One of Australia’s finest legal scholars and the first female professor of Law at the University of Tasmania, Professor Kate Warner, has received the UTAS Distinguished Service Medal.
Only the fourth time of awarding, the medal recognises a staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the university.
At the presentation, the Provost, Professor David Rich, said Prof. Warner hadgiven an outstanding and sustained commitment to UTAS for 30 years and become a leading sentencing expert.
“She is recognised nationally and internationally as pre-eminent in her field,” he said.
“Indeed, Kate Warner is an institution in legal circles in this country.”
Prof. Warner said the award was humbling and unexpected.
“I love my work and just like getting on with it so I don’t expect additional rewards - but it’s very nice to get it.”
Prof. Warner came to UTAS as a bright “happy-go-lucky” 17-year-old; her doctor and a radiographer parents had strongly encouraged their children to go to university.
“They expected me, as a girl, to be able to support myself and be independent,” she said.
“When I started law, we had a rather authoritarian ex army lecturer in contract law who went around the class and asked us about our matriculation results. He said to me: ‘No maths, you’ll fail’.”
Kate graduated with a Bachelor of Law with honours in 1970 and was admitted to the bar in 1971.
After two years of practical legal experience she travelled and married but on the verge of starting work in a legal firm but realised she was pregnant.
“Academia offered more flexibility - and I have never regretted it.”
Prof. Warner completed her masters in criminology with two babies and honed her expertise in criminal law and sentencing.
She became the first female professor of law at UTAS and the first female dean of the Faculty of Law.
In addition to being an outstanding teacher, researcher and scholar, Prof. Warner is an exceptional leader and mentor.
She sits on the editorial boards of leading academic journals, including the eminent Criminal Law Journal, frequently commenting in the media on criminal law and criminology.
In recognition of her high standing in legal circles, Professor Warner was appointed a foundation fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and in 2009 was awarded a fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford.
But it is as director of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, Tasmania’s only law reform body, that Professor Warner has arguably made her most substantial contribution.
“She has played a pivotal role in virtually all of the institute’s work,” Prof. Rich said.
“Professor Warner commands great respect nationally and internationally as a leading expert in sentencing in Australia. Through her research she has made an enormous contribution to the Supreme Court of Tasmania and to those who practice in its criminal jurisdiction.
“Her book, Sentencing in Tasmania, which is now in its second edition, has a Bible-like status in relation to all questions of sentencing and is an indispensible aid for both judges and counsel.”
Prof. Warner’s award comes with a silver medal designed by Australian sculptor and medalist Michael Meszaros and a $25,000 grant.
Caption:An outstanding teacher, researcher and scholar: Professor Kate Warner from the Faculty of Law has been awarded the 2012 UTAS Distinguished Service Medal.