Professor Emeritus Cheryl Saunders awarded prestigious Tang Prize for contributions to rule of law

The prestigious international Tang Prize in Rule of Law has been awarded to Professor Cheryl Saunders, Laureate Professor Emeritus at Melbourne Law School (MLS).

The award recognises Professor Saunders’ outstanding contribution to comparative constitutional law, including its practical application through constitutional engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Tang Prize Selection Committee paid tribute to Professor Saunders’s pioneering scholarship, noting that she “consistently broadens the boundaries of comparative constitutional law scholarship through active engagement, dialogue and collaboration with scholars and political actors at home and abroad”.

Professor Saunders said: “I am deeply honoured by this award, which has been received by such highly distinguished legal scholars and practitioners in the past. I am particularly pleased that it recognises the significance of a truly global approach to comparative constitutional law, with all the challenges that entails, and the need to understand, as well as possible, how constitutional arrangements work in practice.”

Professor Saunders is President Emeritus of the International Association of Constitutional Law, an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, France. She is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of the British Academy and a foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

She has taught public comparative public law in universities across the world and is an active member of the MLS’ Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, now in its third decade, and she is convener of the Law School’s Constitution Transformation Network.

Dean of Melbourne Law School, Professor Matthew Harding said the prize was a fitting acknowledgment of Professor Saunders’s longstanding scholarly contributions to the study of comparative constitutional law.

“Melbourne Law School has long had a strength in public law, including comparative constitutional law – and this owes much to Professor Saunders’s pioneering work in the field since the 1980s. From very early on her scholarship has taken a global approach with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region, influencing the methodologies of other scholars in the field,” Professor Harding said.

“There has always been an applied dimension to Professor Saunders’s work. Right from the outset she has taken a collaborative approach to constitutional and comparative constitutional law, working with numerous organisations and networks of scholars and practitioners, including community groups, and providing advice on constitution building and other constitutional issues in many parts of the world.

“I warmly congratulate Professor Saunders on this well-deserved honour.”

Founded in 2014 by Dr Samuel Yin, the Tang Prize is a Taiwan-based biennial award given out in four fields: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. Nomination and selection are conducted by an independent selection committee in cooperation with the Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s top research institution.

The other Tang prize winners for 2022 are Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University (Sustainable Development), Dr Katalin Kariko and Dr Drew Weissman of Penn Medicine, and Dr Pieter Cullis of the University of British Columbia (Biopharmaceutical Science), and Professor Jessica Rawson of Oxford University (Sinology). Previous winners include Joseph Raz (Rule of Law), Justice Louise Arbour (Rule of Law), Justice Albie Sachs (Rule of Law), and Jane Goodall (Sustainable Development).

The Tang Prize Foundation will host Tang Prize Week beginning 19 September in Taipei, with a series of events including an award ceremony and lectures from this year’s four laureates.