Professor Keith Thompson

Professor, Associate Dean
LLB(Hons); Dip Export; IMD(Hons); M Jur; PhD. 

Email: keith.thompson@nd.edu.au
Phone: (02) 8204 4300

  • Biography

    Dr Thompson has enjoyed a wide and varied career in the law with experience in property, commercial, international, constitutional, criminal and human rights law. He worked for 11 years in Auckland in commercial and property law including 6 years as a partner with Fortune Manning and was then appointed as International Legal Counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In that role, Dr Thompson supervised that Church's legal work through the Pacific Area (for 18 years) and then through the African continent for a further 2 years. Since returning to Australia in 2011 he has been appointed as Associate Professor and Associate Dean at The University of Notre Dame Australia's Sydney School of Law where he teaches Constitutional Law, Law and Religion, as well as some Evidence and Contemporary Legal Issues, but he retains an interest in legal practice through his continuing part time role as Special Counsel at Taylor and Whitty, a regional firm with offices in south-western NSW and northern Victoria. In 2010 he published a book entitled Religious Confession Privilege and the Common Law. He has also published on Insolvency, Vicarious Liability in Tort, Foreign Corrupt Practices and Freedom of Religion.

  • Teaching areas

    Law and Religion, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Contemporary Legal Issues, Legal History and Evidence

  • Research expertise and supervision

    Evidential Privileges, Insolvency, International Corruption Legislation, Tort litigation, Law and Religion, Constitutional Law, Legal History and Criminal Law.

  • Books

    Religious Confession Privilege at Common Law, Brill, Leiden and Boston, 2011.

  • Journal articles and proceedings

    • “The Doctrine of Resurrection in the Book of Mormon”, Interpreter, A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 16 (2015), 101-129.
    • “Should ‘public reason’ developed under US establishment clause jurisprudence apply to Australia?”, (2015) 17 UNDALR, Article 6, 107-134 http://researchonline.nd.edu.au/undalr/vol17/iss1/6/.
    • “Joseph Smith and the Doctrine of Sealing”, Interpreter, A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 21 (2016), 1-21.
    • “The Liberties of the Church and the City of London in the Magna Carta”, (2016) Ecclesiastical Law Journal
    • “Were we foreordained to the Priesthood or was the principle of worthiness foreordained? Alma 13 reconsidered”, Interpreter, A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 21 (2016), 249-274.
    • “Liquidator remuneration, creditor dividends and the public interest: Recent NSW Supreme Court decisions and the continuing need for reform”, 157 Australian Law Journal 90, October 2016.
    • "Religious Voices in the Public Square: How fundamental are our freedoms of conscience and speech", (2015) 17, UNDALR,...
    • "Joseph Smith and the Doctrine of Sealing", Interpreter, A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Publication Pending
    • “Peak Indebtedness” theory: An abuse of the “running account” defence?”, Australian Law Journal, June 2011.
    • “Does anti-corruption legislation work?”, Volume XVI International Trade and Business Law Review, January 2013 ; republished in World Customs Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, (2013)
    • “Vicarious Liability, Non-delegable duty and child sexual abuse: Is there another solution for sexual abuse plaintiffs in Australia after the Maga decision in the UK?”, Western Australian Jurist, September 2012.
    • “Capital Punishment: Constitutional, Philosophical and Historical Dimensions” (co-written with Professor Gabriel A. Moens), Acta Universitatis George Bacovia. Juridica, (“George Bacovia” University, Bacau, Romania), November 2012.
    • “Tiki and Temple: The Mormon Mission in New Zealand, 1854-1958” by Dr Marjorie Newton, Greg Kofford Books, 2012, Book Review, BYU Studies Quarterly 52, no.2 2013.
    • “Nephite insights into Israelite Worship Practices before the Babylonian Captivity”, Interpreter, A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 3 (2013), 155-195.
    • “Fashion or proof: A challenge for Pacific Anthropology”, Interpreter, A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 8 (2014), 205-232.
    • “Global Perspectives on Subsidiarity”, Michelle Evans and Augusto Zimmerman (Eds), Springer, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, New York, London, 2014, Book Review, Western Australian Jurist, October 2014.
    • “Who was Sherem?”, Interpreter, A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 14 (2015), 1-15.
    • “There is no Spousal Privilege at Common Law – the decision of the High Court in ACC v Stoddart”, Curtin Law and Taxation Review, Publication Pending (December 2015).
  • Conference papers

