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Macquarie Law School

Academic Staff

Professor Denise Meyerson

Law School Staff - Denise Meyerson




 Positions: Professor
 Location: W3A 535
 Tel: +61-2-9850 7079
 Fax: +61-2-9850 7686


BA (Witwatersrand), LLB (magna cum laude) (Cape Town), B Phil (Oxon), D Phil (Oxon)


Denise Meyerson completed a BA at the University of the Witwatersrand, before studying at Oxford, where she graduated with a B Phil and a D Phil in Philosophy. She also holds an LLB from the University of Cape Town. She is Professor of Law in Macquarie Law School, which she joined in 2000. Prior to coming to Australia, she taught in the Philosophy Department at the University of Cape Town (1987-1996) and in the Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town (1996-1999), where she held the W P Schreiner Chair of Jurisprudence. She subsequently held an Honorary Professorship in the same Faculty. During her time at Macquarie University, she has been Head of the Department of Law (2003-2006) and Co-Director of the Centre for Legal Governance (2011-2014).  She is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. In 2015 she was appointed as a Research Evaluation Committee member on the Humanities and Creative Arts Panel for ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia).

Professor Meyerson researches in the area of law, human rights and justice. She has published extensively in the areas of theoretical and applied jurisprudence, constitutional theory, human rights theory and comparative human rights law. She is the author of several books, including False Consciousness (Clarendon Press, 1991) and Rights Limited: Freedom of Expression and Religion in the South African Constitution (Juta, 1997). Her most recent book, Jurisprudence (Oxford University Press, 2011), won a Highly Commended Award in the Tertiary Scholarly Reference section of the Australian Educational Publishing Awards.

Professor Meyerson serves on the editorial boards of Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics and the South African Journal of Philosophy. She is also a consulting editor for Philosophical Studies Series, published by Springer.

Visiting positions Professor Meyerson has held include: Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford (1996); Visiting Scholar, University of Cape Town (2006); Scholar-in-Residence, Valparaiso Law School, Indiana (2010); Visiting Professorial Fellow, University of New South Wales (2010); and Visiting Fellow, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2013). In 2016, she will take up a Visiting Researcher Residency at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • LAW214 - Jurisprudence
  • LAW580 - Human Rights and Moral Dilemmas
  • LAWS805 - Theories of Law and Justice

Research Expertise and Areas of HDR Supervision

Theoretical and comparative human rights; constitutional law and comparative constitutionalism; jurisprudence

Current Research Grants

  • 'On the cutting edge: promoting best practice in surgical innovation', ARC Linkage Grant (CIs: W Rogers, A Johnson, A Ballantyne, M Lotz, D Meyerson, A Eyers, G Maddern, C Thomson)

Recent Postgraduate Completions (Principal Supervisor)

  • J Campbell, PhD 2008, 'Disability, Difference and Anti-Discrimination'
  • H Melkonian, PhD 2009, 'Free Speech and the Opportunity for Convergence of English and American Defamation Law'
  • L Pratt,  PhD 2011,'Legal and Political Protections of Fundamental Rights: Strengths and Weaknesses - A Comparative Study'
  •  M Taylor, PhD 2014, 'The Politics of Bail Reform: The New South Wales Bail Act, 1976-2013'
  • A Head, PhD 2014, 'A Critical Evaluation of Presumption in Non-Marital Relationships in Australia'
  • E Bari, PhD 2015, 'Suspension of the Fundamental Rights and Unrestrained Exercise of the Power of Preventive Detention During the Successive Proclamations of Emergency in Bangladesh'

Recent Publications


  • Denise Meyerson, Jurisprudence (Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • Denise Meyerson, Understanding Jurisprudence (Routledge-Cavendish, 2007). [Revised version of Essential Jurisprudence]
  • Denise Meyerson, Essential Jurisprudence (Routledge-Cavendish, 2006).
  • Peter Radan, Denise Meyerson and Rosalind Croucher (eds) Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005).


