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Dr Alan Berman

Senior Lecturer

Newcastle Law School (Law)

Career Summary


Dr. Berman completed both his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (Magna Cum Laude) as well as his Juris Doctor degree from Duke University. After graduating from law school, he practiced in the areas of real estate and business litigation for several years. He was awarded an LLM from Victoria University of Wellington with First Class Honors. He completed his PhD in 2006. The topic of his PhD was entitled: 'French Colonization, Kanak Nationalism and Gender Inequality in New Caledonia.' Dr. Berman has taught in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Dr. Berman has been a member of the Newcastle Law School since mid-2008. He remains an Adjunct Research Fellow of the Socio-Legal Research Centre at Griffith Law School.

Research Expertise
Dr. Berman's research interests span a variety of areas, including international human rights law, indigenous peoples and the law, gender and the law and sexuality and the law.

Teaching Expertise
Dr. Berman teaches in the areas of Australian Constitutional Law, International Human Rights Law and Australian Crime and Society. He has previously taught Legal System and Method, Public Law, American Constitutional Law, and Civil Obligations.

Administrative Expertise
LLB Honours Coordinator, 2014, 2015 Director Newcastle Law School Research Committee, 2014, 2015 Member, ERA Review Team, Newcastle Law School 2014-15 Law School Representative to Academic Senate, 2009-10 Member, Academic Senate Constitutional Working Party, 2009-10 Member, Faculty Board of Business and Law Member, Law School Board

Dr. Berman has published widely in international and comparative law journals. Many of his articles on New Caledonia have been cited in books, treatises, journal articles and the New Zealand Law Commission Report. His recent book has also been cited by non-governmental organizations (eg. Australian NGO report on the implementation of CEDAW, Joint NGO submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Australia, and by the Australian Human Rights Commission) as well as in legal judgements and journal articles. Since publication of his book in 2010, several op-ed pieces have been written by Dr. Berman whose advice is routinely sought by members of the press. See, for example, ‘Homosexual Advance Defence’ is a source of shame for Queensland, Sydney Morning Herald March 31, 2014 (; ‘It is better late than never to scrap the antiquated ‘gay panic’ defence. Opinion on-line June 28, 2012 (; and ‘A gay advance is no excuse for murder’, Sydney Morning Herald April 27, 2011 ( Most recently, Dr. Berman has been the recipient of a grant from the Legal Practitioner Interest on Trust Accounts Fund (LPITAF) administered by the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General. Dr. Berman served as the Project Manager and Chief Investigator on the 2009 research grant which involved collaboration with Bond University. He has made several media appearances relating to the results of his research. See, for example, ‘Renewed Calls to Scrap Provocation Defence’ The World Today ABC News July 11, 2012(; ‘Study Shows gay hate crime rife in Queensland’ The World Today ABC News June 4, 2010 (; ‘Anti-gay hate crime rife in Queensland- study’ Sydney Morning Herald, AAP June 3, 2010 (; and ‘Majority of harassed gays suffer in silence’ ABC News June 4, 2010 (


  • PhD, Southern Cross University
  • Bachelor of Arts, Duke University - USA
  • Attorney and Counselor at Law, Supreme Court of the State of California
  • Juris Doctor (Equiv Masters), Duke University - USA
  • Master of Laws, Victoria University of Wellington


  • Anti-Discrimination Law
  • Australian Constitutional Law
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Crime and Australian Society
  • Equal Opportunity Law
  • Gender and the Law
  • Hate Crimes
  • Indigenous Peoples and International Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Legal System and Method
  • Sexuality and the Law


  • English (Fluent)
  • French (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified 15
160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified 15
180199 Law not elsewhere classified 70

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
Newcastle Law School

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/2008 -  Adjunct Research Fellow Socio-Legal Research Centre
Griffith Law School


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Book (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2010 Berman AB, Robinson S, Speaking Out: Stopping Homophobic and Transphobic Abuse in Queensland, Australian Academic Press, Bowen Hills, Queensland, 260 (2010) [A1]

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2008 Berman AB, 'The repeal of the sodomy laws in Tasmania in 1997 and the status of homophobia in contemporary Australia', Homophobia: An Australian History, Federation Press, Annandale, NSW 236-253 (2008) [B1]

