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From the Dean

Erika TecheraWe have had a busy start to 2016 with a number of new initiatives and developments as well as staff and student successes and celebrations.

We have just welcomed a new intake of JD students. Over 150 students are starting the program this year and they recently spent a few days in orientation before commencing their studies. This March also saw us celebrate with one of our largest graduating classes – comprising undergraduate Law Majors students, LLB and LLM students, MPhil and PhD candidates, as well as our first graduating class of JD students.

Our Jessup Moot team did well this year. Although not progressing to the international competition, the team won all the memorial prizes in the Australian rounds: Best Applicant Memorial, Best Respondent Memorial and Best Overall Memorial. In addition, two members of the team were also placed in the top ten speakers in the preliminary rounds: Chris Burch and Isabella Bogunovich.

We are particularly keen to engage our alumni and other stakeholders in Law School activities. This is often through guest lectures or being engaged as tutors in our programs; we would be happy to hear from anyone who would like to share their expertise with students in this way. There are, however, many other opportunities to get involved including through the Visiting Professional Program and UWA Professional.

The Visiting Professional Program was established in 2014 to encourage visitors to the campus to spend some time with students sharing their experiences and expertise. The format is informal and conversational in style with small groups of students attending a roundtable discussion, usually over lunch. Many of our students are undecided about what they would like to do after they leave the Law School and welcome the opportunity to hear from those with a law degree who have gone on to different careers. Please consider sharing your career journey with students.

We have continued our development of new programs and initiatives. You will read in this Newsletter about the launch of our new Master of Taxation Law. Shortly we will be launching UWA Professional. This will include an online platform of CPD activities and events, as well as more general legal ‘news’ and items of interest related to law and legal practice. We are building the platform now and have received tremendous support from our alumni who have provided content in the form of articles as well as recorded seminars. We anticipate being able to offer access to the system to final year LLB and JD students in second semester, to assist them in transitioning to legal practice or industry, and intend to provide a one year subscription to students as a graduation gift. Our new Director of Executive Education, Andrew Townsend, would love to hear from you if you would like to contribute to UWA Professional.

I hope you enjoy reading the latest edition of our Newsletter and look forward to seeing or hearing from many of you over the course of 2016.

Professor Erika J Techera, FAAL Dean of Law

New advanced Taxation Law Program launched

Tax Law Team 2016UWA Law School’s newest postgraduate program, Taxation Law was officially launched at UWA’s city premises on 22 February. Guests from academia, the tax and legal professions as well as alumni and friends of the Law School joined Program Director Professor Nolan Sharkey and recently appointed Honorary Fellow Grant Wardell-Johnson to mark the introduction of the courses.

In addition to his current role as Leader of the KPMG Australian Tax Centre, Grant will be teaching into the program with a team of Law School academics and leading tax professionals.

The Taxation Law Program is the first advanced Tax Law program covering specialist topics including Resources Taxation and Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) offered by a Western Australian university.

Professor Nolan Sharkey has been very pleased with the level of support the program has received from the broader tax community.

“Support from firms and partners has been fantastic. I was very impressed with the turnout of senior professionals at the launch and I am very appreciative of the number of these delivering guest lectures in the program and even entire units.”

The Taxation Law intensive teaching period commences 26 April 2016.

Photo: 2016 Tax Law Teaching team (L-R, Jared Clements, Elmi Carlean, Jonathon Leek, Nolan Sharkey, John Fickling, Grant Wardell-Johnson, Erika Techera and Ian Murray)

Research strength in prison and Indigenous issues

Hilde Tubex The UWA Law School has continued its strong record of research in the field of prison and Indigenous issues with researchers working in the Law & Society Teaching and Research Network building an excellent track record of attracting competitive grant funding. 

Future Fellow Dr Hilde Tubex has a number of externally funded research projects which focus on prison research and effective throughcare for Indigenous communities. One of her current projects ‘Building an effective community-based throughcare approach for Aboriginal offenders in Australia’ has recently been funded by the Australian Institute of Criminology.

The aim of this research is to identify the needs of Indigenous male and female offenders on (supervised or full time) release to develop effective community-based throughcare strategies. Research will focus on two area: Broome (WA) and Tiwi Islands (NT). The strategies developed as part of this project will be built on the knowledge and experiences of Elders and Indigenous people in these settings, as well as of the services working with these communities. 

The research team which includes Associate Professor Hilde Tubex, Professor Harry Blagg and Professor John Rynne (Griffith University) have extensive experience in undertaking Indigenous research which is culturally appropriate and one of the data collection methods will be yarning. It is anticipated that this research will result in a number of recommended strategies for government services to enhance reintegration in Indigenous communities and with the ultimate aim of reducing the high rates of recidivism.

Photo: Associate Professor Hilde Tubex

China based alumni provide engagement opportunities for students

UWALS China Engagement Tour 2016November 2015 saw a group of 27 Law School students selected from a highly competitive field of applicants participate in a unique Chinese cultural immersion experience as part of their studies.

The experience, undertaken as part of the Graduate Diploma of Chinese Business Law, was led by Professor Ken Shao with support from alumni Joe Longo, General Council Deutsche Bank Asia Pacific Region and Hilary Lau, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills.

