrait Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Gabrielle Appleby
    2009 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Affirmative Action: A Never-Ending Story? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Nicole Melanie Lederer
    2006 - 2007 Principal Supervisor The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the High Court of Australia: Legalism, Realism, Pragmatism, Judicial Power and the Dixon, Mason and Gleeson Eras Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Rachael Gray
    2003 - 2011 Co-Supervisor The Eminent Domain in Australia: The 'Individual Rights' Approach to s 51(xxxi) of the Australian Constitution Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time APrf Matthew Stubbs
    Expand
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2007 - 2008 Member Board RQF Committee University of Adelaide Australia
    2000 - 2004 Board Member Board of Management The Don Dunstan Foundation Australia
    2000 - 2001 Member Board of Directors UniBooks Pty Ltd Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - ongoing Secretary South Australian Selection Committee Fulbright Commission Australia
    2015 - ongoing Chair Panel to Review Mathematical Science University of Adelaide Australia
    2011 - ongoing Member Council of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law Australian Association of Constitutional Law Australia
    2010 - 2014 Chair South Australian Selection Committee Fulbright Commission Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Centre for Comparative Constitutional Law University of Melbourne Australia
    2009 - 2010 Vice-President Australian Association of Constitutional Law Australian Association of Constitutional Law Australia
    2008 - 2014 Member National Archives of Australia Advisory Council National Archives of Australia Australia
    2008 - ongoing Member Panel to Review of Undergraduate Economics Programs Offered by the Faculty of Profession University of Adelaide Australia
    2008 - 2009 Member South Australian Selection Committee Fulbright Commission Australia
    2006 - 2009 Secretary Judicial Conference of Australia Inc Australia
    2001 - 2008 Member Council of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law Australia
    2000 - ongoing Member Vice-Chancellor’s Academic Structures Working Party University of Adelaide Australia
    2000 - 2001 Chair Law School Admission Committee University of Adelaide Australia
    1999 - 2000 Member Law School Executive University of Adelaide Australia
    1998 - ongoing Member Inaugural Advisory Committee Australian Association of Constitutional Law Australia
    1998 - 2002 Member National Tertiary Education Union University of Adelaide Australia
    1998 - 2001 Representative Law Week organising committee University of Adelaide Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2009 - ongoing Good Office Mission Part of the United Nations peace process Civil rights activities Australia
    2004 - 2011 National Schools Constitutional Convention - Instructional and training Australia
    2003 - 2003 Issues Deliberation Australia - Legislative and political Australia
    2001 - 2001 Government of South Australia Department of Education, Training and Employment Business and professional Australia
    2000 - ongoing Australian Government National Capital Authority Cultural or historical Australia
    1999 - 2001 Australian Government Gambling Research Reference Group- Department of Human Services Business and professional Australia
    1996 - 1997 Australian Government National Archives of Australia Cultural or historical Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2006 - 2011 Editor Adelaide Law Review Australia
    1998 - 2002 Editor The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History Australia
    1997 - 2001 Editor Australian Journal of Legal History Australia
  • Offices Held

    Date Office Name Institution Country
    1999 - 1999 Yes Ambassador South Australia for the Republican Campaign Australia
  • Position: Executive Dean
  • Phone: 83133986
  • Email: john.williams@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 5725
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Nexus 10
  • Org Unit: Faculty of The Professions

Connect With Me
External Profiles

Other Links