Professor William MacNeil (Fellow, Australian Academy of Law) is an Adjunct Professor in the College of Law & Justice, Victoria University.

Previously, Professor MacNeil held decanal, professorial and/or research positions at Southern Cross University, Griffith University, the University of Hong Kong and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Trained in both law and literature, Professor MacNeil is a scholar of jurisprudence and cultural legal studies. His most recent book, Novel Judgements: Legal Theory as Fiction, won the Penny Pether Prize for Scholarship in Law, Literature, and the Humanities. A founding editor of the book series, ‘Edinburgh Critical Studies in Law, Literature and the Humanities’, a managing editor of Polemos: Journal of Law, Literature and Culture, and a senior editorial consultant for Legalities: The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Law & Society, Professor MacNeil is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a former Chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans.

Areas of expertise

  • Jurisprudence
  • Law and Literature
  • Cultural legal studies (law and film, television, video, art, fashion)
  • Philosophy of human rights
William (Bill) MacNeil

Contact details

Supervision

  • HKU: 1 Law PhD completion, 1 Humanities MPhil. Completion – principal supervisor.
  • Griffith University: 11 Law PhD completions, 1 Law MPhil, 1 Humanities PhD – principal supervisor.
  • Southern Cross University: 1 Law PhD completion; 2 Law PhD students, nearing completion.

Research Grants

  • 2000: $200,000 AUD Griffith University grant to establish Socio-Legal Research Centre, totalling AU$ 200,000 (2000).
  • 1996-1997: $40,000 HKD Hong Kong University Grant, totally HK$ for ‘Law School as Training for Hysteria’.
  • 1995-1996: $15,000 HKD Hong Kong University Department of Law Grant for ‘The Monstrous Body and the Law: Wollstonecraft vs. Shelley’.

Publications

Books

MacNeill, W. P., (2012), Novel Judgements: Legal Theory as Fiction. London: Routledge.

MacNeill, W. P., (2007), Lex Populi: The Jurisprudence of Popular Culture. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.

Refereed book chapters

MacNeill, W. P., (2019), Promethean Longing: Ridley Scott’s Speculative Legalism, Law and the Humanities: Cultural Perspectives (eds., C.Battisti & S. Fiorato). Berlin: DeGruyter, 523-36.

MacNeill, W. P., (2019), The Litigating Dead: Zombie Jurisprudence in The Walking Dead, World War Z and The Rising’ in Law and the New Media: West of Everything, (eds., C. Delage, P. Goodrich & M. Wan), Edinburgh: EUP, 138-155.

MacNeill, W. P., (2017), Machiavellian Fantasy and the Game of Laws: Rex, Sex and Lex in George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ in Envisioning Legality: Law, Culture and Representation (eds., Crawley, K. & Peters, T.D.). London: Routledge, 96-118.

MacNeill, W. P., (2015) Popular Culture’s Lex Vampirica: The Law of the Undead in True Blood, the ‘Twilight’ saga and The Passage, in Cultural Legal Studies: Law’s Popular Cultures and the Metamorphosis of the Law (eds, Leiboff, M. &  Sharp, C.). London: Routledge, 231-251.

MacNeill, W. P., (2015), Popular Culture and Jurisprudence, ‘Law and Popular Culture in Australia’ (eds., M. de Zwart, B. Richards, S. LeMire) Sydney: Lexis-Nexis.

MacNeill, W. P., (2014), PreCrime Never Pays! Law and Economics in Minority Report, Legal Theory and the Humanities, Vol. 5 (eds. P Goodrich & M del Mar) London: Ashgate.

MacNeill, W. P., (2008), No sacrifice is too great for the Cause!: Cause(less) Lawyering and the Legal Trials and Tribulations of Gone with the Wind, The Cultural Lives of Cause Lawyering (eds., A. Sarat and S. Scheingold). Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 27-55.

MacNeill, W. P., (2004), It's the vibe: The Common Law Imaginary Down Under, Law’s Moving Image (eds. L. Moran, I. Christie, E. Sandon, E. Loizidou) Cavendish, London, 30-44.

MacNeill, W. P., (1992) Righting and Difference, Human Rights in Hong Kong (ed. R. Wacks) Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 86-118.