Participants in the 16-day tour took part in an integrated and cross-disciplinary range of activities including seminars, panel discussions, guided tours and dialogues with business, law, government, universities, research institutes and cultural bodies. The activities were selected to develop understanding and participation in Chinese culture, business, law and politics and took the students to Hong Kong, Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.

Through the support of Law School alumni, students had unique opportunities to engage with leading global entities operating in Mainland China and Hong Kong. At Deutsche Bank (HK), alumnus Joe Longo arranged for students to be given an exclusive presentation by Dr Michael Spencer, Chief Economist, on the state Chinese economy followed up by a panel session with the Deutsche Bank legal team, sharing insights into how an in-house legal department works in an international bank in China.

In Beijing, Hillary Lau hosted a two hour seminar on doing business within a Chinese cultural context. Hillary also arranged for another speaker, State Shi, Partner with KPMG Beijing to present to the group on the opportunities in Chinese e-commerce.

Professor Ken Shao joined the Law School in early 2014 and is both impressed and grateful for the support received from UWA Law School alumni.

“The experiences students have been able to access through the support of UWA Law School alumni have been extremely beneficial. The strong support from alumni and as well as interest from students has ensured preparations are now well underway for the 2016 tour”.

Photo: Professor Shao and Joe Longo (centre) with Engagement Tour participants

Equity Pathway to Juris Doctor

Law Building
From late 2015 (for entry in 2016), the UWA Law School has introduced an Equity and Diversity Pathway for entry into the Juris Doctor. The pathway was developed to provide access to the JD to applicants who may have experienced hardship or disadvantage which has adversely affected their academic performance.

To be considered for entry into the course via this pathway, an applicant must have held a protection, refugee or humanitarian visa within 7 years prior to applying for admission to this course; or experienced significant personal, medical, social, educational, cultural or financial disadvantage or hardship, including any disadvantage or hardship resulting from an applicant's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Applicants must still possess a bachelor's degree, or an equivalent qualifications as recognised by UWA; and the equivalent of a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 5 (out of 7.0), across all completed tertiary studies; as well as obtain a satisfactory Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score as determined by the JD selection committee.

It is envisaged that the addition of the Equity and Diversity Pathway to the JD will benefit the program by reducing barriers to entry to the JD for students who have suffered personal disadvantage or hardship but who are otherwise capable of pursuing Law studies and by increasing diversity within the Law student population.

Peter Johnston Memorial Fund

Peter Johnston

It has been a year since Dr Peter Johnston passed away, a loss keenly felt by many throughout Australia. In recognition of his significant contributions to UWA and the Australian legal community, we are seeking donations to help establish the Peter Johnston Memorial Fund, an endowment fund that will honour Peter’s legacy in perpetuity at UWA. 

Peter is remembered as an inspiring mentor, a fine scholar and a passionate advocate for human, political and Aboriginal rights. He touched the lives of many at UWA and was instrumental in the establishment of a number of enduring units in the Law School as well as teaching, supervising and encouraging generations of law students, many of whom went on to become some of Australia’s most distinguished lawyers. In addition to his teaching and practising in public law, Peter played a major part in ensuring that students from the Law School have the opportunity to participate and excel in the Jessup International Law Mooting Competition.

To honour his dedication and passion for advocacy and advancing the Jessup Moot at UWA, the Peter Johnston Memorial Fund will be used to support the development of the UWA Jessup Moot team by helping to cover travel costs for the national and international rounds of the competition each year. Our modest aim is to raise $70,000 so that this fund may be endowed in perpetuity, with annual distributions available to support the UWA Jessup Moot team for generations to come.  If this financial goal is achieved the E-Moot Court in the Law School will be renamed in honour of Peter and his lifelong contribution to the Australian legal community.

Tax-deductible donations can be made online. If you would like to learn more about the Peter Johnston Memorial Fund please contact Jessica Soulsby, Development Manager, Faculty of Law, T: +61 8 6488 2764 or jessica.soulsby@uwa.edu.au.

Any and all contributions to the Peter Johnston Memorial Fund will be greatly valued.

Photo: Peter Johnston

Centre for Mining, Energy and Natural Resources Law expands

UWA Law School’s Centre for Mining, Energy and Natural Resources Law underwent expansion in 2015 with the addition of two key Academic staff, Jared Clements and Joe Fardin as Associate Directors.

Prior to joining the Law School, Jared Clements practised as a corporate lawyer at Allens Linklaters, Ashurst and PricewaterhouseCoopers. His experience includes advising clients on share and business acquisitions, asset sales, mining transactions, joint ventures, and corporate restructures. Jared also has expertise in commercial litigation and corporate insolvencies.

Jared actively researches in the area of resources law and taxation. He recently completed a paper on the stamp duty consequences of farm-in arrangements in Western Australia and is now examining the tax deductibility of exploration expenditure on petroleum projects.

Joe Fardin is a mining and Indigenous land rights lawyer. He has extensive experience in the litigated, arbitral, regulatory reform, and policy development aspects of Indigenous land ownership and mining laws, and the relationship between the two. He has a particular interest in the unique issues surrounding the tripartite interaction between industry, government and Indigenous interests in the minerals industry.

Prior to joining the Law School, Joe advised clients in Australia and internationally from within governments, law firms, NGOs and IGOs and as a consultant. Joe researches in the areas of mining law, regulation, indigenous land rights and legal pluralism, and continues to consult internationally.