dCEC's John Finnis Appointed as Companion of the Order of Australia

Author: Kenneth Hallenius

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In the Queen's Birthday Honours announced on June 10, 2019, John M. Finnis, a Permanent Senior Distinguished Research Fellow of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture and the Biolchini Family Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School, was appointed as a Companion [AC] of the Order of Australia. The honor was granted with the citation, "For eminent service to the law, and to education, to legal theory and philosophical enquiry, and as a leading jurist, academic and author."

"I feel privileged to be the recipient of my home country's outward looking, internationally minded recognition of legal and philosophical undertakings that have involved both its own constitutional history (beginning during and because of the American War of Independence) and the distinctive law of other countries, but also truths often contested yet common to all peoples," Finnis said.

Known for his work in moral, political and legal theory, as well as in constitutional law, John Finnis joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty in 1995. He earned his LL.B. in 1961 from Adelaide University (Australia) and his doctorate in 1965 from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar at University College Oxford. He was lecturer, then reader and then a chaired professor in law in the University of Oxford for over four decades until 2010, while also a tutorial fellow of University College Oxford. He was associate in law at the University of California at Berkeley (1965-66), the professor of law at the University of Malawi (Africa) (1976-78), and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Boston College Law School (1993-94). A barrister of Gray’s Inn, he practiced from 1979 to 1995 and was appointed Queen's Counsel [QC] (honoris causa) in 2017.

Finnis is a Fellow of the British Academy (Law and Philosophy sections), was a member of the Philosophy sub-faculty at Oxford, and is an adjunct professor in the Notre Dame Department of Philosophy. He was a member of the International Theological Commission of the Holy See (1986-91), the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace (1990-95), and the Pontifical Academy Pro Vita (2001-2016). He has published widely in law, legal theory, moral and political philosophy, moral theology, and the history of the late Elizabethan era.

The Birthday Honours, granted within the British Commonwealth nearly annually since 1860, mark the reigning monarch's official birthday by appointing various citizens into national orders as a reward for good works or meritorious service. The Order of Australia was established in 1975, and Companion is the highest rank currently awarded.