Refereed journal articles

MacNeill, W. P., (2021), Introduction: Law in End Times: A North/South Collaboration, Polemos: Journal of Law, Literature and Culture. 15:11-3

MacNeill, W. P., (2021), Waldo’s Beautiful Things: Possession and Possessing in Otto Preminger’s Laura’, Crime Fiction Studies. 2 (1):1-14

MacNeill, W. P., (2018), Boundary, Crossing, Pathway: Margaret Davies’ Province of Jurisprudence Un-Determined’, Book Symposium on Margaret Davies’ Law UnLimited: Materialism, Pluralism and Legal Theory in Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy. 43, 135-140

MacNeill, W. P., (2017), ‘Lacanian ink and leather “down under”: Queensland’s “bikie” legislation and its crimes of fashion’, Griffith Law Review. 26 (4): 615-631.

MacNeill, W. P., (2017), The Litigating Dead: Zombie Jurisprudence in Contemporary Popular Culture, 14 NoFo: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice. 108-123

MacNeill, W. P., (2017), His Dark Legalities: Intellectual Property’s Psychomachia in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, Liverpool Law Review. 38: 11-31.

MacNeill, W. P., (2016), Let the Right Law In: True Blood, the Twilight Saga and The Passage as Lex Vampirica’, in Fables of Law: Fairy Tales in a Modern Context, eds. D. Carpi & M. Leiboff in Law and Literature, eds. D. Carpi & K Stierstorfer, vol. 13, Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 331-354.

MacNeill, W. P., (2015), Brokeback’s Bareback: Queering Lex Populi, Law, Text, Culture. 19:194-230. MacNeill, W. P., (2015), Machiavellian Fantasy and the Game of Laws, Critical Quarterly. 57 (1):34-48.

MacNeill, W. P., (2015), From Rites to Realities (and Back Again): The Spectacle of Human Rights in the Hunger Games, UCIrvine Law Review 5:483-498.

MacNeill, W. P., Salecl, R., (2013), Waxing Lacanian, Griffith Law Review, 22 (1):269 – 274.

Recent conferences & presentations

Plenary and/or keynote presentations

  • (2019) Plenary Participant & Performer, ‘Ad Vitam Aeternum’, with Prof Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (Westminster), Dr Olivia Barr (Melbourne) and Assoc Prof Marett Leiboff (Wollongong), ‘Law in End Times’, a joint conference of the Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia (‘Juris-Apocalypse Now!’) and the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (‘Survive. Thrive. Die’), School of Law & Justice, Southern Cross University, Coolangatta, Qld, Australia.
  • (2019) Opening and Closing Plenary Speaker, ‘Law in End Times’, a joint conference of the Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia (‘Juris-Apocalypse Now!’) and the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (‘Survive. Thrive. Die’), School of Law & Justice, Southern Cross University, Coolangatta, Qld, Australia.
  • (2019) Opening and Closing Plenary Speaker, ‘”Real” Laws in a Post-Truth World’, Australian Legal Academics Association (ALAA), Southern Cross University-Gold Coast Campus, Coolangatta, Qld, Australia.
  • (2018) Plenary Speaker, ‘Promethean Longing: Ridley Scott’s Speculative Legalism’, AIDEL Conference, University of Verona, Italy.
  • (2018) Opening and Closing Speaker, Plenary Panel Member, 6th Sino-Australian Law Deans Conference, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, China.
  • (2018) Closing Plenary Panel Member, Readers Meet Author: Margaret Davies’ Law Unlimited, Annual Conference of the Australian Legal Philosophy Association, Bond University, Gold Coast.
  • (2018) Closing Plenary Panel Member, Judge, Debate: ‘Is Portia a Good Role Model for Advocates’, Annual Conference of the Australian Law Teachers Association, ‘Law, Love, and Revenge: Themes for The Merchant of Venice’, Curtin Law School, Perth, WA, Australia.
  • (2018) Plenary Panel Member, ‘On Globalising Legal Education: An Australian Perspective’, Barcelona Bar Council, Catalonia, Spain.
  • (2018) Plenary Panel Member, ‘On Interdisciplinarity’, Innovation in Legal Education, Faculty of Law, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
  • (2018) Council of Australian Law Deans representative & Australian delegate, Conference of the European Law Faculties Association, Faculty of Law, Autonomous University of  Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
  • (2017) Plenary Speaker, ‘Promethean Longing: Ridley Scott’s Speculative Legalism’, Speculative Legalities Symposium, Griffith Law School, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia.
  •  (2017) Closing Plenary Panel Speaker, ‘Juris-Apocalypse Now! The End of Legal Education as We Know It?’, The Future of Australian Legal Education Conference, Australian Academy of Law, Sydney, NSW, Australian.
  • (2016) Closing Plenary Speaker, ‘Lacanian Ink and Leather “Down Under”: Queensland’s “Bikie” Legislation and Its Crimes of Fashion’, at ‘Law, Temporality, Disruption: The Futures of Law and Society Scholarship’ Annual Conference of the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand, Legal Futures Centre (Griffith University), the Griffith Law School and the School of Law & Justice, Southern Cross University, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.
  • (2016) Plenary Speaker, ‘Interdisciplinarity and the Question of Method: Reading Jurisprudentially’, Sino-Australian Law Deans Conference, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.
  • (2016) Introductory Plenary Speaker, West of Everything Symposium, ‘The Litigating Dead: Zombie Jurisprudence in The Walking Dead, World War Z and The Rising’, Cardozo Law School, New York, NY.
  • (2016) Respondent to the Keynote (Prof Dorothy Roberts, UPenn Law), Baby Markets Symposium, University of California, Irvine, School of Law.

