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Emeritus Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia

Professor Rick Sarre retired in April 2020 from the role of Dean at the University of South Australia’s Law School to become an Adjunct with UniSA Justice & Society. His secondary education was undertaken at King's College, in Kensington Park, South Australia (1968-1972). He completed his law degree at Adelaide University in 1976, undertook undergraduate studies in theology and sociology at Graceland University, 1978-1979 (Iowa, USA), finished a Masters degree (Criminology) at the University of Toronto, Canada in 1983, and received his doctorate (Legal Science) from the University of Canberra in 2002. In 2015 Professor Sarre was awarded an honorary doctorate in law from Umeå University, Sweden, and in 2023 a PhD from the University of South Australia, writing his thesis on crime prevention policies. Before retiring from teaching in 2018 he had taught commercial law, media law, sports law and criminology for 35 years in four countries, USA, Sweden, Hong Kong and Australia. He is a Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (2012-2016) and in 2017 was awarded Fellow status of that society. He is a Professorial Fellow of the Australian Institute of Police Management, and a South Australian Patron of the Justice Reform Initiative. He also served three years on the Victim Support Service (SA) board, six years on the Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Services of SA board, 18 years as an Associate of the Australian Institute of Criminology, and 8 years as the President of the SA Institute of Justice Studies. He is currently a Vice-President of the Adelaide University Football Club, President of the Friends of the State Library (SA), adviser to the Pembroke Old Scholars, and supports the ministries at Clayton Wesley Uniting Church. He is a Director of Community of Christ Ltd, a member of the Standing High Council of the international church, and Team Leader of its Peace and Justice Team. He is the Immediate Past President of the SA Council for Civil Liberties. He has been a member of the ALP since 1984 and is Immediate Past President of both the Sturt Federal Electorate Council (FEC) and the Dunstan Labor subbranch where he currently serves as VP. In 2010, and again in 2013, he stood unsuccessfully as the Labor candidate in the federal seat of Sturt. In 2018 and 2022 he stood unsuccessfully as the Labor candidate in the State seat of Bragg. His most recent book is Life Actually: a Feast of 500-word Memories (Moonglow Publishing, 2021). He and his wife Debra live in Adelaide and have two adult children, Millicent and Elliott.


  • 2019–2020
    Professor, University of South Australia


  • 2015 
    Umeå Universitet, JDhc
  • 2002 
    University of Canberra, SJD
  • 1983 
    University of Toronto, MA
  • 1977 
    University of Adelaide, LLB

Professional Memberships

  • Law Society of South Australia