Dr Coel Kirkby

BA (Hons) Queen’s LLB Queen’s LLM McGill PhD Cambridge

F10 - Law School (Camperdown)
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 8627 7328
Fax +61 2 9351 0200

Biographical details

Coel Kirkby joined the Law School in 2018. He was elected the Smuts Research Fellow in Commonwealth Studies at the University of Cambridge for 2017-8. Before that he was a McKenzie Fellow at Melbourne Law School and Endeavour Fellow at UNSW. Coel is both a historian of the legal thought and practice of British imperialism, and a comparative constitutional scholar concerned with its legacies in postcolonial states. He has also worked on contemporary constitutional reform projects from Fiji and Tuvalu to Victoria and South Africa.

Coel is completing a monograph entitled The Birth of the Native and the Ends of the British Empire. The book and related articles examine the ideology, institutions and politics of ‘native’ status across the British Empire over the nineteenth century. His current project is an intellectual history of jurisprudence in the context of empire. In particular, Coel examines how concepts of modern law were derived in contradistinction to concepts of primitive law over the century from Maine and Marx to Kelsen and Hart. Coel also writes on contemporary constitutional questions in postcolonial states.

Research interests

  • Comparative constitutional law
  • Legal history
  • Jurisprudence

Teaching and supervision

  • Torts

Selected publications

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Edited Books

  • Murray, C., Kirkby, C. (2014). International encyclopaedia for constitutional law: South Africa. Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.

Book Chapters

  • Kirkby, C. (2018). A cure for coups: The South African influence on Fijian constitutionalism. In Rosalind Dixon, Theunis Roux (Eds.), Constitutional Triumphs, Constitutional Disappointments: A Critical Assessment of the 1996 South African Constitution's Local and International Influence, (pp. 312-340). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]
  • Kirkby, C., Murray, C. (2016). Constitution-making in anglophone Africa: We the people? In Muna Ndulo, Mamoudou Gazibo (Eds.), Growing Democracy in Africa: Elections, Accountable Governance, and Political Economy, (pp. 86-114). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Kirkby, C. (2012). Subjects to citizens: 'Native' enfranchisement in reconstituting the imperial public of the British Empire, c. 1887-1914. In Michelon, C., Clunie, G., McCorkindale, C., Psarras, H. (Eds.), The public in law: Representations of the political in legal discourse, (pp. 161-173). UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
  • Kirkby, C., Murray, C. (2010). Elusive autonomy in sub-Saharan Africa. In Katherine Nobbs, Marc Weller (Eds.), Asymmetric Autonomy and the Settlement of Ethnic Conflicts, (pp. 97-120). Philadelphia, USA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Antali, M., Kirkby, C. (2009). The lethality of the Canadian state's (Re)cognition of indigenous peoples. In Austin Sarat, Jennifer L. Culbert (Eds.), States of Violence: War, Capital Punishment, and Letting Die, (pp. 192-228). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]

Journals

  • Kirkby, C. (2019). Reconstituting Canada: The Enfranchisement and Disenfranchisement of 'Indians', c. 1837-1900 (Forthcoming). University of Toronto Law Journal, 69(4).
  • Kirkby, C. (2018). Law Evolves: The Uses of Primitive Law in Anglo-American Concepts of Modern Law, 1861-1961. American Journal of Legal History, 58(4), 535-563. [More Information]
  • Kirkby, C. (2016). Book review: Theophilus Shepstone and the forging of Natal: African autonomy and settler colonialism in the making of traditional authority by Jeff Guy, Scottsville, University of ZwaZulu-Natal Press, 2013, ISBN 1869142497. Settler Colonial Studies, 6(1), 105-107. [More Information]
  • Kirkby, C. (2012). Henry Maine and the re-constitution of the British Empire. The Modern Law Review, 75(4), 655-673.
  • Kirkby, C. (2010). Book Review: 'Hamar Foster, Benjamin L. Berger & A. R. Buck (eds ),The Grand Experiment: Law & Legal Culture in British Settler Societies', Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. The Modern Law Review, 73(2), 335-338.
  • Fessha, Y., Kirkby, C. (2008). A critical survey of subnational autonomy in African states. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 38(2), 248-271. [More Information]
  • Kirkby, C., Steytler, N., Jordan, J. (2007). Towards a more cooperative local government: The challenge of district intergovernmental forums. Southern African Public Law, 22(1), 143-165.
  • Kirkby, C. (2006). Pamela A. Jordan, 'Defending rights in Russia: Lawyers, the state, and legal reform in the post-Soviet era' (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005). Quebec Journal of International Law (revue quebecoise de droit international), 19(1), 361-363.
  • Kirkby, C. (2006). Rwanda's gacaca courts: A preliminary critique. Journal of African Law, 50(2), 94-117. [More Information]

Report

  • Stone, A., Quinn-Watson, J., Saunders, A., Kirkby, C. (2016). Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies: Submission to Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia.
  • Maddison, S., Gover, K., Kirkby, C. (2016). Treaty fact sheet.
  • Kirkby, C. (2014). Separation of Powers in the 2013 Constitution.
  • Kirkby, C. (2014). The Bill of Rights in the 2013 Constitution.
  • Kirkby, C. (2008). Bibliographie sur la decentralisation [A bibliography of decentralization].

