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Law Council of Australia

John Emerson Oration

The Legal Practice Section's Charities and Not-for-Profit Committee is set to host the third John Emerson AM Oration & CLAANZ Annual Lecture 2022 in Melbourne on 12 December 2022, jointly with the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (CLAANZ).

The Oration will be delivered by Professor Oonagh Breen and co-chaired by Seak-King Huang, Chair of the Charities and Not-for-Profit Committee, and Associate Professor Ian Murray, Chair of the Board of CLAANZ. The Oration will focus on reviews of charity regulation that have taken place recently in many jurisdictions (including Australia and New Zealand) to learn from key themes on:

  • ‘Watch outs’ at each stage of the review process.
  • Similarities and differences between statutory and non-statutory reviews.
  • ’Nuts that get cracked’ in reviews and those harder ’too hot to handle potato’ issues that may be sidelined.
  • Key contributions by lawyers in the process of reform and areas where their input is always necessary.

The John Emerson Oration is in honour of John Emerson AM. While John has now retired from Herbert Smith Freehills, where he was a partner for almost four decades, he remains recognised as an expert in the tax laws applicable to charities in Australia.  John was also a member of the Board of Taxation and a number of other legal and public sector committees. He was a key contributor to the reform of laws which led to the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. John is a Member of the Order of Australia for services to law and to the community, particularly through the provision of advice to charities and not-for-profit organisations and the development of public administration reform to encourage philanthropy in Australia.

Event Details

Date: Monday 12 December 2022
Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm (AEDT) 
Venue: Herbert Smith Freehills, Level 24, 80 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000 & Online
Cost: $50.00 in person, $25 online. 

In-person tickets are limited to 60. Registration closes 5pm, Tuesday 6 December 2022. 


Ms Chelsea De Silva
Section Administrator
T. 02 6246 3722


Key Speakers

We are pleased to announce the key speakers for this event.

Professor Oonagh Breen
Professor of Law at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin

An expert in regulation and governance, with a specialization in the legal regulation of charities, Professor Breen is a graduate of both UCD and Yale Law School.  She teaches NGO Law & Governance, Equity and Trust Law at UCD. A qualified barrister, she is currently the President of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) and a member of the International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law's International Advisory Council. In 2021 Oonagh was appointed as Chair of the Independent Review of Charity Regulation in Northern Ireland and the Review Panel published its Report in January 2022. A regular international speaker on comparative charity regulation matters, Oonagh has published extensively and is a co-editor (with Alison Dunn and Mark Sidel) of Regulatory Waves: Comparative Perspectives on State Regulation and Self-Regulation Policies in the Nonprofit Sector (Cambridge University Press, 2017), co-author of Law of Charities in Ireland with Philip A. Smith (Bloomsbury Professional, 2019) and co-editor with Noel McGrath of Palles: The Legal Legacy of the Last Lord Chief Baron (Four Courts Press, 2022). She has held both Fulbright and Government of Ireland Research Fellowships and has served as a Research Fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University (2009) and as an Ian Potter Foundation Fellow at ACPNS, Brisbane (2016). Oonagh has also held visiting appointments at De Paul Law School, Chicago, University Missouri Kansas City, University of California, Davis, Brooklyn Law School, and Southern Illinois University and the University of Victoria, New Zealand.

Read the Law Council's Event Terms and Conditions here.