Julius Stone

Julius Stone (7 July 1907 – 1985) was Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney from 1942 to 1972, and thereafter a visiting Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales and concurrently Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the Hastings College of Law, University of California.

He is the author of 27 books on jurisprudence and international law, and is hailed by his official biography at the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence as one of the premier legal theorists.[1]

Early life

Stone was born in Leeds, England to parents who were poor Lithuanian Jewish refugees.[1]


Stone received a scholarship to Oxford University, where he earned Bachelor of Arts (Jurisprudence), Bachelor of Civil Law and Doctor of Civil Law degrees. He followed this with a Master of Laws from Leeds University, and then a Doctor of Juridical Science from Harvard University.


Stone taught at Harvard, and briefly at Leeds, then went to New Zealand where he worked at Auckland University College. In 1942, he was appointed Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney, a position he held until 1972. Stone's appointment was controversial for several reasons; he was perceived to have a radical jurisprudential stance, some wanted the Chair to be held open until the end of the war as it was suggested that there were suitable candidates in active service. It was suspected that the fact that he was a Jew also played a role. A debate over his appointment was carried out in both the Australian parliament and local newspapers; the Chancellor of the University, and two Fellows of the University Senate, resigned in protest.[1] This early experience of anti-Semitism influenced his lifelong commitment to justice, according to his biographer, Leonie Star (Star 1993).

Stone has been described by his official JSIJ biography as having "a life-long commitment to Israel"[1] and in the Sydney Law Review as having an emotional and "fierce loyalty to the State of Israel" that led some of his colleagues to "express fear even to discuss Israel with him".[2]

In 1972, Stone moved to the University of New South Wales, where he was a visiting Professor of Law until his death in 1985. While at University of New South Wales, he concurrently held the position of Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the Hastings College of Law, University of California.

In 1999, 15 years after Stone's death, the University of Sydney established an institute of jurisprudence which was named after him, the Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence.[3]


Stone influenced generations of lawyers who studied at University of Sydney. For most of his time there, the Law School was a practice-based school and students learnt what they needed to become practising lawyers. According to A J Brown of Griffith University, the former Justice of the High Court of Australia Michael Kirby was heavily influenced at university by Stone.

Israeli settlements

Stone's view is that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legal under international law, and do not constitute a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 49(6)). He stated:

"Irony would...be pushed to the absurdity of claiming that Article 49(6), designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of rendering Nazi metropolitan territories judenrein, has now come to mean that...the West Bank...must be made judenrein and must be so maintained, if necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants. Common sense as well as correct historical and functional context excludes so tyrannical a reading of Article 49(6.)"[4]



Stone has been criticised for his views in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict by Ben Saul, saying: "Many of Stone’s positions on critical international legal issues in the Israel/Palestine conflict stepped outside even generous zones of plausible or reasonable interpretations of the law, even on the law as it then often ambiguously stood, and certainly in hindsight."[5]





  1. 1 2 3 4 Biography of Julius Stone, Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence, Sydney Law School, University of Sydney. URL accessed 5 May 2006.
  2. Kirby, Michael (2005). "Julius Stone and the Struggle for the Soul of Law" (PDF). Sydney Law Review. University of Sydney. 27 (2): 323, 332. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  3. The Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence Accessed 21 January 2011
  4. The Settlements Issue: Distorting the Geneva Convention and the Oslo Accords
  5. Ben Saul (2009). "Julius Stone and the Question of Palestine in International Law". Legal Studies Research Paper. University of Sidney (09/106): Abstract. Retrieved 8 March 2011.

Further reading

External links

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