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Career Summary

Biography

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.

Qualifications

  • 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

Research

Research keywords

  • Children's Participation
  • Children's human rights
  • Children's lawyers
  • Family Law and child protection
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • simulated clients in legal education

Research expertise

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

CodeDescriptionPercentage
220104Human Rights And Justice Issues35
180121Legal Practice, Lawyering And The Legal Profession35
180113Family Law30

Memberships

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

Other

  • Member - Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network
  • Member - Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

Collaboration

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.

Administrative

Administrative expertise

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.

Teaching

Teaching keywords

  • Child Law
  • Child Protection
  • Dispute resolution
  • Family law
  • Legal Method - communication

Teaching expertise

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?'

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Highlighted Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2012Ross NM, 'Independent children's lawyers: Relational approaches to children's representation', Australian Journal of Family Law, 26 1-26 (2012) [C1]
2013Ross N, 'Children's Lawyers: "Seeing" children', New Zealand Law Review, 2013 409-427 (2013) [C1]
2013Ross 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]

Publications

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)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2014Ross NM, Apps A, Campbell S, 'Shaping the future lawyer: connecting students with clients in first-year law', Legal Education: Simulation in Theory and Practice, ashgate, London 67-85 (2014)
2008Ross NM, 'Legal representation of children', Children and the Law in Australia, LexisNexis, Chatswood, New South Wales 544-573 (2008) [B1]

Journal article (7 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2013Fletcher Richard, Freeman E, Ross NM, St George J, 'A quantitative analysis of practitioners' knowledge of fathers and fathers' engagement in family relationship services', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 24 270-277 (2013) [C1]
2013Ross N, 'Children's Lawyers: "Seeing" children', New Zealand Law Review, 2013 409-427 (2013) [C1]
2013Ross 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]
2012Ross NM, 'Independent children's lawyers: Relational approaches to children's representation', Australian Journal of Family Law, 26 1-26 (2012) [C1]
2012Ross NM, 'The Dad Factor [Book review]', Australian Journal of Family Law, 26 280 (2012) [C3]
2006Ross NM, Finlay-Jones JA, 'Peer Mentoring for Law Students - Improving the First Year Advocacy Experience', The Law Teacher, 40 22-38 (2006) [C1]
2005Ross NM, 'Images of children: agency, art 12 and models for legal representation.', Australian Journal of Family Law, 19 94-111 (2005) [C1]
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Conference (8 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2012Ross 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]
2011Ross 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]
2011Ross 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]
2011Ross 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]
2010Ross 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]
2009Ross 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]
2005Ross N, 'Agency, Article 12 and Models of Legal Representation in Australia', 4th World Congress on Family Law and Children''s Rights, Cape Town (2005) [E2]
2004Ross N, 'Building Bridges: a peer mentoring program', Conference Proceedings Crossing Boundaries Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference, Darwin (2004) [E2]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants1
Total funding$2,045

- Indicates that the researcher may be seeking students for this project.

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

Project Team
Doctor Nicola Ross
SchemeRole
Travel GrantChief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish
$2,04520052005
GNo:G0184988
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Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions1
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL0.3

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

CommencedProposed
Completion
ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20142022PhD (Law)Co-SupervisorNo Rights, No Representation, No Voice: The Representation and Advocacy of Unaccompanied Minors and Separated Children in Australia
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Dr Nicola Ross

Work Phone(02) 4921 5871
Fax(02) 4921 6931
Email
PositionSenior Lecturer
Newcastle Law School
Faculty of Business and Law
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Office
MC 166,
McMullin Building,
Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308
Australia
URL:www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/nicola-ross