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Professor Tania Sourdin

Head of School & Dean

Newcastle Law School

Transparency, technology and teaching: an eye for justice

Professor Tania Sourdin’s career has spanned the globe as a consultant and specialist expert in a range of complex programs across the justice sector.

With an extensive career focusing on justice, litigation, conflict avoidance and dispute resolution, Tania has influenced legislative reform initiatives, standards and cultural change for dispute resolution. She has also taught judges in a range of programs that include court craft, civil procedure, decision making, complex behaviour and in judicial orientation programs.

Having written extensively about justice issues, Tania’s work on boards, committees and working groups continues to expand across the country and internationally. One recent achievement is chairing and organising judicial conferences for the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Justice from 2008 – 2014. Tania continues to support the UAE Ministry of Justice in the area of justice reform.

Fortuitously, this journey has now led her to explore new challenges as Dean and Head of School at the University of Newcastle Law School. “It’s been a very broad and interesting part of my life that I’m looking forward to continuing at Newcastle,” Tania says.

From empiricism to innovation

“I started off as a lawyer before becoming more of an empirical researcher looking at what happens in the justice system. I’d describe the justice system quite broadly in that it includes complaints through to formal court adjudication,” Tania explains.

“A lot of the work I’ve done in the past has been around looking at how people experience court and justice processes: how long they take, how much they cost and how those processes can be improved.”

The University of Newcastle Law School is unique in its size and scope, which is precisely what attracted Tania to the position. “I’ve always been very interested in the law school at UON because it’s such a practical law school with a unique hands-on clinical program,” Tania says. This hands-on approach allows students at UON have the opportunity to work with clients under the supervision of legal practitioners at the University of Newcastle Legal Centre and provide a range of outreach clinics such as the highly successful Law On The Beach program.

The relatively smaller size of the UON Law School is not only beneficial for students, it also means that Tania is able to keep up her dual focus as Dean and continue her sizeable research.

Technology and the practice of law

Tania’s research focus is intense, with a current slant on exploring innovations within the judicial system. “I’m exploring how well they work, whether they can be replicated what prevents them being replicated and how they can be extended in certain circumstances?” Tania explains.

The range of technologies that are currently being utilised in the judicial system posit some novel questions that Tania’s keen to explore. “These technologies raise an interesting point about how much humans actually need to be involved in the delivery of justice in the longer term. The question around how humans remain involved, and how much humans add in the justice sector is intriguing,” Tania says.

There are three levels of broad levels of change: supportive technology, replacement technology and disruptive technology, and each offers differing levels of support and change.

Tania suggests that it’s inevitable that smaller cases will progress through more technologically-aided processes into the future, which is a good thing. “It can be easier for people to access information and to access systems without having to actually arrive at the court or to be doing things between the hours of 9 to 5 which is often expected in the justice sector,” Tania says.

In the criminal sphere Tania explains that there could be some cost savings through technology, particularly in preparation for a trial. “There are many areas of innovations using e-Discovery that can lead to cost-savings. It’s been used a great deal in the US where there’s a greater need to uncover all relevant documents relating to a court case. The software used in e-discovery allows you to find information far more readily, and cost-effectively. Doing this online is much easier than having people sitting in a room sorting through hard copy.”

Social media, transparency and the law

Legal and court-reporting has taken on a new slant with the uptake of social media sites by news organisations. Rather than having to wait until the following day to read a court report in the paper, the commentary is immediate, is reported from the court and is online in seconds. This uptake of social media and the immediacy of reportage online is something that raises conflicting views in Tania. “It often takes a long time for a complex matter to be sorted out and sometimes the commentary that arises is not very sophisticated or informed, and can sometimes be misleading as it’s only based on a short interaction.”

“However, I do think that it’s good that there is transparency around the justice system. It is intended to be open and accessible, but most people don’t want to go and sit in a courtroom when a case that they’re interested in is being dealt with. So having faster online, on-time reporting makes it easier for people to understand what’s going on in the justice system – which I think is a very good thing.”

Tania utilises social media in a professional capacity to expand her contacts and share new developments in the judicial scene. “For me, it’s a good learning experience and a way to better understand what’s going on in the justice sector more broadly. Otherwise I think there’s mainly a temptation to talk to other academics and senior professionals. With LinkedIn you talk with people in all parts of the justice system, so I think that’s very useful,” Tania adds.

