Associate Professor John Gava

  • Publications

    You can access my papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at






                    Macquarie University


                1991-4              Law 204 - Contracts Materials, pp 1,605 + 85 pages of commentary.


    1995-9              Law 421 - Foundations of Commercial Law, pp 1062 + 75 pages of commentary.


    University of Adelaide


    2000-10             Commercial Law and the Market, pp 816 + 32 pages of commentary.






    "The Revolution in Bankruptcy Law in Colonial New South Wales" in M Ellinghaus, A Bradbrook & A Duggan (eds), The Emergence of Australian Law (Butterworths, 1989), pp 210-31.


    “Is Privity worth Defending? in P Kincaid (ed), Privity: Private Justice or Public Regulation? (Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, 2001), pp 199-232.


    “Can Judges Resuscitate Federalism?” in Proceedings of the Nineteenth Conference of the Samuel Griffith Society (Melbourne, 2007), pp 23-51.


    “Contract” in I Freckleton & H Selby (eds), Appealing to the Future: Michael Kirby and his Legacy (Lawbook Co, Sydney, 2009), pp 239-64.


    “What role need Law play in a Society with Magic?” in Jeffrey Thomas & Franklyn Snyder (eds), The Law and Harry Potter (Carolina Academic Press, Durham NC, 2010), pp 3-18. (With Jeannie Paterson)




    ARTICLES – Forthcoming


    “Dixonian Strict Legalism, Wilson v Darling Harbour Stevedoring and Contracting in the Real World”, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. (10,000 words)


    “Another Study in Judging: Sir Owen Dixon and Yerkey v Jones”, Journal of Contract Law. (10,000 words)


    “Sir Owen Dixon, Strict Legalism and McRae v Commonwealth Disposals Commission”, Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal. (10,000 words)



    ARTICLES – Published


    “A Study in Judging: Sir Owen Dixon and McDonald v Dennys Lascelles” (2009) 32 Australian Bar Review 77- 95.


    “Adela Pankhurst and the Rule of Law”, Quadrant, June 2009, 58-61.


    “Unconvincing and perplexing: Hutchinson and Stapleton on judging”, (2007) 26 University of Queensland Law Journal 67-82.


    “The Audience for Rick Bigwood’s Exploitative Contracts”, (2007) 32 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 140-152.


    Can contract law be justified on economic grounds?”, (2006) 25 University of Queensland Law Journal 253-69.


    “Tobias Smollett and the Unknown Unknowns”, Quadrant, March 2006, 44-5.


    “False Lessons from the Real Deal: Campbell, Collins and Wightman on Implicit Dimensions of Contract – Discrete, Relational and Network Contracts ?” (2005) 21 Journal of Contract Law 182-96.


    “Do we need a Hybrid Law of Contract? Why Hugh Collins is Wrong and Why it Matters”, [2004] 63 Cambridge Law Journal   605-31. (With Janey Greene).


    “Another Blast from the Past or why the Left should embrace Strict Legalism: A Reply to Frank Carrigan”, (2003) 27 Melbourne University Law Review 186-98.


    “Law Reviews: Good for Judges, Bad for Law Schools?”, (2002) 26 Melbourne University Law Review 560-76.


    “The Limits of Modern Contract Theory: Hugh Collins on Regulating Contracts”, (2001) 22 Adelaide Law Review 301-313. (With Janey Greene)


    “The Rise of the Hero Judge”, (2001) 24 University of New South Wales Law Journal 747-759.


    “Women and Rape Law: A reply to Alison Young from a puzzled reader”, (2000) 24 Criminal Law Journal 305-14.


    “The Perils of Judicial Activism: the Contracts Jurisprudence of Justice Michael Kirby”, (1999) 15 Journal of Contract Law 156 -78.

    “Commentary”, (1999) 73 Australian Law Journal 597-600. (Article originally published in (1991) 7 Australian Journal of Law and Society).


    “A People’s Convention”, (1998) 21 University of New South Wales Law Journal  932-35.


    “An Australian Contract Law? A Reply”, (1998) 12 Journal of Contract Law 242-6.


                "Contract and Conventionalism: Professional Attitudes to Changes in Contract Law in Australia", (1996) 10 Journal of Contract Law 141-166. (With Peter Kincaid).


                "From Deference to Scholarly Independence: Problems in the Relationship between the Law Schools and the Legal Profession", (1995) 3 The Crossexaminer 33-38.


                "Scholarship and Community", (1994) 16 Sydney Law Review 443-472.


                "The argument against mooting", (1992) 1 The Crossexaminer 18-20.


                "Commentary on Goodbye to Law Reviews", (1991) 7 Australian Journal of Law and Society 100-106.


    "Introductory Essay", (1988-89) 5 Australian Journal of Law and Society 1-10.


    "Law and Legal Education", (1989) 1 Macquarie Law Student's Journal 20-25.


    "Legal Education at Macquarie: A Personal View", (1985) 2 Ticket of Leave 23.






    “We can’t trust judges not to impose their own ideology”, The Australian, December 29, 2008.


    “We need a truly federal court”, The Australian. August 29, 2008.


