Faculty Research Seminar Series


Melbourne Law School's Faculty Research Seminar Series is a place to present and discuss work-in-progress, promising arguments and early drafts to interested staff, graduate researchers and visitors

In Semester 2, 2019 seminars will be organised and hosted by Scott Stephenson and Olivia Barr.

The seminars are held weekly on Mondays during semester from 1.10pm - 2.00pm in Room 920, Level 9 - Melbourne Law School.

A light refreshment will be provided from 1:00pm by Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Catering.

The presenter will speak for about 30 minutes, followed by time for questions.

  • 5 August 2019 - Dr James Parker with Ms Laura Petersen as discussant

    Title - Eavesdropping

    Eavesdropping is a unique collaboration between Liquid Architecture, Melbourne Law School and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, comprising an exhibition, a public program, series of working groups and touring event which explores the politics of listening through work by leading artists, researchers, writers and activists from Australia and around the world.

    James' paper is now available online.

    Further details about the project and its associated artists, artworks, documentation of lectures, and performances, can be found at the Eavesdropping website.

  • 12 August 2019 -  Professor Katy Barnett with Professor Jenny Morgan as discussant

    Title - Citation as a measure of ‘impact’: female legal academics at a disadvantage?

    Abstract - This paper discusses whether the demand that law academics show citations by a superior court is disadvantageous to women using the citations of academic work by the High Court of Australia from 2015, 2016 and 2016. The preliminary data show that male academics were cited much more often than female academics (even for works written after 1999), and academics who were cited were associated primarily with ‘elite’ universities in Australia, England and the United States. The use of citation by superior courts may not really show ‘impact’ but may rather indicate that the common law displays historical and unconscious biases.

    For those short on time, please focus on Section B.

  • 19 August 2019 - Associate Professor Rebecca Giblin with Professor Megan Richardson as discussant

    Title - Moving towards a new copyright bargain

    Rebecca leads the Author's Interest project as part of an ARC Future Fellowship. It asks: what if we actually took authors' copyright interests seriously? What could that mean, not only for securing creators a fairer share, but also for helping us reclaim some of the culture that's lost under current approaches to copyright?

    The written paper sets out the project's theoretical framework, and in the talk Rebecca will introduce some of the recent empirical work her team and collaborators have been doing to better understand the problem and to test solutions. Rebecca will be formally joining Melbourne Law School on November 4.

    Rebecca's paper is now available. Those pressed for time are encouraged to read p370-386.

  • 26 August 2019 -  Associate Professor Jonathan Liberman with Dr Paula O'Brien as discussant

    Title - The role of law in reducing global cancer inequalities

    Abstract - This paper was recently published as a chapter in the International Agency for Research in Cancer’s 2019 Scientific Publication, Reducing Social Inequalities in Cancer: Evidence and Priorities for Research. The Scientific Publication brought together over 70 international scientists from multiple disciplines to examine the best available international and national evidence on social inequalities in cancer.

    The Scientific Publication highlights the large variations in cancer incidence, survival, and mortality that exist both between countries and between social groups within countries. It demonstrates that social inequalities have a strong impact across the entire cancer continuum, with differences observed in individuals’ exposure to risk factors, likelihood of developing cancer, and access to screening, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care.

    The paper explores the role of law, both domestic and international, across this continuum and these inequalities. It provides examples of the use of law (both good and bad), discusses the breadth and variety of substantive areas of law that are relevant (for example, trade, intellectual property, investment and human rights), and comments on the opportunities and challenges of international collaboration. The chapter – and the Scientific Publication – explore a number of areas that are ripe for further interdisciplinary research, both in Australia and internationally.

