Professor, The University of Melbourne, Australia
I first met Professor Song Sang Hyun on my initial trip to Korea in 1977 to attend the Law Asia Conference. I had the unusual experience of travelling to the Conference as part of the Japanese delegation, as I was living in Tokyo at the time as a Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Tokyo. My main recollection now is being driven in his car, along with Professor Sawada of Sophia University, Japan, to see the new campus of Seoul National University. I was in my initial academic appointment at Monash University in Melbourne, and he was an established Associate Professor. It turned out to be my most important encounter at that Conference.
These days Professor Song is recognized as one of South Korea's most eminent jurists, and is an acknowledged pioneer of research in Korea on Anglo-American legal systems. He has, in turn, pioneered the teaching of Korean law outside Korea, notably here at the University of Melbourne on three occasions, at Harvard, also on three occasions, and at New York University Law School since 1995 as part of their Global Law Program. I think his CV is ample testament to his international and national recognition.
We are very proud that he tried out his course on Korean Law here first in 1990, before going on to Harvard Law School. It was the first time that Korean Law had been taught in a graduate law program in Australia and we had enrolments from as far afield as Columbia Law School. His links to Melbourne have just been recognized by his appointment as a Professorial Fellow in our Law School for the next five years from January 1, 2002. Professorial Fellows at my university are a small but distinguished group of international scholars invited to visit the university annually for a five year period to contribute to our programs. We are delighted to announce Professor Song's appointment in this special book marking such an important transition in his life.
Strategically, his appointment will greatly assist the development of the new alliance of the University of Melbourne with Seoul National University, signed in 2001, and with its College of Law.
Professor Song has visited the Asian Law Centre to teach in the Law School's graduate program on three occasions, in 1990, 1992 and 1994. In recent years his appointment as Dean at Seoul National University's College of Law and commitments in the United States at Harvard and NYU have made it difficult to bring him back to Melbourne, but Professor Song has assisted from a distance in supervision of our post-graduate students, and has facilitated our students studying at Seoul National University. He has been an advisor to the research program of the Asian Law Centre and has been a member of the International Board of the Centre for Corporations and Securities Law at our Law School for some five years. These associations have been of significant value to our Law School, even though of minor importance in the context of his many more important activities in Korea.
Long before his first visit to Melbourne, Professor Song's book "The Introduction to Law and Legal Systems of Korea (1983)" had introduced me to the Korean legal system. It was the first substantial text and materials on Korean Law in English. It has been revised at least twice for teaching purposes. Through it, he has made Korean Law accessible to several generations of foreign lawyers.
Professor Song has established his leadership in his discipline by his frequent invitations to be a visiting Professor in the United States and Australia, and by the range of his professional leadership positions in Korea. In particular, his membership of the Advisory Committees of both the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice for over twenty years in each case, and his more recent Chairmanship of key Committees in other branches of the government indicate his eminence. Recognition in Korea of his academic leadership is evident in his presidencies of the national law professors' association and the Private Law Case Research Society, and his prior presidencies of the Intellectual Property Research Society and the International Trade Law Association. I attended a conference of the latter association in the early 1990s, and his eminence in Korea was obvious.
Professor Song's eminence in the law is matched by the breadth of his other interests. His hospitality, and that of his family, is acclaimed. No matter what brand of whisky or wine I bring, he has something much better to offer me from his shelf. On one of his visits he brought along his mother and daughter and the Smith family had the pleasure of hosting Yu-Jean for a month at our home. She made my mother quite dissatisfied with Australian grand daughters! Next time he is in Australia, I hope to find a new experience for him, but I suspect no matter what I think of, he will have done it already. I expect his life after his 60th birthdays will be as vigorous and productive as his pre 60s years. I hope to share some of them with him.
Congratulations Sang Hyun on a great start to your career!
Foundation Professor of Asian Law
Foundation Director, Asian Law Centre,
The University of Melbourne, Australia