Journal article (11 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Berman AB, 'International Human Rights Law and Racial Hate Speech Regulation in Australia: Reform and Replace? (forthcoming)', Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 44 (2015)
2008 Berman AB, 'The experiences of denying constitutional protection to sodomy laws in the United States, Australia, and Malaysia: You've come a long way baby and you still have a long way to go!', Oxford University Comparative Law Forum, Article 2 (2008) [C1]
2008 Berman AB, 'The Anwar saga: Sexuality & politics in contemporary Malaysia', Gay & Lesbian Issues Pyschology Review, 4 188-197 (2008) [C1]
2006 Berman A, 'Kanak Women and the Colonial Process', International Journal of Law in Context, 2 11-36 (2006) [C1]
DOI 10.1017/S1744552306001029
2005 Berman A, Berns S, 'Homophobia Perpetuated: The Demise of the Inquiry into the Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 (Cth)', Alternative Law Journal, 30 104-106 (2005) [C1]
2005 Berman A, 'The Law on Gender Parity in Politics in France and New Caledonia: A Window into the Future or More of the Same?', Oxford University Comparative Law Forum, - (2005) [C1]
2001 Berman AB, 'The Noumea Accords: Emancipation or Colonial Harness?', Texas International Law Journal, 36 277-298 (2001) [C1]
1998 Berman AB, 'Future Kanak Independence in New Caledonia: Reality or Illusion?', Stanford Journal of International Law, 34 287-347 (1998) [C1]
1998 Berman AB, '1998 and Beyond in New Caledonia: At Freedom's Gate', Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, 7 1-76 (1998) [C1]
1991 Berman AB, 'In Mitigation of Illegality: The US Invasion of Panama', Kentucky Law Journal, 79 735-800 (1991) [C1]
1990 Berman AB, 'International Human Rights Law and New Zealand's Foreign Relations: A Comparative Study of New Zealand's Relations With South Africa and Iran', University of Hawaii Law Review, 12 283-321 (1990) [C1]
Show 8 more journal articles

Conference (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2010 Berman AB, 'Case Study - Speaking Out: Stopping Homophobic and Transphobic Abuse in Queensland', Berlin International Human Rights Congress (BIHRC). Videos, Berlin, Germany (2010) [E3]

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 3
Total funding $104,200

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20091 grants / $5,000

Free Speech in Australia and the United States: Do we need a Bill of Rights?$5,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Alan Berman
Scheme New Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2009
Funding Finish 2009
GNo G0190363
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

20081 grants / $79,200

Homophobic and Transphobic Abuse, Harassment and Violence in Queensland$79,200

Grant to investigate the prevalence of homophobic and transphobic abuse, harassment and violence, the nature of such violence in Queensland as well as the extent to which non-reporting exists and the factors contributing to such non-reporting.

Funding body: Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General

Funding body Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General
Project Team
Scheme Legal Practitioners Interest on Trust Accounts Fund
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2010
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE

20001 grants / $20,000

French Colonialism, Kanak Nationalism and Gender Inequality in New Caledonia$20,000

Empirical based research project examining the impact of colonization on the legal traditions of indigenous peoples in New Caledonia.

Funding body: Social Legal Research Centre, Griffith Law School

Funding body Social Legal Research Centre, Griffith Law School
Project Team
Scheme SLRC, GLS
Role Lead
Funding Start 2000
Funding Finish 2005
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Total current UON EFTSL


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015 PhD Breaking Free from the Status Quo - the Way Forward for Fiduciary Duties in Australia
PhD (Law), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle
Principal Supervisor


Anti-semitic attack proves need for racial vilification laws

August 20, 2014

Newcastle Law School academics Associate Professor John Anderson and Dr Alan Berman discuss racial vilification laws

QLD ‘Gay Panic Defence’ Shameful

April 1, 2014

Newcastle Law School academics Dr Alan Berman and Sher Campbell delve into Queensland's 'homosexual advance defence'.

Dr Alan Berman


Senior Lecturer
Newcastle Law School
Faculty of Business and Law

Focus area


Contact Details

Phone (02) 4921 8810
Fax (02) 4921 6931


Room UNH 237
Building University House
Location Newcastle City Campus