Notre Dame Chancellor Dons Academic Hat

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 5-10-2007

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Chancellor, the Hon Justice Neville Owen, delivered a series of challenging lectures to Law and Business students on the Sydney Campus recently.

Justice Owen has had a prestigious law career which has seen him serving as Justice of Western Australia’s Supreme Court, being appointed as the Royal Commissioner to investigate the HIH Insurance Group collapse in New South Wales and acting as an advisor to the Australian Law Reform Commission.

The first talk he gave entitled, ‘My Word is my Bond,’ was on Contract Law and demonstrated to students how facts and theories in contract law can be applied to solve cases.

Law student, Maria Maccarrone, said she was extremely impressed with the lecture and thought the talk was very relevant and applicable to what she was learning in class.

“What was so intriguing was listening to a justice speaking about contract law from a different perspective from a lecturer. Justice Owen helped me comprehend that contract law is not just about knowing the theories, but about being able to apply them to the facts of a situation where it is relevant.

In the second talk entitled Ethics Commercial Practice: Right, Wrong and Indifferent, Justice Owen addressed both Law and Business students on the topic of ethics and commercial practice.

The presentation covered the attempts that have been made to understand the concept of ‘law’, the idea of a ‘profession’ and the role that the conscience should play in everyday commercial life.

Justice Owen stressed that the key values essential to a life of an ethical profession are honesty, fidelity, diligence, competence and dispassion. He ended the lecture with the statement, “In commercial practice, as elsewhere, we should at least aim for an ideal world.”

The final lecture in the series, The Development of the Trial Process, outlined how the jury system evolved over the centuries to resemble the current jury system. He also discussed the historical justifications for some of the central rules of evidence that operate today in our courts.

“Justice Owen really has the ability to get everyone involved which is what made the talks so interesting and will be something the students will remember,” said Ms Maccarrone.

Media contact:

Michelle Ebbs
08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138