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Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake is an internationally recognised legal academic in the fields of human rights, disability rights, and gender justice. She has published widely in these areas, including her recent books, Restoring Voice to People (Cambridge University Press 2017) and Legal Capacity and Gender (Springer 2020).
She has also led several large scale research projects as well as law and policy reform initiatives. For example, she was a Chief Investigator on the Unfitness to Plead Project, funded by the Australian Government, which applied a human rights framework to investigate the indefinite detention of people with cognitive disability after being found 'unfit to plead'. She has also received several grants for the development of the international Disability Human Rights Research Network (DHRRN), which she founded in 2015 and spans Europe, India, USA, and Australia.
She has been a leader in interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial research development. From 2014-2017, she was the Academic Convenor of the Hallmark Disability Research Initiative (DRI) across all faculties of the University of Melbourne. She is also currently an Establishment Committee Member of the Melbourne Disability Institute, which facilitates the development of disability research across Australia.
Dr Arstein-Kerslake is also committed to bringing research into the classroom and engaging students with community, industry, and government sectors. She developed, and leads, the Disability Human Rights Clinic (DHRC) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Disability Benefits Clinic at Melbourne Law School.
Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, she held a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) at (NUIG). During her fellowship, her work focused on the right to equal recognition before the law and she travelled across Europe, USA, Asia, and Australia to engage with governments, international bodies, communities, and academics to better understand violations of the right and explore solutions. The results are published in her 2017 book.
Dr Arstein-Kerslake has also participated widely in consultation with governments and other bodies, including: World Health Organisation (WHO), United Kingdom Ministry of Justice, Irish Ministry of Justice, Amnesty Ireland, Interights, and Mental Disability Advocacy Center, among others. Notably, she provided support to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on their general comment on the right to equal recognition before the law.
She holds a PhD in Law from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), a JD from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, and a BA in Sociology from San Diego State University (SDSU).
The Melbourne JD
Other School and University Responsibilities
- Establishment Committee Member, Melbourne Disability Institute (MDI)
- Executive Committee Member, Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP), National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)
Memberships and Affiliations
- Co-Founder, Disability Human Rights Research Network (DHRRN)
- Co-Founder, Australian Disability Access to Justice Consortium
- Member, Scope Australia Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)