    “No point in learning to teach”, The Australian Higher Education Supplement, November 14, 2007.


    “Judicial Activism”, Law Society of SA Bulletin, Vol 29 No 9, October 2007.

              “Cut gases or cop the cold shoulder”, The Australian, May 31, 2007.


    “Academia must declare independence”, The Independent Weekly, April 15-21, 2006.


    “A truly federal High Court”, The Independent Weekly, March 5-10, 2006.


    “Realities of power and authority in modern unis”, The Independent Weekly, February 5-11, 2006.


    “Is a new monarch required to head an Australian republic”, The Independent Weekly , Dec 11-17, 2005.


    “High Court’s IR musings may disappoint Howard”, The Australian Financial Review, December 15, 2005.


    “Liberalism and choice in Australian education”, The Independent Weekly, November 6-12, 2005.


    “Profits, not premierships will matter if Reds net a sale”, The Australian, 16 May, 2005. (Article on Manchester United and the commodification of sport).


    “Straitjacket breaks the law”, The Australian Higher Education Supplement, 27 October, 2004.


    “Networks hinder the pursuit of truth”, The Australian Higher Education Supplement, 11 August, 2004.


    “Nobody’s perfect for job of G-G”, The Australian Financial Review, 13 May, 2003.


    “Weighed down by the fat cats”, The Australian Higher Education Supplement, 20 November 2002.


    “Ideas better than skills”, The Australian Higher Education Supplement, 21 August, 2002.


                “Time to recreate our Unis”, Education Age, 5 September, 2001.


                “Words, wisdom and wily lawyers”, Education Age, 27 June, 2001.


    “Too busy writing to think”, The Australian Higher Education Supplement, 28 March, 2001.


    “Rethinking the role of Universities”, The Adelaide Review, September, 2000.


    “Let’s boycott WA, NT”, Sydney Morning Herald 11 April, 2000. (Article discussing the constitutional issues involved in the mandatory sentencing debate).


    “Who’s who in the strange realm of the republic”, Sydney Morning Herald 16 October, 1999. (An analysis of the various positions in the republic debate).          


                “Business: A Law unto its own”, The Australian Financial Review 4 February 1997. (Article discussing the relative unimportance of commercial law for the market).


                “The rise of the hero judge”, The Australian Financial Review 14 November 1996. (Article discussing judicial activism).


                “Power to the (media) people”, The Australian Financial Review 8 October 1996. (Article arguing that the High Court got it wrong in the political defamation cases).


                "By-elections offer unnecessary second bite at the cherry", The Australian 31 January 1996. (Article arguing against by-elections).


                “Our highest court needs a non-lawyer”, The Australian 6 December 1995. (Article arguing that our next High Court judge should not be a lawyer).


                "Take some comfort in your cold", The Australian 6 June 1995 (with Alice Russell). (Article in defence of the common cold).


                "Assault on Contract law a threat to Freedom", The Australian 19 April 1995 (Article on contract in the Mason High Court).


                "Capitals gain with this loss" The Australian 10 April 1995 (with Alice Russell). (Article on the political and social advantages of moving our capitals away from the major cities).


                "No more Mr Bad Guy" The Australian 9 February 1995 (with Alice Russell). (Article on political correctness and Genghiz Khan).


                "Flagging a New Idea for our Future" Sydney Morning Herald 24 January 1994 (with Alice Russell). (Article calling for the deregulation of the flag, national anthem and public holidays).


                "The Power and the Federalism" The Australian 19 January 1994. (Article discussing the High Court's treatment of federalism).


                "Contracts and Elections..." Sydney Morning Herald 25 February 1993. (On politicians' use of contracts in election campaigns).


                "The Paradox of Job Contracts" The Age 14 January 1993. (Victorian government's misunderstanding of the law of contract).


                "A Clash of Symbols. . . "The Weekend Australian 20-21 July 1991 (with Alice Russell). (Article on republicanism).


                "In the Long Term, Shorter is Better" The Australian, 8 May 1991. (Article advocating shorter parliamentary terms) I was interviewed on ABC radio in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne about this story.


                "And it's illegal", The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 December 1989. (On the unconstitutionality of the Harbour Bridge Toll).







    Review of Statutory Interpretation in Australia by DC Pearce and RS Geddes (Butterworths, 1988, 3rd ed) in (1993) 9 Australian Journal of Law and Society 118-23.


                Review of Debt, Seduction and other Disasters: The Birth of Civil Law in Convict New South Wales by B Kercher (Federation Press, 1996) in (1997) 22 Alternative Law Journal 259.


                Review of Exploring the Boundaries of Contract, R Halson (ed), (Dartmouth, 1996) in (1997) 12 Journal of Contract Law 87 – 93.


    Review of Law’s Order: What Economics has to do with Law and why it Matters, David Friedman, (Princeton University Press, 2000) in (2002) 22 Legal Studies 300-4.


    Review of Owen Dixon by Philip Ayres (Miegunyah Press, 2003) in (2003) 24 Adelaide Law Review 337-41.


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Entry last updated: Friday, 11 Mar 2011