Dr Nicola Ross

Dr Nicola Ross

Senior Lecturer

Newcastle Law School

Career Summary

Biography


Dr Nicola Ross' research and teaching focus on how the law and legal practice affect and include vulnerable people, particularly children and their families. She has a strong interest in restorative justice and restorative practices, and is involved in a collaboration to transform Newcastle into a restorative city with an emphasis on social inclusion. She lectures and writes on children and law, children’s lawyers, family law, crime, child protection, adoption, inter-professional collaboration and restorative cities. She also writes on study abroad experiences for law students.

Background and Research
A strong interest in social justice led to an early career as a lawyer, social worker, manager and policy consultant to government. As an academic, I focus on how the law and legal practice impacts on vulnerable people, particularly children and their families, with a particular interest on how they are heard in legal decision-making processes. My PhD from Sydney University encompassed an empirical study of children’s lawyers in New South Wales in family law, child protection and crime, with a focus on how children participate in decision making through lawyers. I argued that relationality is key to how lawyers represent children, and that more needs to be done to support children’s lawyers relating to the children they represent. 

My research considers how children, young people and marginalised groups can be heard and better included in decisions made in the legal system. Current research interests include how we can enhance the law’s impact on children and families in child protection and family law? Can restorative cities support social inclusion of children, young people, vulnerable families, and residents through restorative justice and restorative practices? My research in legal education has focused on questions about simulation in legal education, how to improve skills in collaboration between lawyers and social workers, and how to effectively internationalise the legal curriculum through international study and work integrated learning initiatives. 

Teaching I currently coordinate Family Law and Child Law (taught to law and social work students) and will teach Legal System and Method to JD students in 2018. In 2016, I took students to Cambodia with the support of New Columbo Plan funding to work on international child and family law issues. I have funding to take students to Cambodia again in 2018. 

Service roles undertaken for the School and Faculty include Convenor of the Juris Doctor Program, Honours Program, Faculty and School research representative and first External Relations Convenor for the School in 2016/17. In 2018 (Semester 2) I will be responsible for indigenous education. 

Research Expertise and recent publications
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 practised 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. 

I have published recently in the areas of adoption, family violence, how children are heard in Hague Convention matters, child representation, restorative cities and international study opportunities for law students.

Teaching Expertise
In 2013, I was awarded the Faculty of Business and Law 'Excellence in Law Teaching" Award. I have supervised PhD and Honours students since 2010 in relation to family and child law topics. 

Collaborations
I am engaged in a number of collaborative projects, with colleagues from the University of Newcastle and professionals/other academics in the local or Sydney based area. 

I am part of a team of academics in the Law School, broader University and members of the community who are partnering to develop Newcastle as a restorative city.  We will hold a symposium in June 2018 , with invited international keynote speakers to explore how Newcastle might be transformed in this way.

Recently I led a research team including partners from the Family Action Centre and Social Work Schools at UoN and Life Without Barriers (LWB) and including parent consultants from FISH (Family Inclusion Services Hunter), a parent and worker led coalition for parents who have had children removed from their care. LWB is a non-government organisation and the largest provider of out of home care services in Australia. This research explored the perspectives and experiences of parents whose children have been removed due to protective concerns in Newcastle and the Hunter - about their contact with legal, child protection and out of home care services. This research report was finalised and launched in February 2017.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Social Work (Honours), University of New South Wales
  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Macquarie University
  • Diploma of Legal Practice, College of Law

Keywords

  • Child Law
  • Child Protection
  • Children's Participation
  • Children's human rights
  • Children's lawyers
  • Dispute resolution
  • Family Law and child protection
  • Family law
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Legal Method - communication
  • international WiL study
  • simulated clients in legal education

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
180113 Family Law 30
180121 Legal Practice, Lawyering and the Legal Profession 35
220104 Human Rights and Justice Issues 35

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

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

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/2013 -  Membership - International Society of Family Law International Society of Family Law
Australia
1/01/2012 -  Membership - Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
Australia
1/01/2009 -  Membership - Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association
Australia
1/01/2008 -  Membership - Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network
Australia
1/01/2007 -  Membership - Newcastle Law Society Newcastle Law Society
Australia
1/01/2007 -  Membership - Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia
Australia
1/01/2004 -  Membership - Australasian Law Teachers Association Australasian Law Teachers Association
Australia
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Publications

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


Chapter (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Ross N, Ries NM, Meredith J, Campbell S, 'Local to Global: Incorporating Overseas Work and Study in the Law School Curriculum', The Globalisation of Higher Education - Developing Internationalised Education, Research and Practice, Palgrave McMillan, Australia (2017)
Co-authors Nola Ries
2016 Ross NM, 'Legal Representation of Children', Children and the Law in Australia, LexisNexis Butterworths, Australia 587-613 (2016)
2014 Ross N, Apps AE, Campbell S, 'Shaping the future lawyer: connecting students with clients in first-year law', Legal Education: Simulation in Theory and Practice, Ashgate, London 67-86 (2014) [B1]
Co-authors Ann Apps
2008 Ross NM, 'Legal representation of children', Children and the Law in Australia, LexisNexis, Chatswood, New South Wales 544-573 (2008) [B1]
Show 1 more chapter

