A relationship between antimicrobial activities and the formation constants of amino acid-Schiff bases and their Cu(II) and Ni(II) complexes was studied. For this purpose, a series of Schiff bases were prepared from DL-amino acids (DL-glycine, DL-alanine) and halo aldehydes (5-chloro-2-hydroxybenzaidehyde, 5-bromo-2-hydroxybenzaldehyde). Schiff bases and their Cu(II) and Ni(II) complexes were characterized by the elemental analysis, spectral analysis, magnetic moment (at ca. 25 degrees C), molar conductivity, and thermal analysis data. The complexes were found to have general compositions [ML(H2O)]. The protonation constants of the Schiff bases and stability constants of the complexes were determined potentiometrically in a dioxane-water (1 : 1) solution at 25 degrees C and 0.1 M KCl ionic strength. Antimicrobial activities of the Schiff bases and their complexes were estimated for six bacteria, such as Bacillus cereus RSKK 863, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 259231, Micrococcus luteus NRLL B-4375, Escherichia coli ATCC 11230, Aeromonas hydrophila 106, Pseudomonas aeroginosa ATCC 29212, and the yeast Candida albicans ATCC 10239. The role of halogen substitution on the ligands, effect of the metal ion, and stabilities of the complexes are discussed on antimicrobial activities.