The Obligations Group at Melbourne Law School supports research on the law of contract, torts, unjust enrichment, equity and trusts, remedies and private law theory. The group provides a forum for discussion of these topics and interaction between academics, legal practitioners and students on issues of current interest.
Our members teach a number of subjects in the private law specialisation in the Law School.Study Options
Professor Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson joined Melbourne Law School in 1999 and was appointed to a chair in 2006. His teaching and research interests lie in the law and theory of obligations, particularly the law of contract, negligence and equitable estoppel. He has written numerous papers on those topics and is co-author of Principles of Contract Law (5th ed, 2016) and Contract: Cases and Materials (13th ed, 2016). He has edited several collections of essays on the law of obligations and private law theory, the most recent of which is Form and Substance in the Law of Obligations (Hart Publishing, 2019). His research has been cited and discussed by various courts, including the House of Lords and the English Court of Appeal. He has previously been Walter S Owen Visiting Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia, Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore and Conjoint Professor at Lund University in Sweden. He convenes the biennial Obligations Conference series. The tenth conference in that series will be held in 2020 at Harvard Law School and will address the theme 'Private Law Inside and Out'.
Professor Katy Barnett
Katy Barnett joined the Melbourne Law School in 2006 as a sessional lecturer and was appointed on a permanent basis in 2010.
Katy 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.
Professor Emeritus Michael Bryan
Michael Bryan was educated at Oxford University and received his PhD degree from University College, London. Before his appointment to the University of Melbourne in 1991 he taught law at Oriel College, Oxford, and at Queen Mary College, University of London. He is an editor of Ford & Lee, The Law of Trusts (Thomson). He has also co-authored (with Vicki Vann) Equity and Trusts in Australia (Cambridge 2012) and co-edited (with Elise Bant) Principles of Proprietary Remedies (Thomson 2013). Michael has also written extensively on equity, trusts and restitution in refereed journals, and given presentations at academic, judicial and other conferences and seminars.
Associate Professor Tatiana Cutts
Tatiana joined MLS from the London School of Economics in 2020. Her research spans law and technology, private law and legal theory. She has conducted extensive public-facing work on blockchain technology and cryptoassets, and is currently writing a book ("Artificial Justice") on the relationship between algorithmic and human decision-making in matters of justice.
Professor Eric Descheemaeker
Eric Descheemaeker joined Melbourne Law School as a Professor in 2017, having previously been Reader in European Private Law at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. Originally from France, he studied law at Paris-I Panthéon-Sorbonne University (bachelor’s and master’s degrees), the London School of Economics (LL.M.) and the University of Oxford (D.Phil.), where he was also a Fellow of St Catherine’s College for five years. His doctoral dissertation was published as The Division of Wrongs: A Historical Comparative Study (OUP 2009).
Professor Matthew Harding
Matthew Harding joined the Law School as a lecturer in 2005.
Matthew graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1998 with first class honours degrees in law and in arts. He also holds a Bachelor of Civil Law degree (with distinction) and a D.Phil from the University of Oxford. During his time as a postgraduate student in Oxford, Matthew held Chevening and Clarendon Fund Scholarships and, during 2002–3, a research fellowship funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. His D.Phil thesis was on the moral foundations of fiduciary law. Prior to undertaking postgraduate study, Matthew also worked as a solicitor for Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks (now Allens) in Melbourne.
Mr Wayne Jocic
Wayne Jocic joined Melbourne Law School as a full-time academic in 2014, after teaching part-time since 2005. He is also a part-time consultant in the construction group at Corrs Chambers Westgarth. His teaching and research interests are in construction law, contract and private law generally. Wayne previously worked for a decade at Clayton Utz, and advised on major construction projects in every state.
Associate Professor Rosemary Langford
Dr Rosemary Teele Langford is an Associate Professor with the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, where she teaches a broad range of subjects including Corporations Law, Principles of Business Law and Corporate Governance and Directors’ Duties. She has a first class honours degree in Law (as well as a Bachelor of Arts majoring in French and German) from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from Monash University. Prior to entering academia Rosemary practised with Allens Arthur Robinson (now Allens Linklaters). Rosemary edits the Directors' Duties section of the Company & Securities Law Journal and is on the advisory board of the SSRN eJournal, Fiduciary Law. She is an active member of the Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia and the Not for Profit Law Committee of the Law Council of Australia. Rosemary has published and presented nationally and internationally on the topic of directors’ duties.
