Professor Katy Barnett

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Katy Barnett first joined the Melbourne Law School in 2006 as a sessional lecturer and was appointed permanently in 2010. She completed an LLB with Honours and a BA with majors in English, History and Medieval Studies at the University of Melbourne in 1999. In 2010, she completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne on accounts of profit for breach of contract. Prior to commencing postgraduate study, Katy was a Research Assistant to the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Victoria, completed her articles at Freehills, was an Associate to Justice Mandie at the Supreme Court of Victoria, and was a banking litigator at Russell Kennedy. She keeps up her connections to practice as a legal consultant at Sharpe & Abel.

Katy has published widely on Remedies Law and other related aspects of private law, including on disgorgement of profit, the calculation of damages at common law and in statute, the law on penalties, and proprietary remedies for breach of fiduciary duty. She also has interests in comparative law, animal law, behavioural economics and legal history. Her PhD was published in 2012 by Hart Publishing as a monograph entitled 'Accounting for Profit for Breach of Contract: Theory and Practice' and it has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also written Remedies in Australian Private Law (CUP, 2018) with Dr Sirko Harder, now in its second edition. In 2013, she was a visiting scholar at Brasenose College, Oxford as part of the Melbourne-Oxford Faculty Exchange.

Katy is passionate about diversity in academia and is a member of Heterodox Academy. One of her goals is to make academic writing more accessible to the public. She is a foundation editor of the Melbourne Law School blog, Opinions on High, with Professor Jeremy Gans and Dr Brad Jessup. With Professor Gans, she has also written a book on animals and the law, to be published by Black Inc. in February 2022. In 2021, she was elected to the Editorial Advisory Board of Melbourne University Press as the Law member.

In 2016, Katy received the Barbara Falk Award for excellence in teaching. She has a broad teaching range: she taught Property, Equity and Trusts, Trusts, Torts, Contract and Remedies in the LLB and JD degrees. She has also taught Remedies in Commercial Law and Remedies in the Construction Law Context in the Masters program and has also supervised postgraduate theses on remedies, private law, equity and theory.

In her free time, Katy spends time with her family, and enjoys art and calligraphy. She has written a Young Adult fiction novel, 'The Earth Below', which was Highly Commended in the 2016 Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award, and published by Ligature Pty Ltd in 2019. In 2020, her autobiographical piece, ‘I don’t dance like the other cats’ (describing how she has overcome lifelong difficulties with walking associated with cerebral palsy) was the most read story on Right Now.

Languages spoken: English, Japanese

Other Faculty and University Responsibilities

Member of the Melbourne Law School JD Committee

One of the three editors of Opinions on High, the Melbourne Law School High Court Blog

Memberships and Affiliations

Katy Barnett is an associate of the Obligations Group and the Communications and Media Law Centre.

Research Centres