2023 James Merralls Fellowship in Law Lecture - 07.03.23

Event details

'Parallel Universes: The Curious Dearth of Trans-Tasman Citation'

Presented by The Hon. Justice Stephen Kós

Despite Australia’s proximity to New Zealand, and the two countries' shared common law backgrounds, they seldom cite each other’s case law.  Justice Stephen Kós, of the New Zealand Supreme Court, has examined trends in citation over the last 70 years on both sides of the Tasman.  A modest high point of mutual legal interest emerged in the 1980s/90s.  Thereafter mutual indifference largely resumed.  The main focus of the lecture is on legal history.  It looks in particular at areas where Australian case law has proved influential in New Zealand, and the contextual reasons explaining the curious dearth of trans-Tasman citation.

James Merralls Fellowship in Law Lecture

This lecture is named in honour of the late James Merralls AM KC, an alumnus of Melbourne Law School, who graduated LLB (Hons) in 1958. Mr. Merralls was a resident tutor in law at Trinity College between 1958 and 1972 and was Dean of the College in 1967 and 1968. Mr. Merralls made an enormous contribution to the Australian legal profession over the course of his career. In addition to an illustrious practice at the Victorian Bar, Mr. Merralls was a reporter for the Commonwealth Law Reports between 1960 and 1969 and was the editor from 1969 to 2016. He was publicly commended for his contribution to the Australian legal profession by many of our leading practitioners and judges, including successive Chief Justices of the High Court of Australia. The Australian legal profession owes a large debt of gratitude to Mr. Merralls.

This lecture was a collaboration between the Victorian Bar and Melbourne Law School.

The Victorian Bar is the professional association representing more than 2200 barristers in Victoria. The Bar's home is in the Courts precinct of Melbourne in the Owen Dixon Chambers, surrounded by chambers in other buildings. The Bar is a busy, thriving community comprising barristers, clerks, and support staff.

The Hon. Justice Stephen Kós

Justice Stephen Kós graduated LLB (Hons) from Victoria University in 1981, where he won the Chapman Tripp Prize. He lectured at the Law School for three years before graduating LLM from Cambridge University in 1985. He became a partner in Perry Wylie Pope & Page in 1985, and then in Russell McVeagh in 1988.

Justice Stephen Kós joined the independent bar in 2005 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2007. His principal fields of practice were commercial, equity, and environmental litigation. Prior to judicial appointment, he was the Pro-Chancellor of Massey University, Chairman of the NZX Disciplinary Tribunal, and director of a number of private companies. In April 2011, he was appointed to the High Court, sitting at Wellington, and for two years also acted as an earthquake List Judge in Christchurch. He was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal in September 2015, President of that Court in July 2016, and a Judge of the Supreme Court in April 2022.

Justice Kós has particular interests in the fields of contract, equity, and legal history. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Victoria University Law School, having taught restitution, evidence, and civil procedure there part-time. He also co-teaches a course on equity at Melbourne University Law School, where he is the James Merralls Visiting Fellow 2022/23.

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