Rosalind Croucher
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Justinian in On the Couch

Prof Rosalind CroucherTrusts and estates guru … Academic, teacher and administrator … Prez of the Australian Law Reform Commission … Muso … Singer … All round triumph … Prof Rosalind Croucher is On the Couch

Professor Rosalind Croucher is president of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

Before going to the commission she was Dean of Law at Macquarie University.

She has taught and published extensively, principally in the fields of equity, trusts, property, inheritance and legal history.

Prof Croucher has notched-up a string of notable achievements and appointments.

She has served as chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans; Vice President of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law; and was rapporteur for the 8th biennial conference of the International Association of Women Judges.

She’s a full member of the international Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners, an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Legal Medicine and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

At the ALRC Croucher has been in charge of inquiries into legal client privilege and federal investigations; secrecy laws and open government; and the law relating to family violence.

She’s also a significant musician. Before her career in the law took off she played oboe and cor anglais in the Opera and Ballet Orchestra and with the Renaissance Players.

She was a member of the Sydney Philharmonia Choir, the Motet Choir and, from time to time, with the Bar Choir, under maestro Justice Peter Hidden.

Professor Croucher is married to Professor Croucher, statistician and numbers man extraordinaire, of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

Describe yourself in three words.
Pollyanna. Hardworking. Loyal.

What are you currently reading
Apart from material relevant to the ALRC’s family violence inquiry, very little. The two books with bookmarks in them are: a biography of Samuel Pepys and one on the Glorious Revolution of 1688; and the one I just bought, “Roy Porter’s Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine”.

What’s your favourite film?
Maybe I’ll sneak in two. One that has really stayed with me is “Apollo 13” – showing how people can do amazing things against the odds – a great story and fine film. A recent one that affected me greatly was “Samson and Delilah” – a profoundly moving story and a beautiful Australian film.

Who has been the most influential person in your life
My mum – she’s amazing. She writes poetry and novels on any surface that will record her thoughts and can make a meal for a regiment out of whatever happens to be in the cupboard or fridge at that moment.

What occupation would you like to have, if you weren’t an academic and law reformer
A coroner or an etymologist – or my parallel career as a musician and singer. My dad’s wish is that I would be a judge – but once I had kids my life took me in the academic direction and it is still a big leap from that world to the bench.

What is your favourite piece of music?
A tough one! I love anything from the baroque backwards. A favourite ‘set’ (if I can claim that as a ‘piece’) is the Bach cello suites, the Peter Wispelway double CD recording.

What is your most recognised talent?
Multitasking – an example is when my son was in a pram and I was rocking it with one leg and painting the walls with a roller at the same time. Also mentoring – a key responsibility of a manager and I love it.

What is your greatest fear?
Heights and losing my mum.

What words or phrases do you overuse?

What is your greatest regret?
Not being able to play the piano fluently.

Whom do you envy and why?
Those who can play the piano fluently.

What is currently obsessing you?
The pile of unread ‘holiday’ reading.

What’s your most glamorous feature?
Aw shucks – you should ask my husband, John. (Can I choose a year – say 25 years ago – or does it have to be now?)

If you were a foodstuff, what would you be?
Iodised salt. Salt because it is the great preserver and improves taste; iodine because our brains need it and my mother keeps telling me we don’t have enough in Australia.

What human quality do you most distrust?

What would you change about Australia?
Lack of iodine. And shortsighted town planning that’s killing suburbs – and so-called transport ‘solutions.’

Whom or what do you consider overrated?
Low fat food.

How would you like to die?
With enough time to say farewell to my loved ones – my husband and my children – and old enough to enjoy time with my grandchildren (I don’t have any yet!).

What would your epitaph say?
I hope to earn this one: ‘She was so like her mother.’

What comes into your mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word “law”
The bedrock of a just society.

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (
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