Associate Professor Ying Liew
Ying Liew teaches and researches in private law, with a particular focus on the law of trusts, contracts, and remedies. He has published in leading international journals, including the Law Quarterly Review, Cambridge Law Journal, Modern Law Review, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, and Journal of Equity, and in edited collections. He has presented at various conferences in Australia, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Professor Jeannie Paterson
Jeannie Marie Paterson specialises in the areas of contracts, consumer rights and consumer credit law, as well as the role of new technologies in these fields.
Jeannie’s research covers three inter-related themes:
- Support for consumers experiencing hardship and marginalisation,
- The ethics and regulation of AI and digital technologies in consumer markets, and
- Regulatory design for protecting consumer rights and promoting safe and trustworthy technology.
Associate Professor Lisa Sarmas
Lisa is Director, JD Program at Melbourne Law School. She teaches Equity and Trusts and Legal Method and Reasoning in The Melbourne JD 2021.
Professor Jason Varuhas
Dr Jason N E Varuhas (BA LLB (Hons) VUW, LLM UCL, PhD Cambridge) is a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne, and Co-Director of Studies for the Government Law and Public and International Law programmes on the Melbourne Law Masters. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Public Law at the University of Cambridge. Professor Varuhas has previously held the positions of Junior Research Fellow at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Associate Professor at Melbourne Law School, and has been a Fox International Fellow at Yale University, Watts Visiting Fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, and Bye-Fellow of Downing College and Christ’s College, Cambridge.
Professor Graeme Austin
Graeme Austin joined the Melbourne Law School in July 2011 after serving for nearly ten years a tenured professor at the University of Arizona, most recently as the J Byron McCormick Professor of Law. He has held academic positions at Auckland University and Victoria University.
He holds an LLM and JSD from Columbia Law School, with first degrees (LLB, LLM, BA(Hons)) from Victoria University of Wellington. A member of the New Zeland Bar, he holds a current practising certificate as a Barrister Sole. Between 1999–2001, he was a senior solicitor at the Auckland office of Chapman Tripp.
Dr Matthew Bell
Matthew Bell is a Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of Studies for Construction Law at Melbourne Law School. He joined the Law School in 2005 after several years' experience as a construction lawyer with Clayton Utz in Melbourne and Clifford Chance in London. Matthew is the author of many publications in the field, including the texts Construction Law in Australia and Understanding Australian Construction Contracts (with Ian Bailey), and his scholarship and teaching has been recognised in several awards. Matthew is Professional Support Lawyer to Construction and Major Projects at Clayton Utz on a part-time basis and was founding Chair of the Academic Subcommittee of the Society of Construction Law Australia. In 2019, he was awarded a PhD by King's College London for his research into residential construction regulation through the Centre of Construction Law.
Associate Professor Alysia Blackham
Alysia Blackham is an Associate Professor and Discovery Early Career Researcher at Melbourne Law School. Her research focuses on the intersection of employment law, equality law and public law, using empirical evidence to cast new light on legal problems. Alysia’s recent work concentrates on the consequences of demographic ageing for workplaces. A monograph based on Alysia’s PhD thesis, entitled Extending Working Life for Older Workers: Age Discrimination Law, Policy and Practice, was published by Hart in 2016, and was awarded second prize in the UK Society of Legal Scholars’ Peter Birks Prizes for Outstanding Legal Scholarship in 2017
Mr Arlen Duke
Arlen Duke joined the Law School as a full-time lecturer in February 2005. Arlen graduated from the University of Melbourne with an LLB (First Class Honours) and a BComm. He has also completed a LLM by coursework at the University of Melbourne (with first class honours awarded in all eight subjects).
