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Professor Murray Raff

School of Law& Justice
Highest Qualification – Phd
HDR Completions - 2

Contact Details
Phone No.: +61 (0) 2 6201 5969


The common law system is antiquated, self-contradictory, phenomenally expensive to operate and unsustainable in 21st century Australia – it is irredeemable. This is amply demonstrated in two connected areas of the law – in Property law and in Environmental & Planning Law, which also have their own problems which are extremely interesting in right of themselves.  I worked on law reform in these areas at the Law Reform Commission of Victoria in the 1980s – the common law of property is so plastered with spot legislative reforms that the original antiquated state of the law is almost completely concealed but the interrelationships are almost impossible to trace.  Yet it is the antiquated made that re-emerges when environmental powers of land owners are considered.  One comprehensive reform that would bring order is a civil law codification.  This could be introduced at the same time as an independent Australian republican constitution (with a declaration of civil rights).  The German system is a modern example of how this could work, adopted by many independent countries in the world, freely and not through colonialism, including many in our region.  It is interesting to observe law reform is states in transition from socialism in this context.  Civil law codification was also the historically alternative course in English legal history, which could well have taken hold if English 17th century politics had not taken a sectarian turn, with Roman law being identified with the Roman church and the Stuarts.  The legal integration of legal systems within the European Union, with enormous energy behind the proposal to develop a European Civil Code, is a development with potential to influence the direction of all common law systems in this respect.


  • 2011 – Australia-China Joint Action Project Funding program of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Peasant Land Tenures in China, Travel funds to establish collaboration with Chinese participants - $7,500;
  • 2011 – ACT Commissioner for Sustainability & Environment, 'Legal Obligations of the ACT Government Regarding the Management of Nature Reserves', research report - $5,000;
  • 2011 – ACT Commissioner for Sustainability & Environment, 'Lake Burley Griffin – Governance Issues Relating to Water Quality and Integrated Catchment Management', Consultancy research report - $5,000.
  • Private Property and Environmental Responsibility – A Comparative Study of German Real Property Law, Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 2003 (ISBN 90 411 2128 5) (326 pages);
  • 'Toward an Ecologically Sustainable Property Concept' in E Cooke (ed), Modern Studies in Property Law – Volume III, Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2005, 65-88;
  • 'Private Law in the Shadow of Public Law – A Legacy of 20th Century Marxism and the Soviet Legal Model' (2012) Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (Beiheft 131) 157-188 (with Dr Anna Taitslin);
  • 国际财产法与欧洲法律一体化 ['International Property Law and European Legal Integration'] in 高祥主编 [X Gao] (ed), 当代法律交往与法律融合. -- 北京:中国政法大学出版社, 2013 [Comparative Law & Global Common Law - Exchange and Integration of Contemporary Legal Systems], CUPL Press, Beijing, 2013, 215-252 – published in Chinese;

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Murray is available for a HDR supervision consultation to prospective students.

Areas of Research Interest

  • Comparative Law
  • Environmental & Planning Law
  • Property Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Law Reform in States in Transition from Socialism

Research Theories / Models of Interest

  • Legal Theory – especially Natural Law and Sociology of Law in Weberian tradition
  • Legal History

Research Methods of Interest

  • Comparative
  • Doctrinal
  • Theoretical
  • Historical