The Newcastle Law School is an international centre for law research. Learn more about our fields of interest...

School research

The Newcastle Law School is an international centre for law research. We deliver innovative and world-class research through collaborative research partnerships with business, industry and government in our region, across the nation and internationally. Our academic staff are active researchers who publish consistently in the top international and national journals.

Our fields of research include:

Commercial

Also known in the United States as anti-trust law.

Competition law encompasses measures to ensure fair competition between market players such as cartel conduct, monopolisation, exclusive dealing, resale price maintenance, anti-competitive mergers and common law approaches to restraint of trade. Research focuses on the economic concepts upon which the regulatory regime is founded.

Key Academics

Research encompasses the principles of contract law, including the law relating to formation, estoppel, parties, content and interpretation, excuses from performance (invalidating factors and termination) and remedies. Consider the functions of contract law and its limitations, contract theories and the historical background to the law of contract together with the forces which are shaping its development.

Key Academics

Research in this area considers the body of legal rules which regulate companies in Australia including the management and control of companies; the process by which companies transact; and the process by which companies are both initiated and brought to an end. Detailed consideration is also given to the notion of corporate personality; the means by which companies can be financed; and the rights of creditors, shareholders and other stakeholders. The rules regulating other business structures, including partnerships, are also considered.It also considers the principles and assumptions which underlie the way companies are regulated in Australia; the social and economic implications of this approach to corporate regulation; and the potential implications of challenging these theoretical assumptions.

Key Academics

Considers the laws governing the existence, ownership, use and enforcement of intellectual property rights, including copyright, designs, patents, and trademarks, as well as the law of breach of confidence, passing-off and deceptive and misleading conduct.

Areas of specialty include:

  1. Copyright
  2. Designs
  3. Protection of Confidential Information
  4. Patents
  5. Business Reputation: Passing-off and related actions
  6. Trade marks
  7. Enforcement of Rights

Key Academics

This area of law considers whether corporate codes of conduct and multi-stakeholder initiatives are enhancing respect for labour rights in the supply chains of major transnational corporations. Research projects in this area focus on the global sportswear industry, and in particular on the two largest global sportswear companies: Nike and Adidas. Dr Tim Connor has written a number of public reports on working conditions in this industry. This has facilitated dialogue between companies, trade unions and non-governmental organisations regarding strategies for improving respect for workers.

Key Academic

The legal and regulatory system has a decided impact upon on health and safety in the workplace. Workplace Health and Safety Law builds upon core legal skills and encourages critical and reflective engagement with the varying aims and techniques of WHS law and how the current law reflects social realities.

Areas of specialty include:

  1. The employer/employee relationship and WHS implications
  2. Tort Liability: Negligence; Breach of Statutory Duty
  3. The Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (NSW)
  4. Related WHS legislation - State and Commonwealth
  5. An introduction to the principles of Workers Compensation
  6. Issues in Litigation
  7. WH&S and anti-discrimination laws

Key Academics

The creation of international commercial law presents an interesting paradox for proponents of sovereignty in international law. Indeed, it could be argued that the creation of international commercial law is the vanishing point of sovereignty in that nation states are becoming increasingly less important in the creation of international commercial law with the growth of regional organizations, non-state actors, and international arbitration. This is spurred on by the march of globalization and the consequent need for international commercial law.

Key Academics

 Socio-Legal

Research in civil procedure focuses on the procedural laws in Australian States and the Federal Court.  It involves the over-riding objectives of and emerging trends in civil procedure. Specific trends include: how to promote settlement of a dispute without court proceedings (ADR), the use of costs orders and compulsory pre-litigation disclosure to encourage discussion/settlement between the parties before the dispute escalates, the changing role of experts in the court system, controls over the use of discovery to decrease the cost of litigation and the strengthening of professional responsibility requirements -only allowing the commencement of court proceedings which have merit.

Key Academics

Research on conflict of laws considers the general principles of Australian private international law. It considers the conflicts in laws between different legal systems and involves questions about court jurisdiction and the enforcement of laws and judgments of foreign courts.

Key Academics

Research into Australian constitutional law considers the Commonwealth Constitution and the Constitution Acts of the several States.

Areas of specialty include:

  1. Inconsistency (s 109)
  2. Trade and commerce power (s 51 (i))
  3. External affairs power (s 51 (xxix))
  4. Corporations power (s 51 (xx))
  5. Freedom of interstate commerce (s 92)
  6. Commonwealth financial powers: taxation and grants (ss 51 (ii), 55, 96) and excise (s 90)
  7. Appropriations
  8. Defence power (s 51 (vi)) and the doctrine in the Communist Party Case
  9. Judicial power and the separation of judicial power
  10. Executive power
  11. Express and implied constitutional rights and freedoms
  12. Intergovernmental immunities
  13. Constitutional change

Key Academic

This research area explores themes in the criminal law related to the importance of the mental element in crime generally and the mental state defences.  Other areas include recent and significant issues in the criminal law including the role and impact of policing and prosecution agencies in the criminal justice system, the importance of sentencing law and practice, the federal-state framework of Australian criminal laws, and the elements and investigation of some particular criminal offences.  The contemporary issues the subject of research reflect current reform and critical comment.

