I have taught at the Law School since 1999, following a career as a lawyer, social worker, manager and policy consultant to State and Federal government. I have been an active researcher since 2005 and was awarded a PhD from Sydney University in May, 2012. My PhD encompassed an empirical study of children’s lawyers in New South Wales in family law, child protection and crime – I argued that more needs to be done to support children’s lawyers relating to the children they represent. Although my research specialisation is children’s lawyers, I also have research interests in children’s human rights, legal representation of children and children’s participation in the legal process; child protection, adoption and family Law. I have recently written about interprofessional education and collaboration between lawyers and social workers, children and young people's participation in child protection proceedings, and peer mentoring and simulations in legal education. Current service roles I undertake are in research and experiential education.
I coordinate Family Law, Child Law (a dual badge subject taught to law students and social work students) and International Child and Family Law (LLM course beginning in 2015). Before joining the academy I worked as a lawyer in private practice (family law and crime), as a social worker in developing and managing a community team, and as a policy consultant to State and Federal Government.
- Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sydney, 25/05/2012
- Diploma of Legal Practice, College of Law, 23/05/1997
- Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Macquarie University, 18/04/1996
- Bachelor of Social Work (Honours), University of New South Wales, 06/05/1983
- Children's Participation
- Children's human rights
- Children's lawyers
- Family Law and child protection
- Interprofessional collaboration
- simulated clients in legal education
My doctorate considered how children’s lawyers in family law, child protection and crime understand the aspects of their role intended to facilitate children’s participation. I undertook an empirical study that explored lawyers' experience of representing children and revealed some of the tensions that impacted on their practice. This study employed a qualitative method, using interviews with 35 children’s lawyers who practise in one, two or all three of these jurisdictions in New South Wales. The study utilised existing research into children’s experiences of legal representation. It took a children’s rights approach, coupled with relational theory, sociocultural theory and the sociology of childhood. The findings suggest that lawyers’ practice in relation to children’s participation is affected by the nature of the proceedings and discourse in the jurisdiction, the model of representation and individual factors relating to lawyers’ ethical orientations to practice. Lawyers’ relational approaches correlated most closely with children’s right to participation and expectations of legal representation.
Fields of Research
|220104||Human Rights And Justice Issues||35|
|180121||Legal Practice, Lawyering And The Legal Profession||35|
Body relevant to professional practice.
- Member - Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia
- Member - Newcastle Law Society
- Member - Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association
Committee/Associations (relevant to research).
- Member - Australasian Law Teachers Association
- Member - International Society of Family Law
- Member - Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network
- Member - Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
I am engaged in a number of collaborative projects, with colleagues from the University of Newcastle and professionals in the local or Sydney based area. Current active projects are (i) research into DV Lethality for lawyers (ii) Work with several NGOs and other university researchers in relation to children who have been removed from their homes due to protective concerns in Newcastle/surrounds, with themes of family inclusion and children and young people's participation.
I have co-edited the Australian Families Research E-Bulletin (3 issues per year) together with Dr Richard Fletcher, Family Action Centre (University of Newcastle) and Interrelate, NSW since 2010.
Selected seminars and events organised for the university and local professionals include:
• ‘The Balibo 5 Coronial Inquest; Magistrate Dorelle Pinch, 11/11/2009
• ‘Strengthening Relationships within the Family Law System, Assoc. Prof Helen Rhoades, Chair, Family Law Council, and Anne Hollands, Chair of the Family Relationships Services Australia, 2/12/2010 (organised in association with the Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network and Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners’ Association)
- 'Therapeutic Jurisprudence', visiting scholar Dr Susan Brooks, Drexel Law School,Philadelphia 29/11/13
- 'The Challenge of Making Children's and Young People's Participation Real", Professor Nigel Thomas, University of Central Lancashire, 28/3/14.
I have been one of the conveners of the Law School’s Legal Research Network from 2009 - 2014. I initiated and facilitated the first Writing Group (for academics and RHD students) in the Law School from 2012-2014 and have represented Newcastle Law School on the Faculty Research Committee since 2012. I currently co-convene the Law School's experiential education Committee. In 2013 I was the Honours Coordinator for the Law School.
I have been Newcastle Law School’s representative to the Australasian Law Teachers Association since 2011.
- Child Law
- Child Protection
- Dispute resolution
- Family law
- Legal Method - communication
In 2013, I was awarded the Faculty of Business and Law 'Excellence in Law Teaching" Award.
