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Vale Nicola Franklin

14 February 2017
Mourning the loss of a respected friend and colleague

Nicola made a significant contribution to Sydney Law School over a period of 32 years as an academic, teacher, administrator, and colleague.

Nicola Franklin

Nicola made a significant contribution to Sydney Law School over a period of 32 years as an academic, teacher, administrator, and colleague.

It is with sadness that we mark and mourn the passing of our friend and colleague Nicola Franklin. Nicola passed away on 14 December 2016 in the palliative care ward at Hornsby Hospital. Nicola made a significant contribution to Sydney Law School over a period of 32 years as an academic, teacher, administrator, and colleague. In acknowledgement of this, Nicola was appointed an Honorary Senior Lecturer upon her retirement, although she continued to teach at the Law School until 2016. She joined the Law School in 1980 having completed her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Natal, South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws and Diploma in Legal Studies at The University of Cambridge.

Nicola was a gifted and dedicated Public Lawyer - in the broadest sense. Her grasp of Administrative Law was outstanding - at one point co-authoring with Mark Aronson the great Australian Administrative Law text, now titled Judicial Review of Administrative Action and Government Liability. Nicola taught Administrative Law for over 30 years and for much of that time she led the Administrative Law teaching group - co-ordinating the course, supporting new staff, and setting high teaching standards. In recent years, Nicola also taught the Public Law unit of study.  She enjoyed challenging the approach of constitutional lawyers by reinterpreting Constitutional Law cases from an Administrative Law perspective.  She was a strong believer in the application of legal principle, rather than mere pragmatism, to legal problems.  Nicola particularly enjoyed teaching the Public Law Summer School, which she did with absolute dedication every year when everyone else was enjoying a holiday. Nicola was also an encouraging, inspiring, and often very funny postgraduate research supervisor.

Nicola made an outstanding contribution to the Master of Environmental Law program which she established in 1984. She was the intellectual leader of the program for many years in her capacity as program co-ordinator. Her special area of expertise in Environmental Law was Planning Law and Environmental Impact Assessment, of which she had a forensic knowledge. Her main research contribution to the field was her co-authorship of Environmental and Planning Law in New South Wales, now in its 4th edition.

Nicola was a pioneer in the Law School’s engagement with China particularly in developing and coordinating the Shanghai Winter School and the Sustainable Development Law in China programs. Nicola chaperoned hundreds of students on their educational visits to China. Her many colleagues in Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan and Guangzhou have paid special tribute to her as ‘the dearest friend and a teacher for many of us’.

She was the Deputy-Director of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law for over a decade and Co-Editor in Chief of the Asia Pacific Journal of Environmental Law. Nicola actively sought to publish the highest quality research in Environmental Law, and provided opportunities for her colleagues in Law Schools from across the Asia Pacific region to showcase their work. Nicola enjoyed a reputation for the care and attention she paid to her editorial role. She had an eagle eye for detail, and no grammatical error or infelicity of expression would ever slip past her. Nicola made a major contribution to the success of the journal as the flagship publication of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law.

Nicola will always be remembered for her special qualities - generous, selfless, passionate, perfectionist, considered, and dedicated. She will be greatly missed by everyone at the Law School, especially her Environmental Law, Administrative Law and Public Law colleagues.

Nicola asked that there be no funeral or memorial service. Nicola’s colleagues at the Law School have established a memorial fund in her honour in favour of the Environmental Defenders Office NSW to which she donated generously and regularly.

To make a donation in her memory please go to https://www.givenow.com.au/edonswnicola.