Michael Coper AO (1963), OC of the Year 2019

Michael Coper attended Cranbrook for his entire primary and secondary schooling (1950-1963) – culminating in him being appointed Head Prefect in his final year. He was recently appointed Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) 2018 Australia Day Honours - for distinguished service to legal education, and to the law, as an academic, author and administrator, through advisory roles, and to transport safety.

Michael has a distinguished legal career. His appointments included being law professor at the ANU, culminating in the Deanship of the law school, in addition to Chair of the law schools’ peak body, the Council of Australian Law Deans. Michael was then appointed as an Emeritus Professor, recognising his life’s work at ANU.

As a law professor at the ANU, he was Deanship of the law school serving in the position for 15 years, during which time he was able to promote not only academic excellence but also much wider goals - for example, the goal of instilling in our students an ethos of law reform and social justice. Michael was also one of the seven ‘founding fathers’ of the UNSW law school in 1971, Nearly 50 years on, UNSW remains one of Australia’s leading law schools.

Michael has published extensively on legal education and the responsibility of law schools, and writes a regular column for the Australian Law Journal called ‘From the Law Schools’. The release of a book of essays in his honour is imminent, in which he has written an extensive reflection. He’s noted for his prize-winning 1983 book Freedom of Interstate Trade under the Australian Constitution

Michael has dedicated his life the legal fraternity and is leaving a legacy for Australian Law and Constitutional Law that will be a guiding beacon for many years to come.