“With Twitter it’s a different interaction: it’s so fast I can do it very quickly. I like the immediacy of Twitter too. I was recently writing an article on ‘priming’ in justice and as I was writing it there was an article that led me to another that helped me extend my thinking in a way that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been accessing Twitter,” Tania says.

Although Tania is now based in Newcastle, her research continues to spread its wings across the country and continents. “I’ve got projects happening in South Australia, along with judicial education work. There’s also an interesting project that I’m collaborating with the Business areas on complaints and the return on investment on good complaints management and which involves looking at the complaints processes in big organisations and thinking about how complaints data can improve products and services as well as the customer experience.”

“I’m also writing about ‘Judge vs Robot’ which is fascinating. I run an international collaborative network under the Law and Society Association which has around 40 lawyers and judges in it, and we look at judging – and that’s a particular area I’m fascinated in. In particular, I’m intrigued by the moral and ethical dilemmas – what happens when people start to consider artificial intelligence in different ways as well?”

Could robots replacing judges remove subjectivity?

“When you have more sophisticated algorithms that consider the legislation you may remove some of the subjectivity. However, that does come at a cost as judges also have a role as commentators and also test a lot of realities within our society. The interesting thing about artificial intelligence is that it’s often seen as apart from humans as you have a computer doing it whereas what we know is that, increasingly into the future, humans will be enhanced with artificial intelligence. I think this is really interesting piece as well and one that’s worthy of exploring.”

With a keen focus on the University of Newcastle Law School and a continued dedication to research Tania will continue to explore the way that justice shapes public policy and its impact on society. It’s an exciting area in the field of justice, and one that Tania is keen to follow.

Tania Sourdin

Transparency, technology and teaching: an eye for justice

Professor Sourdin has published and presented widely on a range of topics.

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Career Summary


Professor Tania Sourdin is the Dean of the University of Newcastle Law School. She was previously the Foundation Chair and Director of the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation (ACJI) at Monash University in Australia.  Professor Sourdin has led national research projects and produced important recommendations for justice reform.  In the past two decades, she has conducted qualitative and quantitative research projects into aspects of the justice system systems in 11 Courts and Tribunals and five external dispute resolution schemes. Other research has focussed on justice innovation, technology, delay and systemic reforms.

Professor Sourdin is the author of books, articles and papers, and has published and presented widely on a range of topics including justice issues, mediation, conflict resolution, collaborative law, artificial intelligence, technology and organisational change. She is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Sydney and has worked as a senior Tribunal member in respect of appellate matters and as a mediator for more than 25 years. She has worked extensively overseas as an expert consultant in relation to disputes and dispute system design.  In 2014 she was appointed as the National Broadband Network (NBN) Industry Dispute Adviser in Australia and also co chaired the 2014 National Mediation Conference. In 2015 she won the Deans award for Research Impact in relation to her work on behavioural change in the justice sector.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Technology Sydney
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws, University of New South Wales
  • Master of Laws, University of Technology Sydney


  • resolution

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Professor of Law University of Newcastle
Newcastle Law School


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

Book (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 The Responsive Judge International Perspectives, Springer, Singapore, 339 (2018)
2018 The Responsive Judge International Perspectives, Springer, Singapore, 339 (2018)
2016 Sourdin T, Alternative Dispute Resolution (2016)
2013 Sourdin T, Zariski A, The Multi-tasking Judge Comparative Judicial Dispute Resolution, 270 (2013)
2012 Sourdin TM, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Law Book Co, Australia (2012)
2012 Sourdin TM, Exploring Civil Pre Action Requirements: Resolving Disputes Outside Courts, Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, Melbourne, 241 (2012) [A1]
2012 Sourdin T, Australasian Dispute Resolution Service, Thomson Reuters, Australia (2012)
2008 Sourdin T, Alternative Dispute Resolution, 490 (2008)
2005 Sourdin T, Alternative Dispute Resolution, 363 (2005)
2002 Sourdin T, Alternative Dispute Resolution, 295 (2002)
Show 7 more books