  • 2 September 2019 -  No Seminar
  • 9 September 2019 - Associate Professor Rosemary Langford with Professor Matthew Harding as discussant

    Title - Purpose-Based Governance

    Abstract - This paper outlines and critically assesses the benefits of a purpose-based governance model for charitable entities, social enterprise/shared value and for-profit companies. The application of a purpose-based model across a spectrum of different types of entities has a number of advantages. It is demonstrated that purpose is a central feature of governance and regulation of charities and that governance can be refocused around purpose. In the social enterprise context purpose is balanced with profit (to varying degrees). A purpose-based model could also be applied in the corporate sphere, although there are challenges in this respect.

    Rosemary's paper is now available online.

  • 16 September 2019 - Timnah Baker, Thomas McGee and Dr Christoph Sperfeldt with Dr Emma Nyhan as discussant

    Title - Nomadic Peoples and Statelessness

    Abstract - Melbourne Law School’s Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness was established with the objective of undertaking research, teaching and engagement activities aimed at reducing statelessness and protecting the rights of stateless people in Australia, the Asia Pacific region, and as appropriate more broadly. From 2018-2019, the Centre carried out a commissioned research project on ‘Nomadic Peoples and Statelessness’. The purpose of this project was to study the obstacles to citizenship and legal documentation faced by nomadic peoples. The study consists of (1) a desk review, including a review of the existing literature on citizenship and documentation issues faced by nomadic groups, and (2) focused field research of three nomadic groups located in different regions of the world, examining the consequences for persons and communities affected and their access to rights and services. Qualitative field research was carried out among Moken populations in Thailand and Myanmar; Fulbe/Fulani populations in Côte d’Ivoire and Bedouin populations in Lebanon. During this Faculty Seminar we will briefly introduce the Peter McMullin Centre to MLS colleagues and share some preliminary findings from our research.

  • 23 September 2019 - Associate Professor Tarun Khaitan with Dr Zim Nwokora as discussant

    Title - Constitutionalising the Party

    Abstract - In this paper, I will argue that democratic constitutions should seek to achieve three distinct, and sometimes conflicting, objectives in relation to political parties:

    i. Support political parties to function as efficient intermediaries between the state and its people (the ‘party support principle’);

    ii. Ensure a separation of the ruling party and the state (the ‘party-state separation principle’); and

    iii. Discourage political parties from operating as factions (the ‘anti-faction principle’).

    I will further map a range of design possibilities that might aid constitutions in pursuing these objectives.

  • 7 October 2019 - Associate Professor Ann Genovese with Associate Professor Kristen Rundle as discussant

    Title - A Matter of Records: The Federal Court, The National Archives, and 'The National Estate' in the 1970s

    Abstract- Australian scholars of law and history have duties to the places and institutions in which we practice our activities, to show adequately the conduct of the encounters between laws, and the histories of lives that have experienced those laws. This includes being conscious of the diverse range of records and sources that are needed to tell these law stories (the institutional to the unofficial; film to interview; diary to case law; legislation to memoir). It also means being conscious of the diversity of styles and genres of writing (reports, chronicle and fragments as much as articles, reviews and scholarly monographs) that are required to shape those records into narrations and dissertations that make visible the traditions and innovations of ‘an Australian jurisprudence’. For Australian historians of law of the 20th century, the matter of records is something we have perhaps experienced in unique ways to our colleagues whose concerns lie primarily in interpreting earlier periods. For a start, Australian historians of the 20th century not only need to work with documents that are comparative, but must also undertake the basis of the comparison by prioritising the records produced by Australian institutions whose formation and arguments are themselves often the subject of our attention.

    Ann's chapter is now available online.

  • 14 October 2019-  Associate Professor Will Partlett with Associate Professor Ann Genovese as discussant

    Title - Constitutional Historiography

    Abstract - Historiography involves the study of how history is written; it therefore is interested in “all the ways in which men have felt committed to their past and bound to find out what it was and how they are related to it.” A critical lesson of historiography is that history is not always used in an objective way.  Instead, history is frequently used selectively and strategically to advance a favored outcome. It is critical to distinguish these different forms of historical argument from one another.

    Will's paper is now available online.