For the second year in a row, a UNSW Sydney law professor has taken home the prize for best legal academic in Australia.

UNSW alumna Professor Rosalind Dixon was named Academic of the Year at the 18th Annual Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards held Friday 31 August at the Star Sydney. It was a repeat for UNSW Law after alumnus Associate Professor Michael Legg took out the same category in 2017.

The Australian Law awards recognise the year’s best work across 30 categories including outstanding programs from in-house, corporate, business, innovation and pro-bono areas. UNSW Law is a partner for the Awards.

Professor Dixon, who was recently elected as co-president of the International Society of Public Law, said the award reflects the outstanding academics and students at UNSW.

“I feel very honoured to receive the award – and to have been nominated for it by wonderful colleagues and students at UNSW Law,” said Professor Dixon. “Being a great academic is only possible when you have great colleagues and students and I feel deeply fortunate to have both.”

Professor Dixon’s research and teaching focuses on comparative constitutional law and constitutional design, constitutional democracy, theories of constitutional dialogue and amendment, socio-economic rights and constitutional law and gender. Her current focus is on fragile democracies, or the threat posed by democratic backsliding, and what law and legal institutions may be able to do about it. Professor Dixon, along with UNSW Economics Professor Richard Holden, is leading the UNSW’s Grand Challenge on Inequality.

Professor Dixon is a member of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and deputy director of the Herbert Smith Freehills Initiative on Law and Economics. Her work has been published in leading journals in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia, including the Cornell Law ReviewGW Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional LawInternational Journal of Constitutional LawAmerican Journal of Comparative LawOsgoode Hall Law JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies and Sydney Law Review.

UNSW Law Dean Professor George Williams said the award is an enormous achievement for one of the Law School’s most esteemed academics.

“This is a welcome and much deserved accolade for an outstanding academic who has shaped the lives of so many students,” Professor Williams said. “The best teachers open students’ minds. They challenge students to think critically and teach them skills they use throughout their lives. That’s what Professor Dixon does. I am delighted that Lawyers Weekly has recognised Professor Dixon’s work and dedication to the teaching of law with this award.”

The following alumni and current student were also nominated:

  • Barrister of the Year: Nicholas Bender, Banco Chambers
  • Dealmaker of the Year: David Friedlander, King & Wood Mallesons
  • In-House Lawyer of the Year: Jacob Leslie, CPB Contractors
  • Law Student of the Year: Khushaal Vyas, UNSW Law
  • Managing Partner of the Year: Michael Harmer, Harmers Workplace Lawyers; Tony Macvean, Hall & Wilcox
  • Partner of the Year: Veno Panicker, Blackstone Waterhouse
  • Regional/Suburban Lawyer of the Year: Chun-Chi (Michael) Hung, ClearSky Legal
  • Rising Star of the Year: Amy Zhang, Harmers Workplace Lawyers; Damon Booth, Dentons
  • Senior Associate of the Year: Paula Nassif, King & Wood Mallesons
  • Sole Practitioner of the Year: Chun-Chi (Michael) Hung, ClearSky Legal.

A full list of winners for the Australian Law Awards is available at Lawyers Weekly.