Chapter (20 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Sourdin TM, Zariski A, 'What is Responsive Judging?', The Responsive Judge, Springer, Singapore 1-38 (2018) [B1]
2018 Sourdin TM, Cornes R, 'Do Judges Need to be human? The implications of Technology for Responsive Judging', The Responsive Judge, Springer, Singapore 87-119 (2018) [B1]
2018 Sourdin TM, Cornes R, 'Do Judges Need to be human? The implications of Technology for Responsive Judging', The Responsive Judge, Springer, Singapore 87-119 (2018) [B1]
2016 sourdin T, 'A Broader View of Justice?', Resolving Civil Disputes, LexisNexis Australia, Chatswood, NSW 19-36 (2016) [B1]
2015 Sourdin TM, 'When to step away and when to step up', So You Want to Be a Leader, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne 131-145 (2015) [B1]
2015 Sourdin TM, 'Reforming civil procedure and alternative dispute resolution', Ten Years of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW): A Decade of Insights and Guide to Future Litigation, Lawbook Co, Pyrmont, N.S.W. 191-208 (2015) [B1]
2013 Sourdin TM, 'A broader view of justice?', The Future of Dispute Resolution, LexisNexis/Butterworths, Australia 155-166 (2013)
2013 Sourdin TM, 'Introduction', The multi-tasking judge: Comparative judicial dispute resolution, Thomson Reuters, Australia 1-20 (2013) [B1]
2013 Sourdin TM, 'Facilitative judging: Science sense and sensibility', The multi-tasking judge: Comparative judicial dispute resolution, Thomson Reuters, Pyrmont, N.S.W. 231-247 (2013) [B1]
2013 Sourdin TM, Alexander N, 'Developments in ADR', Australian Courts: Serving democracy and its publics, Australian Institute of Judicial Administration, Melbourne 119-147 (2013) [B1]
2013 Sourdin TM, Burstyner N, 'Australia's civil justice system: developing a multi-option response', Trends in State Courts 2013: 25th Anniversary Edition, National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, VA 78-84 (2013) [B1]
2013 Sourdin TM, Zariski A, 'Judicial dispute resolution - A global approach', Global Legal issues 2012, Korea Legislation Research Institute, Seoul, Korea 191-206 (2013)
2011 Sourdin TM, Liyange C, 'The Promise and reality of online dispute resolution in Australia', Online dispute resolution: Theory and practice: a treatise on technology and dispute resolution, Eleven Publishing, Egypt (2011) [B1]
2008 Sourdin TM, 'Sustainable outcomes through effective conflict management', Seeking environmental justice: probing the boundaries, Rodopi Publishing, New York (2008)
2007 Sourdin TM, 'Using facilitative processes to achieve sustainable environmental outcomes', Probing the boundaries of environmental justice and global citizenship, Interdisciplinary Press, Online (2007)
2006 Sourdin TM, 'Mediation in Australia: Impacts on litigation', Global Trends in Mediation, Kluwer Law International, UK (2006)
2005 Sourdin TM, 'Matching disputes to dispute resolution processes: The Australian context', Alternative dispute resolution: What it is and how it works, Universal Law, Delhi (2005)
2003 Sourdin TM, 'Mediation in Australia: The decline of litigation', Global trends in mediation, Centrale fur Mediation, Germany (2003)
2002 Sourdin TM, 'Mediation in Australia', The convergence of legal systems in the 21st century, University of Queensland, Australia (2002)
2001 Sourdin TM, 'Case management', Laws of Australia, Thomson Reuters, Australia (2001)
Show 17 more chapters

Journal article (73 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Sourdin TM, Burstyner N, Liyange C, Bahadorreza O, Zeleznikow J, 'Using Technology to Discover More About the Justice System', Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal, 44 1-32 (2018) [C1]
2018 Sourdin TM, Allen B, 'The Mediating Brain', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 58-68 (2018) [C1]
2017 Brennan C, Sourdin T, Williams J, Burstyner N, Gill C, 'Consumer vulnerability and complaint handling: Challenges, opportunities and dispute system design', International Journal of Consumer Studies, 41 638-646 (2017) [C1]

© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Effectively designed complaint handling systems play a key role in enabling vulnerable consumers to complain and obtain redress. This article ex... [more]

© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Effectively designed complaint handling systems play a key role in enabling vulnerable consumers to complain and obtain redress. This article examines current research into consumer vulnerability, highlighting its multidimensional and expansive nature. Contemporary understandings of consumer vulnerability recognize that the interaction between a wide range of market and consumer characteristics can combine to place any individual at risk of vulnerability. While this broad definition of consumer vulnerability reflects the complex reality of consumers¿ experiences, it poses a key challenge for designers of complaint handling systems: how can they identify and respond to an issue which can potentially affect everyone? Drawing on current research and practice in the United Kingdom and Australia, the article analyses the impact of consumer vulnerability on third party dispute resolution schemes and considers the role these complaint handling organizations can play in supporting their complainants. Third party complaint handling organizations, including a range of Alternative Dispute Resolution services such as ombudsman organizations, can play a key role in increasing access to justice for vulnerable consumer groups and provide specific assistance for individual complainants during the process. It is an opportune time to review whether the needs of consumers at risk of vulnerability are being met within complaint processes and the extent to which third party complaint handlers support those who are most vulnerable to seek redress. Empowering vulnerable consumers to complain presents specific challenges. The article discusses the application of a new model of consumer dispute system design to show how complaint handling organizations can meet the needs of the most vulnerable consumers throughout the process.

