Professor Gabriël A. Moens Law Library Inaugurated by Lord Mayor at Sheridan Institute in Perth

The ceremonial opening of Professor Gabriël A. Moens Law Library was held this Tuesday 4th April at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education, in Perth, Western Australia. More than 140 people attended this historic event, including leading members of the legal and political professions in Western Australia.

The distinguished speakers at the ceremonial opening were Leigh Warnick SC (Senior Counsel, Francis Burt Chambers), Lorraine Finlay (Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission), Professor Philip Evans (Former Law Dean, Murdoch University), Emeritus Professor Gabriël A. Moens AM, and Professor Augusto Zimmermann (Head of Law, Sheridan Institute of Higher Education).

Rt. Hon. Basil Zempilas, Professor Moens and Professor Zimmermann (photo: Chris Huzzard – Huzzard Studios, Perth)

On this special occasion The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas (The City of Perth) unveiled the plaque that commemorates the official opening of Professor Gabriël A. Moens Law Library. He spoke very highly of Sheridan and highlighted the importance of this tertiary education provider operating in the city of Perth. Mr Zempilas was elected Lord Mayor of the City of Perth in October 2020. He became the 18th Lord Mayor, joining Local Government after a successful and ongoing broadcasting career in television and radio.

Emeritus Professor Gabriël A. Moens AM was honoured on the occasion by having this law library officially named after him. He is an active member of Sheridan’s LLB Advisory Committee and generously donated some of his personal library to the Institute.

Leigh Warnick SC (photo: Chris Huzzard – Huzzard Studios, Perth)

Professor Moens has made substantial and sustained contributions to Australia’s legal education. In 2003, the Prime Minister of Australia awarded him the Australian Centenary Medal for services to education. He was named the “International Alumnus of the Year” by the Pritzker Law School of Northwestern University, Chicago in 2019. In June 2019, Professor Moens was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for outstanding services to the law and legal education.

In the meantime, Professor Moens has found the time to author more than 50 academic books. His latest book, ‘Foundations of the Australian Legal System’ (LexisNexis, 2023), covers all the building blocks of our legal system, including the nature of law, legal referencing, a consideration of ‘precedent’, the principles of statutory interpretation, and the sophisticated and demanding world of the management of international disputes. Co-authored by Professor Augusto Zimmermann, this book also details the legal ethics and legal responsibility of lawyers.

Lorraine Finlay, Professor Moens and Professor Zimmermann (photo: Chris Huzzard – Huzzard Studios, Perth)

On this special occasion Professor Zimmermann, Head of Law at Sheridan, took the opportunity to honour the life and legacy of The Hon. John Gilmour QC (8 October 1951 – 6 February 2021). His beloved wife Marcia, daughter Kathryn, and son-in-law Stephen, were among the personalities who attended the ceremonial opening.

A Justice of the Federal Court of Australia from 2006 to March 2018, with his renowned dignity and marked clarity Justice Gilmour delivered almost 600 judgments spanning the full body of the Court’s work, including important judgments in commercial law, company law and trade practices. He had the utmost desire to see the Sheridan LLB program coming into fruition. An active member the Sheridan LLB Advisory Board, Justice Gilmour regularly attended these Board meetings with great enthusiasm and generosity. He made numerous recommendations and proposed important amendments to the Sheridan LLB program application, which were gladly accepted and unanimously approved by the other 19 members of the Board comprised of distinguished academics and lawyers.

Professor Zimmermann and Rt. Hon. Basil Zempilas (photo: Chris Huzzard – Huzzard Studios, Perth)

In June 2019, Justice Gilmour participated at a major international conference held at Sheridan on the subject of religious freedom in the context of human rights and fundamental freedoms in general, particularly freedom of speech and freedom of association. He opened that conference by introducing the keynote speaker, Distinguished Emeritus Professor William Wagner, who is a former Federal Judge in The United States. The Patron for our conference was former Prime Minister John Howard OM, AC.

Australian Baptist Education Inc. is the sponsoring organisation behind the establishment of Sheridan Institute of Higher Education in Perth CBD. Baptists are the third largest provider of private education in Western Australia, after the Anglican and Catholic churches. The origin of Sheridan’s commitment to academic freedom is found in a fractious group of English exiles living in Amsterdam in the early 17th century. In confrontational tracts and sermons, those first Baptists were among the earliest advocates for the three foundation principles of modern democracy: freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

The Western Australian Legal Theory Association congratulates Sheridan Institute of Higher Education and all the organising members and speakers on this truly historic event – the ceremonial opening of Professor Gabriël A. Moens Law Library.