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Date listed: 12/10/2019


Monash University is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Emeritus Professor (Peter) Louis Waller, AO, on Tuesday, 8 October, 2019 aged 84 years.

Professor Waller was one of the giants on whose shoulders Monash was built. He was appointed the Sir Leo Cussen Professor of Law in 1964, a position he held for 36 years. He was Dean of the Law School from 1968-70, and although he officially retired in 2000, he remained active in his role as Emeritus Professor.

Louis will be particularly remembered for his work in the field of law and medicine, which attracted much attention and established him as a respected leader in a most difficult and profound area of legal discourse. In the early 1980s, he was instrumental in bringing about laws to guide the new and controversial procedures surrounding in-vitro fertilisation. He was Law Reform Commissioner of Victoria (1982-84), and the inaugural Chair of the Law Reform Commission of Victoria. His expertise in medical law led to appointments on a number of medical and judicial committees, including the Appeals Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and the Ethics Committee of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. He was Chair of the first IVF Committee appointed by the Government of Victoria (1982), and the first Chair of the Infertility Treatment Authority (1995-2001).

His devotion to community activities was a continuing feature of his life and career, and this was reflected in the numerous committees on which he served.

Professor Waller, who fled Poland with his parents to escape the Nazis, was a highly respected member of the Melbourne Jewish community and held a number of prominent positions. He was renowned for his compassion and reason. The events of his past shaped his view of law as a tool to mould constitutionalism, protect human rights and defend the vulnerable.

Professor Waller was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1989, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Monash in 2005.

On behalf of the University, we offer our sincere sympathies to his family on their great loss.

Professor Margaret Gardner AO
President and Vice-Chancellor

Professor Bryan Horrigan
Dean, Faculty of Law

Publication: Herald Sun