Liam Elphick

PhD Candidate

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Liam Elphick is a PhD Candidate at the Obligations Group and Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law, Melbourne Law School. He researches primarily in the fields of discrimination law and tort law, with a particular focus on how these two systems of law interact with each other. Liam’s interests include LGBTI+ rights, legal pedagogy, sports law, and private law more generally. He is also a member of the Australian Discrimination Law Experts Group.

Liam was previously Associate to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia and a Lecturer at the University of Western Australia Law School, where he is now an Adjunct Research Fellow. He has over six years of experience as a legal educator, and currently teaches Torts at the La Trobe University Law School. Liam’s principal teaching areas are in private law, in particular contract, torts, equity and trusts, for which he has won school, faculty and university teaching awards.

Liam also volunteers as Chair of the Board at Proud 2 Play, a not-for-profit organisation focused on increasing LGBTI+ inclusion in sport, and he convenes the Melbourne Law School Equality and Discrimination Law Reading Group and Obligations Reading Group.

Thesis Title

Developing the Tort-Like Aspects of Discrimination Law: Furthering Substantive Equality in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom

Thesis Summary

This thesis explores the extent to which tort law principles can help give effect to the aims of discrimination law in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a particular focus on addressing covert and complex cases of discrimination. Doctrinal elements of tort law, including causation, scope of liability, the protection of dignitary harms, and the negligent standard of fault, are considered within broader theoretical and normative questions concerning the respective means and ends of tort law and discrimination law.

Various features of discrimination law limit its effectiveness in deterring covert and complex cases of discrimination, including compulsory conciliation, confidentiality requirements, narrowly-constructed jurisprudence, and an individual claims process. This thesis will consider whether a greater focus on the tortious construction of discrimination law can help address these problems and improve the effectiveness, clarity and enforcement of discrimination law.


  • Discrimination Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Legal Education
  • Private Law
  • Sexual Identities and the Law
  • Sports Law
  • Torts Law