2019

  • Kirkby, C. (2019). Reconstituting Canada: The Enfranchisement and Disenfranchisement of 'Indians', c. 1837-1900 (Forthcoming). University of Toronto Law Journal, 69(4).

2018

  • Kirkby, C. (2018). A cure for coups: The South African influence on Fijian constitutionalism. In Rosalind Dixon, Theunis Roux (Eds.), Constitutional Triumphs, Constitutional Disappointments: A Critical Assessment of the 1996 South African Constitution's Local and International Influence, (pp. 312-340). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]
  • Kirkby, C. (2018). Law Evolves: The Uses of Primitive Law in Anglo-American Concepts of Modern Law, 1861-1961. American Journal of Legal History, 58(4), 535-563. [More Information]

2016

  • Kirkby, C. (2016). Book review: Theophilus Shepstone and the forging of Natal: African autonomy and settler colonialism in the making of traditional authority by Jeff Guy, Scottsville, University of ZwaZulu-Natal Press, 2013, ISBN 1869142497. Settler Colonial Studies, 6(1), 105-107. [More Information]
  • Stone, A., Quinn-Watson, J., Saunders, A., Kirkby, C. (2016). Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies: Submission to Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia.
  • Kirkby, C., Murray, C. (2016). Constitution-making in anglophone Africa: We the people? In Muna Ndulo, Mamoudou Gazibo (Eds.), Growing Democracy in Africa: Elections, Accountable Governance, and Political Economy, (pp. 86-114). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Maddison, S., Gover, K., Kirkby, C. (2016). Treaty fact sheet.

2014

  • Murray, C., Kirkby, C. (2014). International encyclopaedia for constitutional law: South Africa. Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.
  • Kirkby, C. (2014). Separation of Powers in the 2013 Constitution.
  • Kirkby, C. (2014). The Bill of Rights in the 2013 Constitution.

2012

  • Kirkby, C. (2012). Henry Maine and the re-constitution of the British Empire. The Modern Law Review, 75(4), 655-673.
  • Kirkby, C. (2012). Subjects to citizens: 'Native' enfranchisement in reconstituting the imperial public of the British Empire, c. 1887-1914. In Michelon, C., Clunie, G., McCorkindale, C., Psarras, H. (Eds.), The public in law: Representations of the political in legal discourse, (pp. 161-173). UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

2010

  • Kirkby, C. (2010). Book Review: 'Hamar Foster, Benjamin L. Berger & A. R. Buck (eds ),The Grand Experiment: Law & Legal Culture in British Settler Societies', Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. The Modern Law Review, 73(2), 335-338.
  • Kirkby, C., Murray, C. (2010). Elusive autonomy in sub-Saharan Africa. In Katherine Nobbs, Marc Weller (Eds.), Asymmetric Autonomy and the Settlement of Ethnic Conflicts, (pp. 97-120). Philadelphia, USA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2009

  • Antali, M., Kirkby, C. (2009). The lethality of the Canadian state's (Re)cognition of indigenous peoples. In Austin Sarat, Jennifer L. Culbert (Eds.), States of Violence: War, Capital Punishment, and Letting Die, (pp. 192-228). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [More Information]

2008

  • Fessha, Y., Kirkby, C. (2008). A critical survey of subnational autonomy in African states. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 38(2), 248-271. [More Information]
  • Kirkby, C. (2008). Bibliographie sur la decentralisation [A bibliography of decentralization].

2007

  • Kirkby, C., Steytler, N., Jordan, J. (2007). Towards a more cooperative local government: The challenge of district intergovernmental forums. Southern African Public Law, 22(1), 143-165.

2006

  • Kirkby, C. (2006). Pamela A. Jordan, 'Defending rights in Russia: Lawyers, the state, and legal reform in the post-Soviet era' (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005). Quebec Journal of International Law (revue quebecoise de droit international), 19(1), 361-363.
  • Kirkby, C. (2006). Rwanda's gacaca courts: A preliminary critique. Journal of African Law, 50(2), 94-117. [More Information]

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