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.

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

Research strengths within our School are primarily clustered around four themes:

International law

Many of our scholars have a global reputation in the field of international law, with their work redefining approaches and advancing knowledge in:

  • Public international law, including state secession and self-determination
  • Environmental law and climate change
  • International trade, cultural heritage, and intellectual property
  • The impact of globalisation on workers and value chains
  • International dispute resolution
  • Human rights, including refugee law, and  criminal law.

Our scholars have been invited to contribute to the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, the European Academics’ Opinion Against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and subcommittees of the International Law Association and UNESCO panels.

Scholars 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


Comparative law / Law and society

Our scholars contribute 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); and Centre for Development Research (University of Bonn, Germany).

They also hold 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 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


Applied law and justice

Our scholars have considerable expertise in applied law, including criminal law, workplace health and safety law, and torts. They also engage in international and domestic research and practice collaborations in these areas.

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.

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)
  • Influential criminal law and justice scholarship in high impact publications (e.g. Criminal Law Journal, UNSW Law Journal, Psychiatry, Psychology & Law).


Justice innovation

Our scholars contribute to justice reform in a range of areas, including:

  • Dispute resolution and court related processes, where the expertise of our scholars is making an international impact across the fields of mediation, arbitration, judicial education, and evidence-based reform.
  • Regulatory and supporting arrangements in 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


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. 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.  Newcastle Law School leads the evidence-based movement in the legal sphere.

Since 2015, the Law School’s evidence-based law Priority Research Initiative (PRI) has reshaped the research approach across Newcastle Law School.

The PRI provides structured framework for researchers to engage in and extend evidence-based research. It allows researchers to expand their collaborations, build research capacity, and coherently organised research activity around four thematic areas:

  • Legal education, equity and scholarship
  • Health, justice and social affairs
  • Human rights and international affairs
  • Business, regulation and compliance

This has enabled a range of projects that had real world impacts.

Our School is committed to undertaking evidence-based research that asks and answers questions with 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.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.