DOI 10.1111/ijcs.12377
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2016 Sourdin T, Cornes R, 'Implications for therapeutic judging (TJ) of a psychoanalytical approach to the judicial role ¿ Reflections on Robert Burt's contribution', International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 48 8-14 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.ijlp.2016.06.010
2016 Sourdin TM, Hioe A, 'Mediation and Psychological Priming', The Arbitrator and Mediator, 35 76-90 (2016) [C1]
2016 Burstyner N, Sourdin TM, Liyange C, Ofoghi B, 'Why do some civil cases end up in a full hearing? Formulating litigation and process referral indicia through text analysis', Journal of Judicial Administration, 25 257-295 (2016) [C1]
2015 Sourdin TM, 'Dealing with tax disputes about taxation in a 'fair' way', Journal of Australian Taxation, 17 169-223 (2015) [C1]
2015 Sourdin TM, 'Evaluating alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in disputes about taxation', The Arbitrator and Mediator, 34 19-32 (2015) [C1]
2015 Sourdin TM, 'The role of the courts in the new justice system', Penn State Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation, (2015)
2015 Sourdin TM, 'Justice and technological innovation', Journal of Judicial Administration, 25 96-105 (2015) [C1]
Citations Web of Science - 1
2014 Sourdin TM, Russell S, 'Community model cuts crime', Law Institute Journal, 88 28-28 (2014)
2014 Sourdin TM, Wallace N, 'The dilemmas posed by self-represented litigants: The dark side', Journal of Judicial Administration, 24 61-70 (2014) [C1]
2014 Sourdin TM, 'Using Alternative Dispute Resolution to save time', The Arbitrator and Mediator, 33 61-72 (2014) [C1]
2014 Sourdin TM, 'Good faith participation in mediation: An Australian perspective', ACResolution, Spring 31-34 (2014)
2014 Sourdin TM, 'International dispatch: ADR trends Down Under', Dispute Resolution Magazine, 20 3-3 (2014)
2014 Sourdin TM, 'Why judges should not meet privately with parties in mediation but should be involved in settlement conference work', Journal of Arbitration and Mediation, 4 99-109 (2014)
2014 Sourdin TM, 'Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) principles: From negotiation to mediation', Nagoya University Journal of Law and Politics, 258 179-193 (2014)
2014 Sourdin TM, Burstyner N, 'Justice delayed is justice denied', Victoria University Law and Justice Journal, 4 46-60 (2014) [C1]
2013 Richardson E, Sourdin TM, 'Mind the gap: Making evidence-based decisions about self-represented litigants', Journal of Judicial Administration, 22 191-206 (2013) [C1]
2013 Sourdin TM, 'Innovation and alternative dispute resolution', The Arbitrator and Mediator, 32 111-126 (2013) [C1]
2013 Sourdin TM, 'Resolving disputes without courts?', The Arbitrator and Mediator, 32 25-40 (2013) [C1]
2013 Sourdin T, 'Good Faith, Bad Faith? Making an Effort in Dispute Resolution', Victoria University Law and Justice Journal, 2 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.15209/vulj.v2i1.10
2013 Sourdin TM, 'The role of the court in alternative dispute resolution', Asian Journal on Mediation, 80-96 (2013)
2013 Sourdin TM, Burstyner N, 'Cost and time hurdles in civil litigation: exploring the impact of pre-action requirements', Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice, 2 66-84 (2013) [C1]
2013 Sourdin T, 'The Timeliness Project: Background Report (2013)
2012 Sourdin TM, 'Not teaching ADR in law schools? Implications for law students, clients and the ADR field', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 23 148-156 (2012) [C1]
Citations Web of Science - 5
2012 Sourdin TM, 'Teaching Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Law Schools: Developing the law curriculum to meet the needs of the modern legal practitioner', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 23 148-148 (2012)
2012 Sourdin TM, 'Decision-making in ADR: Science, sense and sensibility', The Arbitrator and Mediator, 31 1-14 (2012) [C1]
2012 Sourdin TM, 'Civil dispute resolution obligations: What is reasonable?', University of New South Wales Law Journal, 35 889-913 (2012) [C1]
Citations Web of Science - 3
2012 Richardson E, Sourdin T, Wallace N, 'Self-Represented Litigants: Gathering Useful Information (2012)
2012 Richardson E, Sourdin T, Wallace N, 'Self Represented Litigants: Literature Review (2012)
2011 Sourdin TM, 'Five reasons why judges should conduct settlement conferences', Monash University Law Review, 37 145-170 (2011) [C1]
Citations Web of Science - 6
2011 Sourdin TM, 'Making litigants more agreeable?', Alternative Law Journal, 36 203-203 (2011)
2011 Sourdin TM, 'Thematic issue: Reporting on research from the NADRAC Forum - Introduction', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 22 3-7 (2011)
