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International humanitarian law expert returns home as new Dean of Law

Image courtesy of UTAS

One of the world’s foremost experts in international humanitarian law has returned home to Tasmania to take up the position of Dean of Law at the University of Tasmania.

Following an international search, the University’s Faculty of Law welcomed Professor Tim McCormack to the prestigious role, succeeding the strong leadership of Professor Margaret Otlowski.

Professor McCormack, who grew up in Burnie and completed school in the state’s north before studying at the University’s Law Faculty in Hobart, says that Tasmania has always been held ‘in his heart’.

“Growing up in Burnie, I could never have imagined working on a global stage, but I had a great foundation here at all levels of my education. Coming to the University of Tasmania really broadened my horizons and introduced me to the study of international law, which really captured my imagination,” Professor McCormack said.

“I’m excited about returning home and coming to a law school that has always had a very strong commitment to excellence in teaching.

“Being the only law school in Tasmania brings with it privileges and obligations, something previous Deans have always understood.

“We have an obligation to train our graduates, not just to tick boxes for qualification to admission to practice, but to understand the role of law in our society, to understand that law is not an end in itself, it’s a means to achieving a fairer society.”

The University of Tasmania alumnus’ extraordinary career includes being a Special Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, an honorary Professorial Fellow at Melbourne Law School, inaugural DFAT Visiting Legal Fellow, New Zealand Law Foundation Distinguished Visiting Fellow and a Director of World Vision Australia.

“The appointment of such an accomplished alumnus is a testament to the exceptional quality of our Faculty of Law, and Professor McCormack’s significant professional and academic achievements,” said Executive Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the College of Arts, Law and Education, Professor Kate Darian-Smith.

“We are delighted to welcome the Professor back to the University and are excited to see him bringing his considerable expertise and passion to this role.”

About Professor Tim McCormack

After graduating from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in 1982, Professor McCormack went on to study a PhD in international law at Monash University, graduating in 1990. He was the inaugural Australian recipient of the Golda Meir Postdoctoral Fellowship to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and developed a global reputation for his expertise in international humanitarian law and in international criminal law during his 28 years at Melbourne Law School. He has held a number of significant international appointments at renowned universities and institutions.

Professor McCormack was National Vice-President of the Australian Red Cross (1999-2002) and chair of the Australian Red Cross National Advisory Committee on International Humanitarian Law (1994-2002). He was awarded the Australian Red Cross Medal for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 2001 and the Australian Red Cross Distinguished Service Medal for more than 20 years of voluntary commitment to the promotion of understanding of and respect for International Humanitarian Law. He has participated in multiple Australian Government delegations to multilateral treaty negotiations in New York, Geneva, The Hague and Rome and has provided expert international law advice to a number of Australian Government departments.

Source: UTAS

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