The Honourable Kevin Ryan CBE QC



Mr Chancellor,

It is appropriate that at this Special Graduation Ceremony for the Faculty of Law the University of Queensland honours a man who was, for so many years, one of the most distinguished academic lawyers of Australia and who became the first academic to be appointed directly to a Supreme Court in Australia. 

Kevin Ryan was born in Melbourne in 1925 and after moving to Queensland;' gained experience as a teacher from 1943-48. After studying externally for the University of Queensland degree of Bachelor of Arts, he became a Law Clerk in 1949. He then took the Barristers' Board-examinations and became a Barrister in 1951, subsequently completing the Degree ·of Bachelor of Laws. He entered the academic world in 1953 wheh he took up of Lecturer in Law at the University of Queensland. Then in 1958 he was· awarded a scholarship · to Clare College in Cambridge where he spent two years reading for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

He returned to the University of Queensland Law School in 1960 as a Senior Lecturer and, later, as a Reader. His expertise in international law led to an appointment as Australian Government Trade Commissioner and Commercial Counsellor in Rome (1965-66) and later in Geneva (1966-69). 

In 1969 Kevin Ryan returned to the academic fold as Professor of Law at the University of Queensland culminating in his appointment as Garrick Professor of Law. As a university teacher he was noted for the warmth of his relationships with other members of staff and with students and is reputed to have taught most of the subjects offered by the Law School at one time or another in his academic career. His outstanding research record in fields as varied as Tax, Constitutional Law and International Trade Law is demonstrated in his work as author and joint-author of books on Comparative Law, Income Tax, Constitutional Law, International Trade Law, International Law and Supreme Court practice. His books are widely used both by practitioners and by academic lawyers. 

Kevin Ryan was Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1970-74 and a member of the Queensland Law Reform Commission from 1981-83. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1978 and in 1984, he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, thus capping a distinguished career both as an academic and as a practising lawyer. 

His outstanding contributions to legal studies have also been recognised by his election as a Fellow of the International Academy of Comparative Law and as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. In 1982 he became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. 

Mr Chancellor, I present to you Kevin William Ryan, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws of this University, Doctor· of Philosophy of the University of Cambridge, Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, for the award of the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, to which he has been admitted by the Senate of the University. 


Doctor of Laws honoris causa