I supervise one PhD student and have supervised seven Honours students since 2010 in relation to family and child law topics. These include:
PhD supervision: Neisha Shepherd (enrolled 2014)
Honours Supervision (2010
Rachel Aspinall, ‘Children and Internet Exposure to Pornography’: Reframing the Debate using Children’s Rights’.
Nicole Lojszczyk, ‘The Changing Face of Relocation: An examination of the proposoal of a presumption in favour of relocation in circumstances involving family violence’.
Khiara Tritton, ‘The Use of Social Science Research in Alienation Matters: The need for specialist knowledge in specialist courts’.
Loren Riddell, ‘Crossover Youth: An examination of the welfare needs of children involved in the New South Wales juvenile justice system’.
Kwan Fu Tiphanie Au, ‘Achieving Certainty and Fairness in Binding Financial Agreements’.
Kathryn Patterson: 'The Kennon Principle: A Time for Change?'
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.
Chapter (2 outputs)
Journal article (7 outputs)
|2013||Freeman E, Ross NM, St George J, Fletcher R, 'A quantitative analysis of practitioners' knowledge of fathers and fathers' engagement in family relationship services', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 24 270-277 (2013) [C1]|
|2013||Ross N, 'Children's Lawyers: "Seeing" children', New Zealand Law Review, 2013 409-427 (2013) [C1]|
|2013||Ross NM, 'Different Views? Children's Lawyers and Children's Participation in Protective Proceedings in New South Wales, Australia', International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 27 332-358 (2013) [C1]|
|2012||Ross NM, 'Independent children's lawyers: Relational approaches to children's representation', Australian Journal of Family Law, 26 1-26 (2012) [C1]|
|2012||Ross NM, 'The Dad Factor [Book review]', Australian Journal of Family Law, 26 280 (2012) [C3]|
|2006||Ross NM, Finlay-Jones JA, 'Peer Mentoring for Law Students - Improving the First Year Advocacy Experience', The Law Teacher, 40 22-38 (2006) [C1]|
|2005||Ross NM, 'Images of children: agency, art 12 and models for legal representation.', Australian Journal of Family Law, 19 94-111 (2005) [C1]|
|Show 4 more|
Conference (8 outputs)
|2012||Ross NM, 'Critical or a nonsense? How children's lawyers define children's participation in court proceedings', Doing Justice for Young People: Issues and challenges for Judicial Administration in Australia and New Zealand Conference, Brisbane (2012) [E3]|
|2011||Ross NM, Campbell SA, Apps AE, 'Up close and personal - Creating a simulated client experience for first year law students', 14th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference 2011, Brisbane, QLD (2011) [E2]|
|2011||Ross NM, 'Child representation in protective proceedings in New South Wales: A paradox', Child Protection in Australia and New Zealand: Issues and challenges for Judicial Administration Conference, Brisbane (2011) [E3]|
|2011||Ross NM, 'Contrasting children's participation in family law and child protection proceedings', Child Protection in Australia and New Zealand: Issues and challenges for Judicial Administration Conference, Brisbane (2011) [E3]|
|2010||Ross NM, 'Contrasting children's participation through lawyers in family law and child protection proceedings', 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference. Program and Abstracts, Melbourne, Vic (2010) [E3]|
|2009||Ross NM, 'Two sides of the same coin? Lawyers' representation of children and children's participation in legal proceedings', 5th World Congress on Family Law and Children's Rights: Registration Brochure, Halifax, Nova Scotia (2009) [E3]|
|Show 5 more|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||1|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
2005 (1 grants)
The Fourth World Congress on Family Law and Children's Rights, 20-23 March 2005$2,045
Funding Body: University of Newcastle
|Doctor Nicola Ross|
|Travel Grant||Chief Investigator|
|Total Amount||Funding Start||Funding Finish|
|Number of current supervisions||1|
|Total current UoN PhD EFTSL||0.55|
For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.
|Program||Supervisor Type||Research Title|
|2015||2019||PhD (Law)||Co-Supervisor||The Impact of Inequality: How Australian Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults in Same-Sex Parented Families Perceive Themselves to be Affected by Anti-Gay Laws|
Dr Nicola Ross
|Work Phone||(02) 4921 5871|
|Fax||(02) 4921 6931|
Newcastle Law School
Faculty of Business and Law
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Callaghan NSW 2308