Arlen primarily researches in the area of competition law His interest in competition law has led to him publishing articles examining the relevance of efficiencies to merger analysis, the regulation of unilateral anti-competitive conduct, anti-competitive signalling and the difficulties associated with establishing the existence of anti-competitive arrangements by inference, the extraterritorial reach of Australia's competition laws as well as a competition analysis of the music and banking industries. More recently, Arlen has been looking at competition issues raised by parallel import restrictions and his work in this area will be published in forthcoming editions of the Melbourne University Law Review and the Competition and Consumer Law Journal. Arlen (with Dr Rhonda Smith) has also written an article arguing for the simpification of the treatment of agreements under Australia's competition law (forthcoming Competition and Consumer Law Journal) and will make a submission to the root-and-branch review on this issue.
Associate Professor Andrew Godwin
Andrew Godwin holds a number of senior positions at Melbourne Law School: Associate Professor, Director of Transactional Law, Director of the Graduate Program in Banking and Finance Law, and Associate Director of the Asian Law Centre.
Andrew has been involved in legal practice for over 20 years, 10 of which were spent in Shanghai where he was a partner and chief representative of the international law firm, Linklaters. During his time in practice, Andrew acted for commercial and investment banks in a wide range of finance transactions and was also actively involved with financial institutions and multinational companies in the area of cross-border merger and acquisition projects.
Dr Linda Haller
Linda Haller joined Melbourne Law School in 2006. She teaches Legal Ethics and Legal Method and Reasoning. Dr Haller has published and spoken widely in Australia and overseas in relation to the professional discipline and regulation of lawyers. She is a board member and Treasurer of the International Association of Legal Ethics. She was Chief Examiner of the Victorian Bar exam from its inception until 2013. Prior to her academic career, Dr Haller practised as a lawyer in Victoria and Queensland. Her current research includes an examination of advocates' immunity.
Dr Wendy Ng
Dr Wendy Ng is a Senior Lecturer at Melbourne Law School, where she is the Deputy Director of the Competition Law and Economics Network and an Associate Director (China) of the Asian Law Centre. She completed her undergraduate studies (LLB (hons)/BCom) and PhD at the University of Melbourne. Her PhD was awarded the University of Melbourne’s Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in the PhD thesis and the Melbourne Law School Harold Luntz Graduate Research Prize for Best PhD Thesis. Wendy also has a LLM from Columbia University.
Professor Ian Ramsay
Ian Ramsay is the Harold Ford Professor of Commercial Law and Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor. He is also Director of the Law School's Centre for Corporate Law. Ian practised law in New York and Sydney and is a member of the Corporations Law Committee of the Law Council of Australia. Former positions he has held include Head of the Federal Government inquiry on auditor independence, chair of the independent panel to review the financial system’s external dispute resolution and complaints framework, member of the Takeovers Panel, member of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's External Advisory Panel, member of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Enforcement Review Taskforce, member of the Australian Government's Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee, member of the Audit Quality Review Board, member of the Australian Government's Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board, member of the Law Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and member of the International Federation of Accountants taskforce on rebuilding confidence in financial reporting.
Dr Julian Sempill
Dr Julian A Sempill, DPhil (Oxford), LLB (Hons), BA (Melbourne), teaches Corporations Law, Trusts, Legal Ethics, Disputes & Ethics, Legal Method & Reasoning, Legal Theory, Employment Law and also an elective subject, The Rule of Law in Theory & Practice.
He is completing a book entitled “Power & the Law” which is to be published by Cambridge University Press (United Kingdom).
Misleading Silence - Obligations Group Lecture (via Zoom)
Presented on 20 May 2020 by Dr Elise Bant, Professor of Private Law and Commercial Regulation, UWA Law School, University of Western Australia and Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne and Dr Jeannie Paterson, Professor of Consumer Law, Regulation and New Technology, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne.
The Obligations Reading Group meets monthly at Melbourne Law School to discuss recent publications and judgments in the fields of contract law, torts, unjust enrichment, equity and trusts, remedies and private law theory. Members of the group include academics, practitioners and students.
To join the Obligations Reading Group mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our members teach a number of subjects in the private law specialisation in the Law School.
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