The Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence invites entries for the Dennis Leslie Mahoney Prize in Legal Theory 2016. The prize is funded by a generous gift from the Honourable Dennis Mahoney QC AO, former President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. Throughout his life and especially in his seminal work of 1946, The Province and Function of Law, the late Julius Stone, rather than taking a purely historical or conceptual approach to law, sought to understand it according to the operation and, moreover, the needs of particular societies. A prize of AU$50,000 will be awarded to the author or authors of the entry that, since 30 June 2011, has best advanced the sociological and justice-oriented approach to jurisprudence pioneered by Julius Stone. The winner of the prize may also be invited to participate in the activities of the Julius Stone Institute for up to one semester and to deliver the prestigious Julius Stone Address.

An entry may, but need not, consist of a book or articles. Entries of other sorts, including reports and papers, are eligible. The author or one of the co-authors of an entry may apply directly or a third party may nominate him, her or them for the prize. The applicant or the nominator must submit five copies of each of the following:

  1. Application form
  2. Entry, and
  3. Abstract that both summarises the entry and relates it to the purpose of the prize, as specified in the terms and conditions.

Entries close on 30 June 2016. The winner will be announced in December 2016.

Previous Winners

Professor Ran Hirschl (2011)

Professor Ran Hirschl of the University of Toronto

The Dennis Leslie Mahoney Prize in Legal Theory for 2011 was awarded to Professor Ran Hirschl of the University of Toronto for his book Constitutional Theocracy, which was published by Harvard University Press in 2010.

Professor Hirschl was chosen as the winner from a most impressive field by a committee that consisted of Justice Mahoney, Professor Gillian Triggs (Dean and Challis Professor of International Law, Sydney Law School), Professor Martin Krygier (Gordon Samuels Professor of Law and Social Theory, University of New South Wales), Professor Wojciech Sadurski (Challis Chair in Jurisprudence, Sydney Law School) and Dr Kevin Walton (Director of the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence). The committee regarded Constitutional Theocracy as a brilliant analysis of law in its social context and a fascinating exploration of an issue of contemporary and global significance, namely, the role of constitutional law and courts in non-secular societies.

2006 Professor Brian Tamanaha

Professor Brian Tamanaha - portrait

The inaugural Dennis Leslie Mahoney Prize in Legal Theory was awarded to Professor Brian Tamanaha, Chief Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo Professor of Law, St John’s University, New York.

Professor Tamanaha’s book A General Jurisprudence of Law and Society, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2001, was the outstanding entry in a very strong field. The committee described it as a major contribution to sociological jurisprudence, which ventured a sociological reorientation of legal positivism. The Committee consisted of the Justice Mahoney, Professor Ron McCallum (Dean, Sydney Law School), Professor Tom Campbell (Australian National University), Professor Ngaire Naffine (University of Adelaide) and Mr Kevin Walton (Acting Director of the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence).