Ms Paula O'Brien

  • Ms Paula O

    Senior Lecturer
    Co-Director of Studies, Health and Medical Law

+61 3 9035 4963 | obrienpl@unimelb.edu.au | Room 0855

Overview

Paula O'Brien is a Senior Lecturer at Melbourne Law School. She has a BA/ LLB from The University of Melbourne and an LLM from the University of Cambridge, specialising in international law. Paula researches in the area of health law and public interest law. Her current doctoral research is on alcohol regulation, including the labelling, advertising, pricing and licensing of alcohol as a global commodity. She has also recently published on the international right to health and the phenomenon of privatisation, the global shortage of health workers and its implications for the fulfilment of the right to health, and access to health care for migrant workers and their families in Australia.

Paula graduated from Melbourne Law School with a first class honours degree in law and in arts in 1998. She was awarded a full Commonwealth Scholarship to undertake her Master of Laws degree at the University of Cambridge in 2008. She graduated from Cambridge Jesus with a class I degree, specialising in international law. She is currently undertaking her PhD at Melbourne Law School.

After graduating with her LLB, Paula completed her articles and worked as a lawyer at Minter Ellison Melbourne until 2003. Her practice was principally in the area of administrative law. She advised public sector agencies on the regulation of health professionals. From 2003 – 2007, Paula was the Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) in Victoria, a community legal centre which engages in case work, advocacy and education to advance the public interest, in particular the position of marginalised and disadvantaged members of the community. For her work at PILCH, she was awarded the Women Lawyers 'Rising Star' Award in 2007.

Paula researches in the area of health law and public interest law. Her current doctoral research is on alcohol regulation, including the labelling, advertising, pricing and licensing of alcohol as a global commodity. She has also recently published on the international right to health and the phenomenon of privatisation, the global shortage of health workers and its implications for the fulfilment of the right to health, and access to health care for migrant workers and their families in Australia. Paula has maintained her connections with the public interest law movement in Australia and her research in this area has focussed on bringing a social change orientation to public interest lawyering in Australia, in particular through changes to law school curricula. Paula regularly makes submissions, based on her research, to government inquiries and public policy processes. She has recently been appointed to the Victorian Government Expert Advisory Committee on Medicinal Cannabis.

Paula teaches 'Administrative Law' and 'Constitutional Law' in the JD. Paula taught in the LLB and JD at Melbourne Law School as a sessional academic from 2002 – 2006 in the subjects, 'Torts' and 'Legal Method and Reasoning'. She was a lecturer at La Trobe Law School from 2009 – 2010 and taught in the LLB program (Torts, Administrative Law, Principles of Public Law) and the LLM program (Issues in Public Interest Law). Paula has been very involved in the establishment of MLS's new Public Interest Law Program, which will include two clinical subjects, 'Law and Social Change' and 'Street Law'.

Teaching

The Melbourne JD

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