2011 Ojelabi L, Sourdin TM, 'Using a values-based approach in mediation', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 22 258-266 (2011) [C1]
Citations Web of Science - 3
2010 Sourdin TM, 'Poor quality mediation - A system failure', ADR Bulletin, 11 (2010)
2010 Sourdin TM, 'Conflict is obligations to try to settle', Law Society Journal, 48 71-73 (2010)
2010 Sourdin TM, 'Making an attempt to resolve disputes before using courts? We all have obligations', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 21 225-233 (2010)
Citations Web of Science - 7
2009 Sourdin TM, 'Mediation styles and their impact: Lessons from the Supreme and County Courts of Victoria research project', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 20 142-152 (2009)
Citations Web of Science - 8
2009 Sourdin TM, Balvin N, 'Mediation in the Supreme and County Courts of Victoria: A summary of the results', ADR Bulletin, 11 (2009)
2009 Sourdin TM, 'From accreditation to quality mediation practice - next steps?', ADR Bulletin, 11 (2009)
2009 Sourdin T, 'Mediation in the Supreme and County Courts of Victoria (2009)
2008 Sourdin TM, Thorpe L, 'Consumer perceptions of dispute resolution processes', Competition and Consumer Law Journal, 15 (2008)
2008 Sourdin TM, Gee T, 'Mediation training: Family dispute resolution - series 1/ Basic Family Mediation Skill', Journal of Family Studies, 14 131-133 (2008)
2008 Sourdin TM, 'Mediating high conflict and family violence - series 2 and 3 review', Journal of Family Studies, 14 (2008)
2008 Sourdin TM, Thorpe L, 'How do financial services consumers access complaints and dispute resolution processes?', Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 19 25-41 (2008)
Citations Web of Science - 1
2008 Sourdin TM, 'Avoiding the credentialing wars: Mediator accreditation in Australia', The Arbitrator and Mediator, 27 (2008)
2008 Sourdin TM, 'Mediator credentialing', ACR Workplace Newsletter, (2008)
2008 Sourdin T, 'Conflict Resolution e-Journal Number 1 (June 2007) (2008)
2008 Sourdin T, Balvin N, 'Interim Evaluation of Dispute Settlement Centre Victoria Projects: The Neighbourhood Justice Centre Project ¿ The Corio/Norlane Community Mediation Project (2008)
2007 Sourdin TM, 'An alternative for who? Access to ADR processes', ADR Bulletin, 10 26-27 (2007)
2007 Sourdin T, 'Consumer Experience on Complaints Handling and Dispute Resolution - A Research Study Undertaken in Victoria, Australia (2007)
2007 Sourdin T, 'Accrediting Mediators - The New National Mediation Accreditation Scheme (Australia) (2007)
2006 Sourdin TM, 'DYD "Dialogues with Separated Parents: Child Focused Dispute Resolution (McIntosh & Moloney, 2006) and Companion Handbook "Creating Child Focused Dialogues with Separated Parents: Theoretical and Clinical Underpinnings of Child Focused Dispute Resolution" (Moloney & McIntosh, 2006)', Journal of Family Studies, 12 284-284 (2006)
2006 Sourdin TM, 'ADR and technologically supported negotiation: AI', The Arbitrator and Mediator, 25 33-33 (2006)
2005 Hall MJ, Calabro D, Sourdin TM, Stranieri A, Zeleznikow J, 'Supporting discretionary decision-making with information technology: A case study in the criminal sentencing jurisdiction', University of Ottawa Law and Technology Journal, 2 1-1 (2005)
2005 Sourdin TM, 'Confessions, confessions...mediator obligations when someone 'fesses up'', ADR Bulletin, 7 96-96 (2005)
2004 Sourdin TM, 'Developing the law curriculum to meet the needs of the 21st century practitioner', Law Institute Journal, 65-67 (2004)
2004 Sourdin TM, 'Facilitative judging', Law in Context, 22 64-64 (2004)
2003 Sourdin TM, 'ADR in the Australian Court and Tribunal Systems', ADR Bulletin, 6 55-55 (2003)
2002 Sourdin TM, 'Dispute resolution in business', National Accountant, (2002)
2002 Sourdin TM, 'A glass half full or a glass half empty? A contribution to the issues raised by David Bryson', ADR Bulletin, 5 1-1 (2002)
2001 Sourdin TM, 'Legislative referral to ADR', ADR Journal, (2001)
2001 Sourdin TM, 'When is mediation appropriate?', ADR Journal, (2001)
2001 Sourdin TM, 'ADR standards: Recent developments', Mediation News, 5-5 (2001)
2001 Sourdin TM, 'New standards for ADR', Mediation News, (2001)
2000 Sourdin TM, 'Evaluating ADR', ADR Bulletin, (2000)
2000 Sourdin TM, 'Conciliation processes', LEADR Brief, (2000)
2000 Sourdin TM, 'Business dispute resolution new rules', The Arbitrator, (2000)
1997 Sourdin TM, 'Educating judges about ADR', Journal of Judicial Administration, (1997)
1997 Sourdin TM, 'Review of the adversarial system of litigation', LEADR Brief, 7 (1997)
1997 Sourdin TM, 'Law and the cultural shift. Borrowing dispute resolution process ideas from Europe? Forget it. What about Asia and the States', Reform, (1997)
1996 Sourdin TM, 'Judicial management and alternative dispute resolution trends', Australian Bar Review, 14 185-185 (1996)
Show 70 more journal articles

