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Charles Sampford

Director, Inst Gov Ethic & Law
Griffith Law School
+61 (0)7 3735 7215 (Work)
N16 2.82, Nathan Campus

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At Melbourne University, Charles Sampford graduated at the top of his class in each of politics, philosophy and law before combining those disciplines in his Oxford DPhil. He was invited to return to Melbourne University in 1983 as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer before moving to the Philosophy Department in 1990 to establish the Centre for Philosophy and Public Issues where he was Acting then Deputy Director and Principal Research Fellow. However, his earlier writings on reforming the Law Curriculum in response to the Pearce Report led to his invitation to come to Queensland as Foundation Dean of Law at Griffith University, starting in March 1991. The Griffith Curriculum which combined theoretical, contextual and skills in mutually reinforcing ways was hailed by Sir Ninian Stephen as a 'revolution in legal education' that was widely praised and much copied. In the 2010 ERA Griffith secured a '4' in Law in the ERA, despite the Law School being half the age of those at other universities securing that score. The Griffith Law Review which he established was the newest A* law journal. In May 2013, the QS rankings placed Griffith 43rd in the world despite being less than half the age of the next youngest law school in the top 50. In Research leadership, Prof Sampford led the 1998 bid for the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance (the only Australian centre in law or governance to receive centre funding from the Australian Research Council) and was its Foundation Director for six years. In September 2004, he became the Convenor of the ARC funded Governance Research Network (the only ARC network in law or governance). At the same time, the Key Centre became the headquarters for the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law, a strategic research centre established on the initiative with the UN University that came to include QUT, ANU, OP Jindal Global University and the Center for Asian Integrity. Prof Sampford became its Director. Foreign fellowships include the Visiting Senior Research Fellow at St John's College Oxford (1997) and a Senior Fulbright Award to Harvard University (2000). He has written over 130 articles and chapters and has completed thirty one books and edited collections. He has also won nearly twenty million dollars in grants, consultancies and awards for research work he has led. In June 2008, his work on corruption and integrity systems was recognized by the ARC who invited the 20 researchers they thought had most clearly 'made a difference' to the Graeme Clarke Outcomes Forum held at Parliament House Canberra. Charles was one of only four researchers invited from the humanities and social sciences. Charles is also a Barrister. Charles has been the President of a small international NGO (the International Institute for Public Ethics) which has held a wide range of conferences and teamed with the World Bank to hold a World Ethics Forum in Oxford in 2006 (Charles was the Chairman of the ). More recently he has been the Convenor of the Global Integrity Summit which deals with the Ethics and Integrity dimensions of major global issues (with the first held in Brisbane in the lead up to the G20 meeting and the second to be held 12-14 October 2015). Professor Sampford has been consulted by business, government, and various Parliaments - including Queensland's PCEAR and the Members Ethics and Privileges committee, numerous Federal 'portfolio' committees and the Lord Chancellor's Committee on Legal Education. He was heavily involved in the Queensland governance reforms and was the first person consulted by the Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life (UK) after which Lord Nolan became something of a proselytizer of the EARC reforms as an 'ethics regime' (Sampford's term) which the OECD renamed an 'ethics infrastructure'. This led to work with Transparency International (who preferred the term 'national integrity system'), the World Bank, APEC and ADB. He was the principal legal advisor to the Queensland Scrutiny of Legislation Committee from its inception in 1995 to 2002. In 2002-3, he was a member of a task force on responding to threats to democracy co-chaired by Madeleine Albright. In 2003-4, he led a Soros funded series of dialogues on governance values involving western and Islamic scholars. In 2009, he was a member of the Queensland Premier's integrity roundtable and chaired most of the community consultations around the state and was invited to join the Australian Parliamentary Integrity Awards committee which issued the Button and Missen awards for the first time in June 2010. He was subsequently invited to join the Accountability Round Table. His work on the rule of law includes Retrospectivity and The Rule of Law (OUP, Oxford 2006) and numerous speeches, essays and articles dating back to 1988. His work on the international rule of law commenced in 1999 with the closing keynote at World Congress of Legal and Social Philosophy held in the World Trade Centre. He has led major projects and written extensively on the Ethics of Intervention and Reconceiving Sovereignty. He is currently leading a project on Building the Rule of Law in International Affairs in collaboration with the UN rule of law unit and he was on an ILA Task Force drafting a code of conduct for lawyers appearing before international tribunals. His work on climate change goes back to a keynote at the World Council of Churches colloquium on carbon trading in 2000 and has continued with his arguments that we need to re-imagine 'the good life' in sustainable terms and back it up with institutional mechanisms (including a 'carbon added tax') to support the process and the low carbon industries that will support it. His work on corporate governance has always highlighted the variety of disciplines that can contribute (law, ethics, politics and economics) from an analysis of the ethical meltdowns of the late 1980s to the Global Financial Crisis where he has delivered major papers in the EU parliament and the UN as well as a keynote at a Glasgow conference to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the publication of Adam Smith's 'Theory of Moral Sentiments'). He has recently delivered two invited keynotes on the professionalization of banking, finance and economics - the first at a largely academic conference, the second at an annual CPA conference. He has also advised various organizations and professions about their codes - including lawyers, judges, civil servants, politicians, corporations, the stock exchange, directors and engineers. This has become one of the foundations for an Australian Research Council Linkage grant on professionalization of finance. Professor Sampford has done extensive governance work in the UK, Europe, Australia, South East Asia and the Pacific. His work in Africa had been limited to work for the Global Integrity Alliance headed by the World Bank and work with the African Union on Protection of Civilians. However, over the last two years, he has taken a key leadership role in an Australian Government 'Partnerships for Development' program on enhancing the Kenyan National Integrity System. This million dollar project (with governmental input of $779,000) has forged a strong partnership between IEGL, Strathmore and various Kenyan integrity agencies with applied research and capacity building in judicial integrity, human rights and electoral reform at the core. Professor Sampford has extensive experience in grant management. No other Australian legal or governance academic has a stronger record with the Australian Research Council grants including 12 Linkages, 7 discoveries, 1 ARC centre, 1 ARC network and 2 Special Research Initiatives as First Chief Investigator. He has also been a key part of the teams for three other linkage agrants and one ARC network. Other sources of funding have been the Open Society Institute, the World Bank, DFID, USAID, AusAID, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. Professor Sampford will bring a deep knowledge of strategic planning, grant management, the establishment and staffing of research centres and the development of an ongoing strategy for sustainability through multiple sources of funding.


  • Member
    Law Futures Centre2015


  • Bachelor Of Laws With Honours
    University Of Melbourne
  • Doctor of Philosophy
    Oxford University
  • Bachelor Of Arts With Honours
    University of Melbourne