Journal article (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Ross NM, Fernando M, 'Stifled Voices: Hearing children¿s objections in Hague Child Abduction Convention cases in Australia', International Journal of Law Policy and the Family, 2018 (2018)
2016 Ross NM, Cashmore J, 'Adoption reforms New South Wales style: A comparative look', Australian Journal of Family Law, 30 51-75 (2016) [C1]
2016 Ross NM, James C, 'Did he ever hit you? Exploring the attitudes of lawyers in the assessment of the seriousness of threats and violent histories in domestic violence cases', Australian Journal of Family Law, 30 205-239 (2016) [C1]
Co-authors Colin James
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]
DOI 10.1093/lawfam/ebt009
Citations Web of Science - 1
2013 Ross N, 'Children's Lawyers: "Seeing" children', New Zealand Law Review, 2013 409-427 (2013) [C1]
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]
Citations Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Richard Fletcher, Emily Freeman, Jennifer Stgeorge
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]
DOI 10.1080/03069400.2006.9993195
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 7 more journal articles

Conference (9 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Blakemore TJ, Howard A, McCarthy S, Ross N, 'Interprofessional Work Integrated Learning : Exploring Opportunities for Social Innovation in Australian Tertiary Education', Kyoto , Japan (2015)
Co-authors Shaun Mccarthy, Tamara Blakemore, Amanda Howard
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, '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]
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, 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]
Co-authors Ann Apps
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]
2005 Ross 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]
2004 Ross N, 'Building Bridges: a peer mentoring program', Conference Proceedings Crossing Boundaries Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference, Darwin (2004) [E2]
Show 6 more conferences

Report (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Ross N, Cocks J, Johnston L, Stoker L, '¿No voice, no opinion, nothing¿: Parent experiences when children are removed and placed in care', 75 (2017)
Co-authors Lou Johnston
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 6
Total funding $50,049

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


20181 grants / $8,000

Newcastle as a Restorative City$8,000

Funding body: Ian Potter Foundation

Funding body Ian Potter Foundation
Project Team Professor Tania Sourdin, Doctor Nicola Ross, Associate Professor John Anderson
Scheme Conference Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1700771
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20171 grants / $15,712

Restorative justice initiatives in the Hunter and Newcastle’s proclamation as a Restorative City$15,712

Funding body: NED Foundation

Funding body NED Foundation
Project Team Doctor Nicola Ross, Professor Tania Sourdin
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1701082
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20161 grants / $4,000

Teaching & Learning Seed Grant 2016: Evaluating the internationalisation of law students’ learning$4,000

Funding body: Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Nicola Ross, Nola Ries, Sher Campbell, Jacquie Svenson, Daniel Matas, Tim Connor, Kevin Sobel-Read, Katherine Lindsay

Scheme Teaching and Learning Seed Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20151 grants / $8,292

Parents’ perspectives on support/legal services after having a child removed and placed in out of home care$8,292

Funding body: Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle
Project Team

Dr Nicola Ross, Ms Lou Johnston (Social Work, UoN) Ms Jessica Cocks (Life Without Barriers) Ms Lynette Stoker (FAC, UoN)

Scheme Faculty Research Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20071 grants / $12,000

Peer Mentoring Program for first year law students$12,000

Funding body: Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle

Funding body Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle
Project Team

Mrs Katherine Lindsay and Ms Nicola Ross

Scheme Centre for Teaching & Learning Research Grant 2009
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2007
Funding Finish 2007
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20051 grants / $2,045

The Fourth World Congress on Family Law and Children's Rights, 20-23 March 2005$2,045

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Nicola Ross
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2005
Funding Finish 2005
GNo G0184988
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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News

child protection

New approach to child protection needed: report

February 21, 2017

A parent and family inclusive approach to child protection and foster care is urgently needed in Australia, a report to be launched today will recommend.

Dr Nicola Ross

Nicola Ross on Child Representation

March 25, 2014

Dr Nicola Ross was a keynote speaker at the 2014 NSW Child Representation Conference organised by Legal Aid NSW.

Children in care need protection

Children in care need protection of society

March 20, 2014

In recent days reports have emerged about organised sexual abuse of teenagers in residential care in Victoria. We have also witnessed the devastating stories of adult survivors of child sexual and other abuse by the authorities into whose care they were entrusted when they were vulnerable children.

Dr Nicola Ross

Position

Senior Lecturer
Newcastle Law School
Faculty of Business and Law

Contact Details

Email nicola.ross@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 5871
Fax (02) 4921 6931

Office

Room X-530
Building NeW Space
Location City Campus

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