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John Emerson Oration

The Legal Practice Section's Charities and Not-for-Profit Committee is set to host the third John Emerson AM Oration & CLAANZ Annual Lecture 2022 in Melbourne on 12 December 2022, jointly with the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (CLAANZ).

The Oration will be delivered by Professor Oonagh Breen and co-chaired by Seak-King Huang, Chair of the Charities and Not-for-Profit Committee, and Associate Professor Ian Murray, Chair of the Board of CLAANZ. The Oration will focus on reviews of charity regulation that have taken place recently in many jurisdictions (including Australia and New Zealand) to learn from key themes on:

  • ‘Watch outs’ at each stage of the review process.
  • Similarities and differences between statutory and non-statutory reviews.
  • ’Nuts that get cracked’ in reviews and those harder ’too hot to handle potato’ issues that may be sidelined.
  • Key contributions by lawyers in the process of reform and areas where their input is always necessary.

The John Emerson Oration is in honour of John Emerson AM. While John has now retired from Herbert Smith Freehills, where he was a partner for almost four decades, he remains recognised as an expert in the tax laws applicable to charities in Australia.  John was also a member of the Board of Taxation and a number of other legal and public sector committees. He was a key contributor to the reform of laws which led to the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. John is a Member of the Order of Australia for services to law and to the community, particularly through the provision of advice to charities and not-for-profit organisations and the development of public administration reform to encourage philanthropy in Australia.

Event Details

Date: Monday 12 December 2022
Time: 5.30pm - 6.30pm (AEDT) 
Venue: Herbert Smith Freehills, Level 24, 80 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000 & Online
Cost: $50.00 in person, $25 online. 

In-person tickets are limited to 60. Registration closes 5pm, Tuesday 6 December 2022. 


Ms Chelsea De Silva
Section Administrator
T. 02 6246 3722


Registrations for the John Emerson Oration are now open.

Ticket Categories and Rates

Category Ticket Type Price
Tickets In-Person $50.00 + Add to cart
Online $25.00 + Add to cart

Key Speakers

We are pleased to announce the key speakers for this event.

Professor Oonagh Breen
Professor of Law at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin

Dr. Oonagh B. Breen is a Professor of Law at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin where she researches NGO Law, Governance, and Social Change, teaching both in this field and in the area of Equity and the Law of Trusts. Oonagh has worked with the nonprofit sector, charity regulators and policymakers in a number of jurisdictions (including Ireland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada). She specialises in the area of comparative charity regulation and nonprofit-state collaboration in public policy formation and development. A graduate of the Faculty of Law, University College Dublin (BCL ’92, LLM (by research) ’95) and of Yale Law School (LLM ’04, JSD ’06), where her doctoral work focused on comparative perspectives on the legal regulation of charities and the role of state-nonprofit partnership in public policy development, Oonagh was called to the Irish Bar in 1997.

In January 2021, Oonagh took up a two-year Presidency of the International Society for Third Sector Research. ISTR is a learned society comprising a global community of scholars, researchers and practitioners who celebrate diversity, non-profit and philanthropic commitment to society and rigorous interdisciplinary approaches in third sector research. She previously served as Chair of the International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) from 2014-19 and is currently a member of ICNL's International Advisory Council. A regular international speaker on comparative charity regulation matters, Oonagh has published extensively and is a co-editor (with Alison Dunn and Mark Sidel) of Regulatory Waves: Comparative Perspectives on State Regulation and Self-Regulation Policies in the Nonprofit Sector (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and co-author of Law of Charities in Ireland with Philip A. Smith (Bloomsbury Professional, 2019). Oonagh was awarded a Tutorial Scholarship by UCD in 1992 and the Society of King’s Inns Exhibition Prize and a Bar Council Bursary in 1997.

She has been a Fulbright Scholar (‘03) and a Government of Ireland Research Fellow (’03), while Yale Law School named her as a Lillian Goldman Scholar (2003-06). The National University of Ireland awarded her a Travelling Studentship Award (’04-’06). In 2009, Oonagh served as a Research Fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University and in 2016, she was named a Potter Foundation Fellow at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at QUT, Brisbane. Oonagh has also held visiting appointments at De Paul Law School, Chicago, University Missouri Kansas City, University of California, Davis, Brooklyn Law School, and Southern Illinois University. Oonagh was recognised as an Emerging Scholar by ARNOVA in 2006 and was awarded a University President's Award for Teaching & Learning by UCD in 2007. In 2008, she received a Distinguished Research Award from ICNL/CORDAID for her work on the European regulation of nonprofit entities. She served as the external examiner for the Law Society of Ireland's Final Examinations Part 1 in Equity from 2001-2020 and the Irish Rapporteur for the United States International Grantmaking Project since 2005.

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