Invited public lectures and/or faculty seminar series

  • (2017) Seminar Series Speaker, ‘The Litigating Dead: Zombie Jurisprudence in The Walking Dead, World War Z and The Rising’, Seminar Series, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.
  • (2016) Speaker, ‘The Litigating Dead: Zombie Jurisprudence in The Walking Dead, World War Z and The Rising’, ‘Spectacular Law’, Annual Conference of Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia, Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong.
  • (2016) Guest Lecturer, Love & Prejudice Workshop, ‘Brokeback’s Bareback: Queering Lex Populi’, Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzliya, Israel.

Conferences organised

  • 2019: Organising Committee & Co-host, ‘Law in End Times’, a joint conference of the Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia (‘Juris-Apocalypse Now!’) and the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (‘Survive. Thrive. Die’), School of Law & Justice, Southern Cross University, Coolangatta, Qld, Australia.
  • 2019: CoConvenor (with Assoc Prof Jennifer Nielsen), ‘”Real” Laws in a Post-Truth World’, 2019 Annual Conference of Australian Law Academics Association, School of Law & Justice, Southern Cross University, Coolangatta, Qld, Australia.
  • 2012, CoConvenor, ‘Representational Legality: Reading Culture/ Thinking Law’, Socio-Legal Research Centre and GLS, Noosa, Qld, Australia
  • 2010 Co-Convenor, ‘Lacanian Women: Law, Psychoanalysis and the Enonce of Gender’, SocioLegal Research Centre, Griffith University (Brisbane)
  • 2009 Co-Convenor, ‘Trans(l)egalite’: A Joint Conference of the Law and Literature of Australia and the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (Brisbane)
  • 2004 Convenor, 12th Annual Conference of the Law and Literature Association, topic: ‘Traumas of Law’ (Brisbane)

Professional memberships & associations

Organisation, association and/or committee chair/president

  • 2019, President, Australian Law Academics Association (ALAA)
  • 2018, Fellow, Australian Academy of Law (FAAL)
  • 2017-2019, Chair, Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD
  • 2011-2014, Executive Committee member (ex officio) & Chair, Standing Committee on Research and Scholarship, Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD)
  • 2006-2009, President of the Law and Literature Association of Australia.

Committee or executive member

  • 2019-present, Executive Member, Australian Law Academics Association (ALAA)
  • 2018-present, Founding Member, Global Legal Education Associations Consortium (GLEAC)
  • 2017-2021, Member, Committee of Queensland Law Deans
  • 2017-2021 Member, Committee of New South Wales Law Deans
  • 2017-2019, Member, Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC)
  • 2017-2019, Member, Legal Education Committee, Law Council of Australia
  • 2012-present, International Advisory Board member, Birkbeck Centre for Law and the Humanities, Birkbeck School of Law, University of London, London, England.
  • 2012-present Executive Member of the Management Committee, Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia.
  • 2003-2006, 2009-2012 Vice-President of the Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australia.
  • 2000-2004, 2015-2018 Executive Member, Organising Committee, Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities.

Media appearances

  • 2020- Conversations with Legal Thinkers Interviewee, Interviewed by Professor Julen Etxabe, Peter A Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada (youtube).
  • 2019- Faculti Audio Interviewee, ‘The Litigating Dead: Zombie Jurisprudence in Popular Culture’. London, UK (youtube).
  • 2007- Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Speaker, ‘Lex Populi: A Precis’ on Perspective, hosted by Sue Clarke and Paul Barclay, Radio National, 20 May, Queensland, Australia (radio).
  • 2003-Harry Potter and the Scales of Justice’. The Courier Mail, Brisbane (newspaper).
  • 2003- Panellist and interviewee, The William Bernard Show, South African Broadcasting Association (English language), Johannesburg, Orange Free State, South Africa (radio).