Michael studied law at the University of Tasmania, qualifying for the LLB with first class honours in 1971. In that year he was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship for Tasmania and completed an M Phil in Politics at Oxford University from 1972-1975.
In 1976, he was appointed as Lecturer in the Law School at the University of Tasmania and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1991.
Michael was editor of the Journal of Law, Information and Science until recently, and is now the editor of the Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, a journal which was given an A listing in the ERA rankings. He is also a well known as a commentator on constitutional and public law issues in the media.