  • Denise Meyerson, 'Why Should Justice Be Seen to Be Done?' (2015) 34 Criminal Justice Ethics 64-86.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'The Moral Justification for the Right to Make Full Answer and Defence' (2015) 35 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 237-265.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Is There a Right to Access Innovative Surgery?' (2015) 29 Bioethics 342-352.
  • Simon Rice, Denise Meyerson and Kate Ogg, 'Measuring Human Rights Sensibilities' (2014) 20 Australian Journal of Human Rights 67-97.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Rethinking Marriage and Its Privileges' (2013) Acta Juridica 385-408.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Innovative Surgery and the Precautionary Principle' (2013) 38 Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 605-624.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'What Chappel v Hart Really Stands For and Some Ramifications for Innovative Surgery' (2013) 83 ANZ Journal of Surgery 601-602.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Three Versions of Liberal Tolerance - Dworkin, Rawls, Raz' (2012) 3 Jurisprudence 37-70.
  • J Johnson, W Rogers, M Lotz, C Townley, Denise Meyerson, G Tomossy, 'The Ethical Challenges of Innovative Surgery - a response to the IDEAL recommendations' (2010) 376 The Lancet 1113-1115.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Who's In and Who's Out? Inclusion and Exclusion in the Family Law Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of South Africa' (2010) 3 Constitutional Court Review 295-316.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Risks, Rights, Statistics and Compulsory Measures' (2009) 31 Sydney Law Review 507-535.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'The Protection of Religious Rights under Australian Law' (2009) Brigham Young University Law Review 529-553.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Equality Guarantees and Distributive Inequity' (2008) 19 Public Law Review 32-51.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Using Judges to Manage Risk: The Case of Thomas v Mowbray' (2008) 36 Federal Law Review 209-229.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Why Courts Should Not Balance Rights against the Public Interest' (2007) 31 Melbourne University Law Review 873-902.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'State and Federal Privative Clauses - Not So Different After All' (2005) 16 Public Law Review 39-54.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Does the Constitutional Court of South Africa Take Rights Seriously? The Case of S v Jordan' (2004) Acta Juridica 138-154.


  • Denise Meyerson, 'The Idea of Vantage in Legal Theory' (2013) 38 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 155-165.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Persons and their Rights in Law and Morality' (2010) 35 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 122-133.


  • Denise Meyerson, 'Rethinking Marriage and its Privileges' in A Claassens and D Smythe (eds), Marriage, Land and Custom (Juta 2013) 385-408. Originally published in (2013) Acta Juridica.
  • Martin Scheinin and Denise Meyerson, 'The Limits of Punishment' in M Tushnet, C Saunders, T Fleiner (eds), Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law (Routledge, 2013) 205-216.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Bills of Rights and Public Interest Exceptions' in T Gizbert-Studnicki and M Klinowski (eds), Law, Liberty, Morality and Rights (Wolters Kluwer, 2010) 76-86.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'The Independence of the Judiciary in Australia and South Africa: Comparative Lessons' in P Andrews and S Bazilli (eds), Law and Rights: Global Perspectives on Constitutionalism and Governance (Vandeplas Publishing, 2008) 79-90.
  • Denise Meyerson,'Why Religion belongs in the Private Sphere, Not the Public Square' in P Cane, C Evans and Z Robinson (eds), Law and Religion in Theoretical and Historical Context (Cambridge University Press, 2008) 44-71.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Religion and the South African Constitution' in P Radan, D Meyerson, R Croucher (eds) Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) 116-133.
  • Peter Radan, Denise Meyerson and Rosalind Croucher, 'Introduction' in P Radan, D Meyerson, R Croucher (eds) Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) 1-8.
  • Denise Meyerson, 'Does the Constitutional Court of South Africa Take Rights Seriously? The Case of S v Jordan' in F du Bois (ed) The Practice of Integrity: Reflections on Ronald Dworkin and South African Law (Juta, 2004) 138-154. Originally published in (2004) Acta Juridica.


  • Denise Meyerson, review of Stu Woolman, The Selfless Constitution: Experimentalism and Flourishing as Foundations of South Africa's Basic Law. Reviewed in (2014) 30 South African Journal on Human Rights 591-596; (2014) 14 Macquarie Law Journal 205-210.
  • Denise Meyerson, review of Laurie Ackermann, Human Dignity: Lodestar for Equality in South Africa. Reviewed in (2013) 24 Public Law Review 305-312.
  • Denise Meyerson, review of M Head and S Mann Law in Perspective: Ethics, Society and Critical Thinking. Reviewed in (2007) 32 Alternative Law Journal 59-60.
  • Denise Meyerson, review of Rebecca J Cook, Bernard M Dickens and Mahmoud F Fathalla Reproductive Health and Human Rights: Integrating Medicine, Ethics and Law. Reviewed in (2006) 6 Developing World Bioethics 52-3.


  • Denise Meyerson, 'The Rule of Law and the Separation of Powers' (2004) 4 Macquarie Law Journal 1-6.


  • Denise Meyerson, 'Religion' in P Cane and J Conaghan (eds) The New Oxford Companion to Law (Oxford University Press, 2008) 1002-1003.

My research can also be accessed on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) [Download]

Biography & Publications

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