Death penalty abolitionist ACU's newest honorary doctorate

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

8 May 2008: Australian Catholic University (ACU) is proud to award an honorary doctorate to the honourable Justice Lex Lasry QC for his contribution to social justice and law at the Melbourne Campus Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony on Tuesday 6 May at 10:30 am. Justice Lasry will give the 2008 Occasional Address.

Honorary Doctorate Lex Lasry

“The legal profession has had a champion in Lex Lasry, one whom they respect and acknowledge in different yet significant ways,” said ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven.

Lex Lasry was admitted to practise as a prosecutor in 1973 and later became a renowned criminal defence lawyer. He was quickly recognised within the legal profession for his astuteness and high intelligence.  He became well known within Victorian legal circles for his role assisting the Costigan Royal Commission, as temporary counsel assisting the National Crime Authority, and for his role in inquiries following fatal police shootings in the late 1980s.

But it was when he turned to criminal defence law that Lex Lasry was put most prominently in the public eye.

“Few  Australians were unmoved by the poignant and emotionally draining scenes as he fought with all his knowledge of law and called for compassion and mercy in the case to stop the hanging of a drug offender convicted in Singapore between 2002 and 2005,” said Professor Craven.

Justice Lasry’s sensitivity to the individual and his determination to end the practice of capital punishment have earned him the respect of people across the political spectrum. This and other major cases have marked him as a man of high principle, one prepared to take on cases which opened up issues of civil rights and ethics. 

An outspoken advocate of causes, especially for the abolition of the death penalty, Justice Lasry is regularly invited to address both legal practitioners, university students and community groups on issues of social justice, human rights, and those of ethical and moral significance. He has maintained an apolitical stance, standing out against any political party trying to own him or his views.  

Most recently as a justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Justice Lasry maintains his continuing commitment to the rights of the individual.

Australian Catholic University (ACU) established as Australia’s only Catholic, national, publicly funded university is open to all. The University empowers its students and staff with a strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the moral and ethical dimensions of their study and their professional and personal lives.