Julian R Murphy

PhD Candidate


Julian R Murphy is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. His doctoral thesis examines the constitutional values informing the practice of statutory interpretation in Australian and the United States.

He has previously held positions as a Postgraduate Public Interest Fellow at Columbia Law School, as Associate to Justice Nettle at the High Court of Australia, and as Criminal Appeals Manager of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. In 2017-18, Julian undertook an LLM at Columbia University, where he was a Human Rights Fellow and received the Walter Gellhorn Prize for the highest academic average in the class.

Thesis Title

Constitutional Values in Criminal Statutory Interpretation – A Comparison of the American and Australian Approaches

Thesis Summary

As our binding social contract, Australia’s Constitution expresses our aspirations for the enduring government of this country. But how should we read our founding document? What exactly are its animating values? There is one particular aspect of Australia’s constitutional order that is drastically under-examined, namely, the constitutional dimensions of criminal law. By contrast, in the United States, this topic is the subject of a wealth of case law and commentary. Accordingly, this thesis will draw from the U.S. experience to better understand the Australian context. The exact research question to be answered is: What constitutional, quasi-constitutional or normative values, if any, justify the judicial approach to the strict interpretation of criminal statutes in Australia?


  • Administrative Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Statutory Interpretation