Skip to main content

India & Australia’s ‘puzzling’ legal relationship

This collaborative book explores how Australian lawyers, businesspeople and policy makers can learn from each other, in understanding the similarities and differences of each other's legal systems.


There are many similarities between the Australian and Indian legal systems given their shared history of English common law. Despite their common roots, there has been a lack of recognition by Indian and Australian lawyers of each other’s systems. As former justice of the High Court of Australia Michael Kirby AC CMG commented:

“The neglect by Indian and Australian lawyers of each other is as tragic as it is puzzling. It is tragic because it represents a lost opportunity for two common law countries, which are federations, which live by the rule of law, which are governed under democratic, parliamentary constitutions and which, in their different ways, protect fundamental human rights and basic freedoms.”

The book ‘Australia and India: A Comparative Overview of the Law and Legal Practice’ aims to bridge the gap by providing a comparative analysis of many important areas of the Australian and Indian legal systems.

Collaborative process

The book, edited by Professor Shaun Star, Executive Director of the Centre for India Australia Studies at O.P. Jindal Global University, is the result of a significant collaborative exercise. Each chapter is co-authored by an Indian and Australian expert to ensure a balanced perspective of the topic. In total, 41 co-authors, including judges, barristers, policy makers and academics from different fields of law contributed to the volume. In many instances, the co-authors were introduced to each other through the writing process itself. This led to further collaborations, including new publications and business linkages.


The book makes a significant contribution towards furthering the understanding between the Indian and Australian legal systems. Key findings differ across each of the chapters (areas of law) but one common theme emerges – many aspects of the Australian and Indian legal systems share a common starting point (their shared colonial history) and have often evolved in different directions in order to accommodate local cultural, socio-economic and demographic nuances. Each of the co-authored chapters explores the ways different aspects of the legal systems are similar, and different. The editor and several authors agree that Australian and Indian lawyers, policy makers and members of the judiciary can learn a lot from each other, in understanding the nuances of the other legal system.

Banner image: Professor Shaun Star and former Attorney-Generals George Brandis and Soli Sorabjee at the launch of ‘Australia and India: A Comparative Overview of the Law and Legal Practice’.