Strengths and Expertise

Newcastle Law School scholars have expertise in a range of law and justice areas, including comparative law, business law, criminal law, environmental law, equity, intellectual property, law and religion, judicial biography, and family law. Our researchers’ profiles can be viewed here.

This expertise is underpinned by a focus on clinical legal education and evidence-based law informed by legal theoretical underpinnings.

Research strengths within Newcastle Law School are primarily clustered around four themes:

A large proportion of Newcastle Law School scholars have an international reputation in the field of international law, with their work redefining approaches and advancing knowledge in:

  • Colonialism and self-determination
  • State secession
  • International intellectual property law
  • International Trade law
  • The impact of globalisation on workers and value chains
  • International approaches to judicial innovation
  • International dispute resolution
  • Human rights across a range of areas, including environmental law, refugee law, and the preservation of rights in criminal law.

The profile of Newcastle Law School scholars is evident in their international engagement with invited contributions to the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, to the European Academics’ Opinion Against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and subcommittees of the International Law Association and UNESCO panels. Newcastle Law School researchers also hold memberships at the Chinese International Economic Law Initiative (University of New South Wales) and the Asian WTO Research Network.

The world-class standard of their work is evident in publication sources that include:

  • Griffith Law Review
  • Brooklyn Journal of International Law
  • Vanderbilt Journal of International Law
  • International Journal of Evidence and Proof
  • Criminal Law Journal
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Routledge
  • Springer.

Researchers

Newcastle Law School scholars are recognised nationally and international for their contributions to comparative legal scholarship and socio-legal research in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Staff members hold affiliate appointments at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society (University of Melbourne); Centre for Development Research (University of Bonn, Germany); associate memberships at the International Academy of Comparative Law; the Sydney South-East Asian Centre (University of Sydney) and the Chinese International Economic Law Initiative (University of New South Wales); and possess membership at the Asian WTO Research Network.

The standard of their work is evident in national and international publication sources, including:

  • Sydney University Law Review
  • Theoretical Criminology
  • Queen’s Law Journal
  • Modern Asian Studies
  • International and Comparative Law Quarterly
  • Oxford University Press
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Routledge
  • Hart

Researchers

Newcastle Law School scholars have considerable expertise in applied law, including criminal law, workplace health and safety law, and torts, and engage in international and domestic research and practice collaborations in this area.
Notable international collaborations include:

  • Visiting scholar positions in criminal law and justice at Queens (Ontario), Edinburgh and Nottingham, which have outstanding reputations for scholarly and applied research in criminal law
  • A prestigious collaboration with leading sentencing scholars at the Life Imprisonment Worldwide project and Criminal Justice Research Centre (University of Nottingham), which is generating cutting-edge research with significant international impact.

Domestic collaborations extend to:

  • Interdisciplinary research into elder abuse with health academics, which is funded by targeted government grants;
  • Joint academic/professional national research projects in evidence law (e.g. Uniform Evidence in Australia);
  • Significant contributions to leading works in torts and workplace health and safety law (e.g. Fleming's Law of Torts; Workplace Health and Safety Law in Australia); and
  • Influential criminal law and justice scholarship in high impact publications (e.g. Criminal Law Journal, UNSW Law Journal, Psychiatry, Psychology & Law).

Researchers

Newcastle Law School scholars contribute to justice reform in a range of areas, including

  • Dispute resolution and court related processes, where the nationally and internationally recognised expertise of Newcastle Law School scholars is making an impact across the fields of mediation, arbitration, judicial education, and evidence-based reform
  • Regulatory and supporting arrangements in respect of justice infrastructure including pre-action requirements, complaints handling and ombudsmen
  • Restorative and therapeutic justice innovations
  • Procedural justice
  • Technology, AI, data use and privacy
  • Judicial engagement and innovation
  • Child Law, especially in relation to legal representation and the legal construction of ‘the child.’

Newcastle Law School scholars working in these areas have contributed to a range of well-regarded, national and international publication sources, including:

  • Journal of Judicial Administration
  • Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice
  • Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Journal of Judicial Administration
  • UNSW Law Journal
  • International Journal of Law, Politics and the Family
  • Australian Journal of Family Law
  • New Zealand Law Review

Researchers

  • Professor Tania Sourdin (Civil Justice Reform; Technology and Data Use; Judicial Engagement and Innovation, Dispute Resolution and Complaints)
  • Professor Lisa Toohey (Litigation, Adjudication and Dispute Resolution)
  • Dr Nicola Ross (Family Law; Legal Practice, Lawyering and the Legal Profession; Human Rights and Justice Issues)
  • Professor Laurence Boulle (Alternative Dispute Resolution)

Evidence-based law

The evidence-based movement has had a transformative influence on research and practice in numerous disciplines, including healthcare, education, management and policy. Law lags behind. In many respects, law remains ‘eminence-based’, relying on the opinions of authority figures, rather than on robust and thorough research evidence. Too often, there is a gulf between academic research and the reality of lawmaking and legal practice.

In 2015, the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Business and Law funded the development of an evidence-based law Priority Research Initiative (PRI) that reshaped the research approach across Newcastle Law School. The PRI provided incentive and a structured framework for researchers to engage in and extend evidence-based research.  It allowed researchers to expand their research collaborations, build research capacity, and coherently organised research activity around four thematic areas: Legal Education, Equity & Scholarship; Health, Justice & Social Affairs; Human Rights & International Affairs; and Business, Regulation & Compliance. This encouraged and enabled a range of projects that had real world impacts. Examples can be found here.

Newcastle Law School is committed to undertaking evidence-based research that asks and answers questions that will have impacts within and beyond academia, including contributions to law reform, public policy, professional practice and, more broadly, to society, the economy, culture, and the environment.