    • “Faith-based schools and same-sex marriages: balancing religious beliefs and anti-discrimination laws” with Professor Charles Russo, Compliance, Creativity and Culture: balancing regulatory demands and educational values, ANZELA 25th Annual Conference, Rydges Hotel, Auckland NZ, 28-30 September, 2016.
    • “The under-theorisation of freedom of conscience and religion in Polynesia”, The Institute for Ethics and Society, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Darlinghurst Campus, September 14-15, 2016.
    • “A Commonwealth Religious Discrimination Act for Australia?”, Religious Liberty and the Varieties of Diversity, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney School of Law, August 18-19, 2016
    • “Religious Freedom and Revelation”, J Reuben Clark Law Society, Hamilton NZ, June 3-5, 2016.
    • “Contemporary Applications of Magna Carta Principle”, The Magna Carta after 800 years, Campion College at the Menzies Hotel, Sydney, November 28, 2015.
    • "Religious Freedom as an Issue in Education Law", ANZELA Conference, Brisbane, Australia, September 28-20, 2015.
    • "The liberties of the Church and the City of London in the Magna Carta", Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion or Belief, Oxford Journal of Religion and the International Center for Law and Religion, Brigham Young University, St Hughes College, Oxford, England, June 22-24, 2015.
    • "Public Reason’ is only reasonable under US Establishment Clause Jurisprudence”, Religious Communities: Adopting. Modifying or Rejecting Rights Discourse, Macquarie Law School, February 12, 2015.
    • "Law, Religion and Economic Issues”, G20 Interfaith Summit, Gold Coast, Australia, November 16-19, 2014.
    • "Cultural Values – Africa, Asian, Western – or Absolute?” – International Society for Africa Philosophy and Studies, 16th Annual Conference, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana - March 18, 2010.
    • “The Doctrine of Religious Confession Privilege” – J Reuben Clark Law Society Conference, Auckland, New Zealand – June 2008; Otago University – August 2008; J Reuben Clark Law Society International Conference, Harvard Law School, Boston, USA – February 2009
    • “The Fundamentality of Freedom of Religion” – Religious Studies Department, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand – December 2002
    • “Religion is still a valid Charitable Objective in 2001" – Queensland University of Technology – October 2001
    • “Clergy in the Cross-fire – Personal Confidante or Police Informant?” – J Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, Utah USA – 4 October 2000
    • “Same-sex marriage in Australia and New Zealand” – Family Law, J Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, Utah USA – 4 October 2000
    • “Religious Freedom in the Pacific” – J Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, Utah USA – October 1997
    • “The Product Liability Crisis: The American Perspective and the New Zealand Perspective” – November 1987
    • “A Case Study: The future of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Industry” – October 1986
  • Original creative works

    Messiah II, the Second Witness, an Oratorio.

  • Professional affiliations

    Solicitor, New South Wales Law Society
    Notary Public, Society of Notaries of NSW
    Senior Fellow on the International Law and Religion Center, J Reuben Clark Law School, Provo, Utah
    Fellow of The Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries
    Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London

  • Community engagement

    Voluntary LDS Church service as follows:
    - 2 years service as a full-time missionary in the NZ Wellington and Christchurch Missions (1976-1978)
    - 8 years service as President or Counsellor to the Stake President (Diocesan Bishop) (1983-1991).
    - 12 years service as Bishop or Counsellor in a local ward (parish)(1981-1983; 1991-1995; 2006-2009; 2012-2015).
    - 18 months full time service as President of the NZ Wellington Mission (1995-1996).
    - Regular and continuous service as a Teacher and Leadership Instructor in a variety of auxiliaries for 35 years.
    - 12 years service as an Ordinance Worker in various Temples (Hamilton NZ, Sydney Australia, Johannesburg South Africa and Accra Ghana.

    Community Service: - Regular involvement in collections for various charities; preparing food for bush fire brigades; soup kitchen involvement and home care service projects for the challenged and elderly for more than 40 years.

    Law Reform Submissions:

    • Submission of the Wilberforce Foundation dated October 14, 2015 to the South Australian Parliament in relation to the Statutes Amendment (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) Bill 2015.
    • Submission (with Neville Rochow, Cole Durham and Elizabeth Clark) dated September 26, 2015 to the Australian Human Rights Commission for the Religious Freedom Roundtable to be held in Sydney on Thursday, 5 November 2015
    • Submission dated September 21, 2015 at the Australian Law Reform Commission's Adelaide Roundtable on Law and Religion responding to the Commission's Interim Report entitled "Traditional Rights and Freedoms – Encroachment by Commonwealth Laws"
    • Submission of the Wilberforce Foundation dated August 18, 2015 to the NSW Select Committee on the Regulation of Brothels.
    • Submission of the Wilberforce Foundation dated March 24, 2015 to the Victorian Parliament in relation to the Review of the Victorian Adoption Act 1984
    • Submission of the Wilberforce Foundation dated March 24, 2015 to the South Australian Parliament in relation to the Review of the South Australian Adoption Act 1988 and the Adoption Regulations 2004.
    • Submission of the Wilberforce Foundation dated February 26, 2015 to the Australian Law Reform Commission responding to its Issues Paper 46 entitled "Traditional Rights and Freedoms – Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws" dated December 2014.
    • Submission of the Wilberforce Foundation dated November 7, 2014 to the SA Parliament in relation to the Statutes Amendment (Decriminalisation of Sex Work) Bill 2014.
    • Submission dated March 6, 2013 to the NSW Senate in response to a proposed NSW State bill promoting Same Sex Marriage Submission dated January 19, 2012 in response to Australian Government Discussion Paper entitled "Review of Not-for-profit governance arrangements" dated December 2011
    • Submission dated February 2012 in response to Australian Government Discussion Paper entitled "Anti-Corruption Plan Discussion Paper" dated December 9, 2011
    • Submission dated February 2012 in response to Australian Government Discussion Paper entitled "Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission: Implementation design" dated December 9, 2011
    • Submission dated April 2012 in response to Australian Government Discussion Paper entitled "Charitable Fundraising Regulation Reform Discussion Paper" dated February 2012
    • Submission dated September 7, 2007 in response to Australian Law Reform Commission Discussion Paper entitled "Client Legal Privilege and Federal Investigatory Bodies" dated November 29, 2006