He earned LL.B. and LL.M. degrees at the University of Melbourne, where he was a resident student at Trinity College from 1940, and gained second-class honours in Introduction to Legal Method and Law of Wrongs (Civil and Criminal) in 1941. He received his PhD in law and criminology in 1949 from the University of London, and was appointed to the Faculty of Law at the London School of Economics.
Norval Ramsden Morris (1923–2004) was an Australian-educated United States law professor, criminologist, and advocate for criminal justice and mental health reform, and a former Dean of the University of Chicago Law School.
Morris was a strong influence on United States law professors and criminologists including James B. Jacobs (NYU), Marc Miller (Arizona), Kevin Reitz (Minnesota), Michael Tonry (Minnesota), Franklin E. Zimring (Berkeley), Albert Alschuler (Northwestern) and Myron Orfield (Minnesota). He was a close friend and colleague of U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Harry A. Blackmun and of federal district court judge Abner Mikva.
Morris was widely regarded as an advocate for the rights of inmates in prisons and mental hospitals. His theories on prison reform were implemented at the Federal Correctional Complex, Butner, N.C.
Morris was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology, a board member of the Chicago Bar Foundation (1982–88), a chairman of the board and board member of the National Institute of Corrections.
From 1950 to 1958, he was on the faculty at University of Melbourne. The following four years, he was the dean of the faculty of law at University of Adelaide.