Professor Matthew Harding

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Professor Matthew Harding is Dean of Melbourne Law School.

Matthew is one of the world’s leading academic experts on the theoretical underpinnings of private law and the law of charities and other not-for-profit organisations. His published work combines theoretical, doctrinal and practical insights. He has published extensively on topics in the theory and doctrines of equity (especially fiduciary law), charity and not-for-profit law and regulation, the law of property, judicial practice and precedent, and the philosophy of trust and trustworthiness.

Matthew is the author of a major monograph on the philosophical foundations of charity law, Charity Law and the Liberal State (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and has edited or co-edited a number of leading collections: Exploring Private Law (Cambridge University Press, 2010) Not-for-Profit Law: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2014); The Research Handbook of Not-for-Profit Law (Edward Elgar, 2018); Fiduciaries and Trust: Ethics, Politics, Economics and Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020); Trusts Law in the Asia-Pacific: Theory and Practice in Context (Hart Publishing, 2021); and Charity Law: Exploring the Concept of Public Benefit (Routledge, 2022). Matthew has published in the world’s pre-eminent law journals including the Law Quarterly Review, the Modern Law Review and the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and is a frequent contributor to leading academic collections.

Matthew teaches a range of subjects in private law, legal theory and charity law at the Melbourne Law School and elsewhere, and he has supervised a number of PhD students working on topics in his fields of interest, several of whom are themselves well-known academics. Matthew has been a visiting scholar at the University of Toronto, Queen's University Belfast, the University of Otago, and the University of the Western Cape, and in 2020 he was the Kwa Geok Choo Distinguished Visitor at the National University of Singapore.

Matthew has held numerous leadership roles both within the Melbourne Law School and in the wider legal and academic communities. He was Deputy Dean and Head of Department of the Melbourne Law School from 2016 to 2020, and for several years was a director of the MLS Obligations Group. From 2021 to 2022 he also served as the inaugural director of the University’s Researcher Development Unit, an initiative designed to offer professional development to researchers from all disciplines. Matthew has served as the Chair of the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, an editor of theJournal of Equity, a member of the editorial boards of Oxford Studies in Private Law Theory and the Third Sector Review, and a member of the Charities Committee of the Law Council of Australia. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Judicial College of Victoria’s ‘Scholarship for the Legal Community’ online platform.

Matthew graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1998 with first class honours degrees in law and in arts. He also holds a Bachelor of Civil Law degree (with distinction) and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. During his time as a postgraduate student in Oxford, Matthew held Chevening and Clarendon Fund Scholarships and, during 2002–3, a research fellowship funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. His DPhil thesis was on the moral foundations of fiduciary law. Before joining the Melbourne Law School in 2005, Matthew also worked as a solicitor for Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks (now Allens) in Melbourne, and he holds a current practising certificate.

Memberships and Affiliations

Director, Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand

Advisory Board, Judicial College of Victoria ‘Scholarship for the Legal Community’ initiative

Editorial Board, Journal of Equity

Editorial Board, Third Sector Review

Editorial Board, Oxford Studies in Private Law Theory

Member, Law Council of Australia Charities Committee

External Examiner, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law

Teaching (2022)

The Melbourne JD

Research Centres