From Sydney to Oxford to Myanmar
29 November 2013
Andrew with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Professor Wojciech Sadurski, Challis Professor in Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney and Janelle Saffin, the then Federal Member for Page, Commonwealth Parliament, at a press conference in Myanmar.
Andrew McLeod's selection for the 2012 Peter Cameron Sydney Oxford Scholarship provided him with a year of deep reflection about some of the most complex issues posed by the law.
Andrew, who is an adjunct lecturer in law at the University of Sydney, used the scholarship to spend a year reading for the Bachelor of Civil Law at the esteemed University of Oxford. He was offered a place in Exeter College and received assistance with airfares from Herbert Smith Freehills.
"The learning from this experience will stay with me for the rest of my career," says Andrew. "I consciously chose subjects that pushed the boundaries of my grasp of the law, from medieval legal history to Roman and civilian contract law to commercial remedies. Through the study of these subjects my understanding of the law has deepened, reshaped and refocused."
Andrew's legal knowledge is already being put to the test in his role as founder of the Constitution Trust, a charity to equip nascent democracies with the constitutional expertise they need. Through this, and his role as Deputy Director of the Myanmar Constitutional Reform Project, led out of Sydney Law School, he's been involved in the constitutional reform process in Myanmar.
"I visited Myanmar in August, holding a number of high-level meetings with politicians, judges and members of the military on how constitutional experts can lend assistance to the complex process of transitioning to democracy," says Andrew. "I also delivered lectures at the University of Yangon and to MPs in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw."
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is keen to run for presidency in the 2015 general election in Myanmar, but the constitution needs to be amended for this to happen. Currently, anyone married to a foreigner or who has children who are foreign citizens, is prohibited from being president. Suu Kyi has two children who are British citizens, and her late husband Michael Aris was a British academic.
Suu Kyi, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, visited Australia for the first time in November, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney at a special ceremony at the Sydney Opera House.
A lifelong passion for learning
An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Andrew received first-class honours degrees in law and chemistry. Following graduation, he was Associate to the Hon. Robert French AC, Chief Justice of Australia, and worked as a senior analyst within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, developing strategic policy for the Prime Minster on national priorities.
Prior to pursuing a career in law, Andrew conducted research in biological chemistry that explored treatments for Type 2 diabetes and the metabolic role of vanadium.
"My long-term aspiration is to build a career as an academic barrister, splitting my time between practice and teaching and research," says Andrew. "During my studies at Oxford and before at Sydney, practitioners who taught always enthused me with the immediacy of the expertise they shared with their students. I hope to be able to do the same for another generation of lawyers."
After finishing his Bachelor of Civil Law in September 2013, Andrew remained at Oxford as a stipendiary lecturer at Lady Margaret Hall, serving as a tutor in law to undergraduate students and teaching courses in private law. He is also reading for a Master of Philosophy in Law, examining the nature of executive power in common-law jurisdictions.
In memory of Peter Cameron
The Peter Cameron Sydney Oxford Scholarship was established in 2007 by the Sydney Law School and the Cameron family, and exists as an enduring memorial to the late Peter Cameron, who served an inaugural chairman of the Sydney Law School Advisory Board. It was funded through contributions from Peter's friends and colleagues and is designed to support talented scholars to pursue further study in law following the completion of a Bachelor of Laws.
Applications close on January 24, for the 2014 Peter Cameron Sydney Oxford Scholarship, which is valued at $34,000. Andrew encourages all eligible law students to apply.
"Graduate study at an institution like Oxford provides an unrivalled opportunity for deep reflection," he says. "Finding time for this during full-time work is impossible and yet it is essential to underpin the sorts of intellectual leaps needed to help shape the law. This scholarship is exceptionally generous, at a time when many other funding opportunities are shrinking."
He adds that the great value of scholarships like this one is the space they give recipients for imagination and creativity.
"They lift the heavy burden of financing, and allow people like me to concentrate on the trickiest conundrums of the law and, occasionally, develop some solutions. They breed a group of rigorously trained thinkers for the broader benefit of society."
Contact: Jessica Sullivan
Phone: +61 2 9351 0467