Obituary: Emeritus Professor Leslie Zines AO

Emeritus Professor Leslie Zines AO 1930-2014

Written by Tim Grainger, ANU College of Law

Remembered as one of Australia’s foremost experts on constitutional law, the former Dean of ANU College of Law, Emeritus Professor Leslie Zines AO, passed away in May.

Born in Sydney on 12 December, 1930, Zines graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of Sydney in 1952 before moving to Canberra to serve in the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

Recruited to the ANU faculty of law as a senior lecturer in 1962, Zines was made a professor five years later and dominated the ANU College of Law for the next five decades.

Recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts on constitutional law, Zines authored several of the seminal texts used by Australian law students, including The High Court and the Constitution, Constitutional Change in the Commonwealth, Federal Jurisdiction in Australia  and a considerable number of other books, articles and chapters.

Alongside his teaching and research commitments, Zines remained active within the Australian legal community, working as a government adviser, barrister and a Commissioner of the Royal Commission on the Tasmanian Constitution (1981) and the Constitutional Commission (1985 to 1988).

Zines was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science in Australia in 1987, and was awarded the Order of Australia for service to the Australian legal system in 1992.

Friend and former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Hon Sir Anthony Mason, said Professor Zines was one of the few academics to manage to combine being a constitutional law scholar with being an outstanding teacher.

Following his retirement from the ANU College of Law, Zines was appointed the Goodhart Professor of Legal Science at Cambridge University, and remained an honorary fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, until his passing.

Zines is survived by his partner, Judith.