Foundation Dean of Law

Sir David Plumley DERHAM (1920-1985)

Dean, Faculty of Law (1963-1968)

Professor Derham graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne.

Early career

Professor Derham practised as a barrister, 1948-51; Independent Lecturer in Constitutional Law, 1949-51, Professor of Jurisprudence,1951-64, University of Melbourne; Member of the Chief Justice's Law Reform Committee, 1951-63; Visiting Tutor in Law, Wadham College, Oxford University, 1953; Carnegie Travelling Fellow, 1953-54; Constitutional Law consultant to the Indian Law Institute, 1958-59; Senior Research Fellow in Law and Behavioral Sciences, University of Chicago Law School, 1961; Visiting Professor at Northwestern University Law School, 1961.

During World War II, Professor Derham served as a major in the Australian Imperial Force.

Monash career

In 1963, Professor Derham was appointed founding dean of the Faculty of Law at Monash University. He resigned in order to become Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne in 1968.

Minutes of Meeting No. 1/68 (Special Meeting) of the Faculty of Law (pdf 21kb)

External appointments
  • Member of Victorian Chief Justice's Law Reform Committee (1951-58);
  • Member of the Victorian Council of Legal Education (1951-68);
  • Member of the Board of Management of the Royal Melbourne Hospital (1958-82);
  • President of the Medico-Legal Society of Victoria (1963-64);
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences (1964);
  • Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne (1968-82);
  • Member of the Board of Management of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (1968-82);
  • Chairman of the Melbourne Theatre Company Board of Management (1973-82);
  • Chairman of Australian Vice-Chancellor's Committee (1975-76)
  • Member of the Order of the British Empire (1945);
  • Supreme Court Prize (1947);
  • Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (1968);
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Monash University (1968);
  • Honorary Doctor of Law, University of Melbourne;
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1977)
Sources of information

Who's Who in Australia, 1985. Personnel file.

Professor Derham, 1968

David Derham Faculty of Law