The Canon Law Society of Australia was founded in the Archdiocese of Brisbane on 20 June 1967, when the forty six priests, both diocesan and religious, voted unanimously that “the Canon Law Society of Australia be formed”.
The diocesan priests represented half the dioceses in Australia and one religious priest was from New Zealand. At the Eighth Annual General Meeting of the Society, held in Canberra on 16 May 1974, the Society’s name was changed to Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand.
The Society holds its Annual Conference to promote the professional development of, and foster fellowship among, the members of the Society in their service of the Church. The Society publishes the Proceedings of the Annual Conference.
The Society published a Newsletter (1976-2009) including articles, contributed predominantly by the Society’s members. In 2009 the Executive Committee resolved to discontinue the Newsletter and to publish an academic journal twice yearly. The Canonist was first published in 2010.
The membership of the Society embraces lay persons, clerics and religious. Presently in excess of 200, the members come from diverse nations and cultures especially across Oceania and South East Asia.
The Society conducts an Institute of Tribunal Practice to prepare people to participate in the ministry of the Church relating to the processes of nullity and dissolution of marriage.
The Society maintains strong links with other Canon Law Societies, especially the Canon Law Society of America, the Canon Law Society of Great Britain & Ireland and the Canadian Canon Law Society.
The Society is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act of the Commonwealth of Australia and registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for profits Commission.