Review (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Sourdin T, Li B, 'Editorial (2018) [C1]
Co-authors Bin Li

Conference (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Carlson JL, Armstrong C, Sourdin T, Watts M, Dean A, 'Demontrating Return on Investment of Effective Complaint Management: A Research Synthesis and Agenda for Future Research. Proceedings of 2017 Academy of Marketing Conference.', Hull, England (2017)
Co-authors Jamie Carlson, Alison Dean, Martin Watts
2007 Vincent A, Sourdin T, Zeleznikow J, 'Criminal sentencing, intuition and decision support', ADVANCES AND INNOVATIONS IN SYSTEMS, COMPUTING SCIENCES AND SOFTWARE ENGINEERING, Bridgeport, CT (2007)
DOI 10.1007/978-1-4020-6264-3_8
Citations Scopus - 1

Other (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Carlson JL, Sourdin T, Armstrong C, Watts M, Dean A, 'Return on Investment of Effective Complaints Management', . Sydney, Australia: Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals Australia (2018)
Co-authors Alison Dean, Jamie Carlson, Martin Watts

Report (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Sourdin T, Shanks A, 'Evaluating Alternative Dispute Resolution in Taxation Disputes -- Final Report' (2015)
2012 Sourdin TM, 'Family Support Program Literature Review, Research into the Family Support Program: Family Law Services', Monash University (2012)

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 6
Total funding $150,735

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 Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1700771
Type Of Funding C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112

20171 grants / $29,712

Restorative justice initiatives in the Hunter and Newcastle’s proclamation as a Restorative City$29,712

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 C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112

20163 grants / $76,659

Complaints Handling: Return on Investment$36,825

Funding body: SOCAP Australia (Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals Australia)

Funding body SOCAP Australia (Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals Australia)
Project Team Professor Tania Sourdin, Emeritus Professor Martin Watts, Associate Professor Jamie Carlson, Emeritus Professor Alison Dean
Scheme Research Project
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1601101
Type Of Funding C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112

Consultation and development of a regulatory framework for pre injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE)$25,000

Funding body: State Insurance Regulatory Authority

Funding body State Insurance Regulatory Authority
Project Team Professor Tania Sourdin
Scheme Research Project
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1601113
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS

Fast track negotiation skills for right to information and information privacy with the OIC$14,834

Funding body: Office of the Information Commissioner (QLD)

Funding body Office of the Information Commissioner (QLD)
Project Team Professor Tania Sourdin
Scheme Research Project
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1601119
Type Of Funding C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose
Category 2210

20151 grants / $36,364

Evaluation of Pre Action Processes in South Australia$36,364

Funding body: Law Foundation of SA Incorporated

Funding body Law Foundation of SA Incorporated
Project Team Professor Tania Sourdin
Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1601022
Type Of Funding C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2018 PhD New Technologies and ADR: An Investigation into the Changing Landscape of Civil Law in New South Wales PhD (Law), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2017 PhD An Investigation into Lawyer Attitudes to Mediation Conducted in Connection with Court Proceedings PhD (Law), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2016 PhD What Makes a Good Mediator: Models, Approaches, Skills, Styles and Personal Qualities PhD (Law), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2015 PhD Breaking Free from the Status Quo - the Way Forward for Fiduciary Duties in Australia PhD (Law), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2012 PhD The legal and institutional framework for the enforcement of online consumer arbitration awards: evidence from Australia and Sri Lanka Law, La Trobe University Co-Supervisor

Research Projects

Newcastle as a Restorative City 2016 -

To transform a city into a restorative city where restorative practices are implemented broadly to restore damaged relationships and manage social and community challenges across all sectors of the city involves a change in attitudes at multiple levels (personal, institutional, city) to support respectful dialogue and a preference for social inclusion and restoration where individual or institutional harm has occurred to individuals in the community. This often goes hand in hand with the development of restorative justice programs and restorative practices implemented in schools and other community organisations. Although other cities, including Canberra, have been pursuing similar goals and present important learning opportunities in relation to their various strategies, it is clear that restorative cities cannot be transplanted. Such cities must be built and grow in the context of their particular demography, citizenry, strengths and challenges.

Newcastle is the seventh largest city in Australia, with a population of over 160,000 people. Although it is experiencing urban renewal, there are questions about whether social and cultural renewal will co-occur with the much-needed economic renewal of the city. There are various ‘restorative-type’ practices occurring in different organisations and sectors of the city but there is limited sharing of experiences and strategies. We will consider the synergies existing and developing in Newcastle to progress the vision of a restorative city together with the inevitable barriers and scepticism associated with such significant social and cultural change. Even in the face of many significant hurdles to be overcome, we are optimistic that the project will gather momentum and incrementally move towards the ultimate vision of a restorative city. 

The research team is comprised of:

  1. Dr Nicola Ross – Senior Lecturer, Newcastle Law School. Well respected and high-profile researcher in relation to child protection and issues affecting family cohesion and welfare in Australia and international contexts. She has published widely on the legal constructs of children and their voices in autonomous decision-making.
  2. Dr John Anderson – Associate Professor, Newcastle Law School. Leading and experienced criminal law and justice scholar who principally researches and publishes in the areas of sentencing and evidence. His scholarship has an overarching concern with equity and fairness in the criminal justice system. He has effectively collaborated with various scholars and practitioners both in Australia and internationally.

