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Ford on show at 90


Cite as: December 2010 84(12) LIJ, p.17

Not everyone has their 90th birthday marked with an exhibition at their old university.

Not everyone is Harold Ford.

The former Melbourne Law School academic, a leading figure in Australian corporate law for several decades, has had his considerable legacy documented in a display on the ground floor of the University of Melbourne’s law school building.

The Harold Ford Professor of Commercial Law at Melbourne Law School, Professor Ian Ramsay, said the professionally-curated display was a way of celebrating Mr Ford’s birthday and acknowledging his achievements as a teacher and a scholar.

“His legacy has been profound,” Professor Ramsay told the LIJ. “Harold developed expertise and was so influential in at least two important areas of law.

“He is perhaps best known for corporate law work but he was also a pioneer in the area of trusts law. To combine those two as he did was very, very rare.

“Many people still use his works. Ford’s Principles of Corporations Law is in its 14th edition and is going on for 40 years, which is remarkable.”

Mr Ford told the LIJ it was “a bit overwhelming” to have his birthday acknowledged in such a way.

He said he still occasionally read judgments on the internet and perused the business pages of the major newspapers but didn’t follow law reform “as closely as I used to”.

“I first went into a law firm in 1937 and things were much quieter then,” he quipped.

The display is not the first time that Mr Ford’s achievements have been acknowledged.

For his 80th birthday, the school organised a conference with speakers from academia and the judiciary. The proceedings were published as a book with the foreword written by High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne, a former student of Mr Ford.

For more information on the display and Mr Ford’s legacy see The display, which opened in October, will close this month.


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