Notre Dame welcomes distinguished thinker, Professor John Finnis

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 10-11-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia is honoured to welcome to its staff as Visiting Professor a thinker of the utmost distinction in the fields of Philosophy, Law and Bioethics, Professor John Finnis FBA.

Professor Finnis is well-known for his work in moral, political and legal theory, as well as constitutional law. He has served as a Governor of the Linacre Centre for Health Care Ethics, on the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Council for the Justice and Peace. He is presently serving on the Pontifical Academy Pro Vita.

Professor Celia Hammond, Vice Chancellor, said this appointment is a major step for the University.

“Professor Finnis is one of the most distinguished legal and philosophical thinkers in the world today,” Professor Hammond said.

“That he has accepted an appointment at Notre Dame has thrilled all of us, underpinning as it does our commitment to both law and philosophical enquiry.”

John Finnis was born in South Australia and graduated from the University of Adelaide, becoming the 1962 South Australian Rhodes Scholar. Holding the scholarship at University College, Oxford, he graduated Doctor of Philosophy with a thesis on “The idea of judicial power, with special reference to Australian federal constitutional law”, and was immediately elected to a Fellowship in University College and Lectureship in the University of Oxford

Professor Finnis has held positions at a number of eminent universities for over four decades, including appointments at Oxford University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Adelaide, University of Malawi and Boston College. Since 1995, Professor Finnis has served as the Biolchini Family Professor of Law at The University of Notre Dame in the United States. He recently retired from his Personal Chair of Law and Legal Philosophy, in the University of Oxford, where he remains an active teacher and doctoral supervisor as Emeritus Professor.

Professor Finnis said he looked forward to joining the staff at The University of Notre Dame Australia.

“I am very glad to have this opportunity to teach a course in the School of Philosophy and Theology, and seminars in the School of Law and the Centre for Faith, Ethics and Society,” Professor Finnis said.

“I look forward to working through some topics of fundamental theoretical importance and some issues of public policy with particular reference to Australia.”

For further information please contact: Communications Officer, Elizabeth Fenech

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

T: 02 8204 4407 E: elizabeth.fenech@nd.edu.au W: www.nd.edu.au/