This project has so far resulted in two conference presentations, one peer review journal article and will be hosting an international symposium over two days in June 2018.


A Restorative City for New South Wales: Could Newcastle be a Model?

Funding body: Nurturing Evolutionary Development Inc (NED Foundation)

Funding body Nurturing Evolutionary Development Inc (NED Foundation)

A restorative city is one in which restorative justice and restorative practices are implemented widely throughout the life of the city. Restorative justice has traditionally been associated with criminal justice systems, where techniques such as victim-offender mediations, restorative justice conferencing and re-integrative shaming are employed. These techniques bring the offender, victim, community members and other interested parties together to discuss the offending, and propose ways forward which heal the victim and the community, while reintegrating the offender into the community. Restorative cities go further by introducing restorative practices throughout the community: in education, in social services, in law enforcement, and in workplaces. Mediations, conferences and relationship-building exercises are used to encourage the resolution of disputes and disagreements through communication, to address inappropriate behaviour, and to promote a caring and inclusive culture.

Restorative cities have many positive impacts in the community. The introduction of restorative justice into criminal systems has resulted in less offending, less recidivism and greater participant satisfaction with the process by all parties including those offended against. In schools, students learn how to build relationships, solve disputes and understand other points of view. This leads to higher attendance, improved educational outcomes and improved school culture. Workplaces that engage with restorative practices are more productive. Restorative cities are safer, happier, hopeful places where community spirit is restored and the social fabric of the city transformed.

Mary Porter AM recently moved to the Newcastle area. Mary is a former member of the ACT Legislative Assembly, who is committed to community development. She played a pivotal role in the movement to transform Canberra into a Restorative City. Mary had a similar vision for the transformation of Newcastle and approached Newcastle Law School to partner with her to undertake this. Newcastle Law School’s newly appointed Dean, Professor Sourdin is an international expert in dispute resolution. Associate Professor John Anderson, who teaches evidence and criminal law, and Dr Nicola Ross, who teaches family and child law, have long-standing interests in restorative justice and practices, as does Shaun McCarthy, Director of the University of Newcastle Legal Centre.

Newcastle has pockets of disadvantage in relation to unemployment, income, education, housing, child welfare, and criminal justice. It has recently faced challenges due to the erosion of traditional industry & employment opportunities. While plans are underway for urban renewal in the city’s CBD, Newcastle is also in need of social, cultural and economic renewal. A significant contribution to this broad renewal could be made through Newcastle becoming a restorative city.

The support of key stakeholders is required to achieve the transformation of Newcastle into a restorative city. In other restorative cities, these stakeholders include community members from the criminal justice system, government, education, health, business, and community welfare. Assembling a task force to carry the project forward is the first step. Co-ordination with key stakeholders is required to introduce restorative practices throughout the community.

Other restorative cities have commenced by introducing restorative practices into organisations that work with children and young people, such as schools, child and community welfare organisations, and the youth justice system. This strategy aims to ensure all children become experts in restorative practices, to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders are able to participate in strong, inclusive communities, and are ready to face the many challenges undoubtedly ahead.

Scheme Community Project Grant

Newcastle as a Restorative City

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


Anderson JL, Ross N, 'A Restorative City for New South Wales - Could Newcastle be a Model?', Journal of Judicial Administration, 27 74-91 (2018) [C1]


Name Organisation
Doctor Nicola Mary Ross University of Newcastle
Professor Tania Michelle Sourdin University of Newcastle



Transforming Newcastle into a restorative city

May 31, 2018

The University of Newcastle is leading the quest to transform Newcastle into a restorative city, in a collaborative effort to build healthy, harmonious communities.

Putting justice into practice for National Law Week

May 15, 2018

To mark National Law Week, the University of Newcastle in partnership with The Lock Up will bring together artists, writers, lawyers, academics, students, families of victims, and those interested in areas of social justice for an Art & Law Symposium.

UON research reveals benefits of effective complaints handling

March 15, 2018

University of Newcastle research has revealed that every dollar invested in complaints handling has potential returns of investment of up to $10 for a business.

Professor Tania Sourdin


Head of School & Dean
Newcastle Law School
Faculty of Business and Law

Contact Details

Phone (02) 492 15839


Room X-531
Building NeW Space
Location City Campus