Key Academics

Research in this area examines key pieces of New South Wales Legislation, Commonwealth legislation and common law principles relating to degradation, protection and use of the natural environment. It also considers the role of international law in responding to international environmental degredation and its influence upon domestic law and policy.

Areas of specialty include:

  1. Government regulation of the environment
  2. Common law and property rights in environmental regulation
  3. Environmental assessment and approval in NSW
  4. Environmental assessment and approval by the Commonwealth
  5. Pollution regulation
  6. Sustainable development in Environmental Law and Policy
  7. Ozone depletion
  8. Climate change
  9. Biodiversity loss
  10. Environmental justice

Key Academics

Child law studies the law and the social context of the law as it impacts upon children. It considers broad legal and social issues that affect children, including:

  1. When children are considered capable of making legal decisions (legal capacity)
  2. International and human rights law applicable to children in Australia
  3. The nature of inter-professional collaboration on behalf of children in varied legal contexts
  4. Children and the Legal Process

It examines laws affecting children in different legal jurisdictions in a holistic way that acknowledges the importance of human rights, social and legal perspectives.

Key Academic

Involves the law regulating family relationships within formal marriage and de facto relationships where governed by Commonwealth law. It examines key aspects of family law in Australia in its social and political context. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of existing law and the effect of law reform. Topics covered include the legal regulation of families; forms of family dispute resolution; violence within families and responses to violence; parental responsibility and decisions in relation to children following separation; the best interests of children and children's rights; child support, spousal maintenance, and property division on separation; role of family lawyers; law reform.

Areas of specialty include:

  1. The constitutional framework of family law and jurisdiction of courts dealing with family law
  2. Marriage,de facto relationships, nullity and divorce
  3. Forms of family dispute resolution
  4. Family violence
  5. Parental responsibility: decision making about children; children's rights and best interests
  6. Property: the meaning of property and financial resources and alteration of property interests under the FLA
  7. Professional practice, roles and ethics of family lawyers
  8. Family Law Procedure including less adversarial trials
  9. Law reform in family law and the relevance of interdisciplinary knowledge and research

Key Academics

Considers the laws that deal with the protection of individuals and groups against violations by governments of certain internationally guaranteed human rights.

Areas of specialty include:

  1. Relevant United Nations Treaties (ICCPR & ICESCR)
  2. National Security, Terrorism and Limitations on Human Rights
  3. United Nations Investigation of Human Rights Violations
  4. United Nations Treaty Bodies: The ICCPR Human Rights Committee
  5. Enforcement Mechanisms and Humanitarian Intervention
  6. State Enforcement of International Human Rights including Australia
  7. Interaction between evolving norms of universal human rights and domestic laws
  8. Conflicting Traditions and Rights: Gender, Religion, Dress and Symbols, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Freedom of Speech
  9. Current Topics: Massive Human Rights Tragedies: Prosecutions and Truth Commissions
  10. Current Topics: Non-State Actors (eg. transnational corporations) and Human Rights
  11. Human Rights, Development and Climate Change
  12. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights

Key Academics

Deals with the laws and legal issues relating to and effecting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia (Indigenous peoples of Australia) from colonisation to the modern day.

Areas of specialty include:

  • Legal encounters:
    • Pre-contact Indigenous society and laws, the impact of colonisation and post-contact history
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    • Government polices
    • ­
    • Customary law
  • Race theory: Race, crime and welfare, with reference to children and Aboriginal deaths in custody
  • Land andother property: Land Rights, Native title; and examples of land returns and acquisitions post-Mabo
  • Unfinished business: criminal justice issues; self-determination and citizenship issues (eg. reconciliation, treaty, constitutional recognition)

Key Academics

Research focuses on the relations between states, international governmental bodies, communities and individuals within the public international legal framework. It explores competing notions of sovereignty.

Areas of specialty include:

  1. Treaties and the relationship between international and domestic law
  2. Settlement of international disputes
  3. The use of force and the enforcement of international law
  4. International humanitarian law
  5. International criminal law
  6. International law on refugees
  7. International human rights law
  8. International environmental law

Key Academics

Examines the rules of law by which liability for civil wrongs is imposed. Both common law and statutory schemes are considered, including defences, remedies and the assessment of damages.

Areas of specialty include:

  1. Intentional Torts
  2. Negligence
  3. Strict Liability Torts, including Liability for Animals and Breach of Statutory Duty
  4. Vicarious Liability and Non-Delegable Duty
  5. Remedies and Assessment of Damages
  6. Non-Tortious Compensation Schemes

Key Academics

See more information on our research in the following areas: