Michael Crommelin

Class of 1971-1972

Michael Crommelin is a member of the limited group of Allard School of Law alumni who have also become professors at the school. Unlike the rest of that esteemed group, he holds the unique designation of being the first person to undertake and complete a PhD in the Allard School of Law at UBC.

Professor Michael Crommelin first came to UBC to in 1971 as a graduate student in the LLM program, following a chance meeting earlier that year in Brisbane, Australia with Professor Andrew R. Thompson, who had recently joined the Allard School of Law. Upon completion of his LLM in 1972, Professor Crommelin was admitted to the School of Graduate Studies (now G&PS) as a doctoral candidate in law and economics, becoming the first person to undertake a PhD in the Allard School of Law at UBC.

Professor Crommelin completed his dissertation on ‘Studies in the management of oil and gas resources in Canada’in 1975, which was jointly supervised by Professor Thompson and Professor Anthony D. Scott (Department of Economics). At that time, the Allard School of Law was housed temporarily in army huts during the construction of the Curtis Law Building. Facilities were rather basic by modern standards, but the law school was lively, generous and particularly welcoming. Professor Crommelin acknowledges with gratitude the enormous debt he owes to his supervisors for their intellectual stimulation and guidance, and for their friendship, during his time as a graduate student at UBC and subsequently throughout his academic career. He has also enjoyed lifetime friendships with fellow graduate students from Canada, Switzerland and Australia, and faculty members, and continues to do so.

Professor Crommelin returned to Australia in 1975 to take up an academic position in the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne. He was appointed to the Zelman Cowen chair in 1985, and as Dean of the Melbourne Law School in 1989. He served in that position until 2007, and again in 2010.

Professor Crommelin has maintained close contact with UBC throughout the period of more than 40 years since completion of his graduate studies. He has had many opportunities to return to UBC, especially during his time as Dean of the Melbourne Law School, and has held two visiting appointments, as Walter Owen Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law in 1987, and as Visiting Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law in 2017, as part of the Allard School of Law – Melbourne Law School Faculty Exchange Program.

His other academic appointments include Group of Eight Visiting Professor of Australian Studies in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 2002-3; Visiting Professor in the School of Law, University of Virginia in 2008; and Visiting Professor in the Institute of Comparative Law, l’Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II in 2009.

In 2009 he was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to the law and legal education, particularly as a tertiary educator and through the development of mining and petroleum law in Australia. He was a foundation member, director and president of AMPLA – the Resources and Energy Law Association–and he is a member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

His teaching and research interests lie in the fields of constitutional law, comparative law, property law, and energy and resources law. Professor Crommelin recently presented “A tale of two countries: inherent executive power in Canada and Australia” at the Allard School of Law as a part of his Visiting Professor appointment.

This profile is published with thanks to the graduate research department at the Peter A Allard School of Law