Dr Nicola Ross
Newcastle Law School
- Phone:(02) 4921 5871
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
|180121||Legal Practice, Lawyering and the Legal Profession||35|
|220104||Human Rights and Justice Issues||35|
|Title||Organisation / Department|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Newcastle
Newcastle Law School
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|1/01/2013 -||Membership - International Society of Family Law||International Society of Family Law
|1/01/2012 -||Membership - Association of Family and Conciliation Courts||Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
|1/01/2009 -||Membership - Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association||Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association
|1/01/2008 -||Membership - Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network||Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network
|1/01/2007 -||Membership - Newcastle Law Society||Newcastle Law Society
|1/01/2007 -||Membership - Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia||Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia
|1/01/2004 -||Membership - Australasian Law Teachers Association||Australasian Law Teachers Association
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Chapter (4 outputs)
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)
|2016||Ross NM, 'Legal Representation of Children', Children and the Law in Australia, LexisNexis Butterworths, Australia 587-613 (2016)|
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]
|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)
|2018||Ross NM, Fernando M, 'Stifled Voices: Hearing childrenÂ¿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]|
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]
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]
|2013||Ross N, 'Children's Lawyers: "Seeing" children', New Zealand Law Review, 2013 409-427 (2013) [C1]|
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]
|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]|
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 7 more journal articles|
Conference (9 outputs)
Blakemore TJ, Howard A, McCarthy S, Ross N, 'Interprofessional Work Integrated Learning : Exploring Opportunities for Social Innovation in Australian Tertiary Education', Kyoto , Japan (2015)
|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]|
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]
|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 6 more conferences|
Report (1 outputs)
Ross N, Cocks J, Johnston L, Stoker L, 'Â¿No voice, no opinion, nothingÂ¿: Parent experiences when children are removed and placed in care', 75 (2017)
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||6|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20181 grants / $8,000
Funding body: Ian Potter Foundation
20171 grants / $15,712
Restorative justice initiatives in the Hunter and Newcastleâs proclamation as a Restorative City$15,712
Funding body: NED Foundation
20161 grants / $4,000
Teaching & Learning Seed Grant 2016: Evaluating the internationalisation of law studentsâ learning$4,000
Funding body: Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle
|Funding body||Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle|
Nicola Ross, Nola Ries, Sher Campbell, Jacquie Svenson, Daniel Matas, Tim Connor, Kevin Sobel-Read, Katherine Lindsay
|Scheme||Teaching and Learning Seed Grant|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20151 grants / $8,292
Parentsâ 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|
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|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20071 grants / $12,000
Funding body: Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle
|Funding body||Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle|
Mrs Katherine Lindsay and Ms Nicola Ross
|Scheme||Centre for Teaching & Learning Research Grant 2009|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20051 grants / $2,045
Funding body: University of Newcastle
|Funding body||University of Newcastle|
|Project Team||Doctor Nicola Ross|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
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.
October 21, 2015
March 25, 2014
Dr Nicola Ross was a keynote speaker at the 2014 NSW Child Representation Conference organised by Legal Aid NSW.
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.