Daniel Goldsworthy

PhD Candidate

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Daniel is an academic with Deakin Law School. He is admitted as an Australian Lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia.

His doctoral research focuses on legal theory; namely, what assumptions prefigure in our evaluations about the significant features of law as a social phenomenon. His research seeks to clarify the (often intuitive) evaluations we make when we consider the question ‘what is law?’, and the methodologies and (often implicit) assumptions we employ to get at that critical question.

Daniel has published book chapters and journal articles in areas including constitutional law and theory, public international law, animal welfare law and legal education. He holds, or has held, numerous board and chair appointments including in international environmental not-for-profit organisations, on university academic boards and appeals committees, and for sports tribunals.

Daniel is currently a General Assembly Member of Greenpeace Australia Pacific and is the co-founder of the Sentient Animal Law Foundation, a law reform charity.

Thesis Title

Evaluation in Legal Methodology and Jurisprudence

Thesis Summary

In order to theorise about law, a theorist needs to select features or characteristics of law which they evaluate as significant about the social practice. How this evaluation is carried out is a critical methodological consideration.  This thesis examines claims about the possibility and scope of evaluating law’s significant features in a morally-neutral way and, in light of key challenges, will seek to shed light on how theorists can and ought to make such evaluations. Moreover, it will explore whether certain interdisciplinary insights about how human beings evaluate and theorise - and the epistemological constraints that attend these processes - might clarify important evaluative moves necessarily required in constructing theories of law.


  • Legal Theory
  • Jurisprudence
  • Administrative/Public Law
  • Constitutional Law