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Welcome from the Dean, Assoc/Prof Natalie Skead

Dean - Assoc/Prof Natalie SkeadFrom July 2017 until June next year we are celebrating the Law School’s 90 years of legal excellence and 9 decades of producing outstanding legal graduates. It has been wonderful to connect with so many graduates over the last few months across our 90th celebrations to reflect on our graduates' student days and diverse career experiences. These events have included the School of Indigenous Studies’ and the Law School’s Indigenous Law Graduates Cocktail Party for our current and past Indigenous law students; the inaugural Fountainside Chat ‘Advice to my Younger Self - An Evening with The Hon Robert French AC’; and the 2017 John Toohey Oration delivered by Greg McIntyre SC honouring the legal and judicial career of The Hon John Leslie Toohey AC QC.

It has been exciting to see Stage 1 of the refurbishment of the ground floor of the Beasley Law Library completed. Students have been enjoying the new collaborative study spaces and the beautiful artwork in the courtyard and library. The artwork by Dr Richard Walley OAM celebrates the Aboriginal history of the Law School and acknowledges the Whadjuk Noongar nation as the traditional owners and cultural and spiritual custodians of the land on which the Law School is situated.

This library re-fit is the first phase of planned renovations to this award winning 50 year old building to ensure it keeps pace with technology, the growing online storage of library resources and the changing needs of our student cohort.

Teaching news

Legal APPtitude

Recognising that the legal industry is going through a significant period of change and upheaval through technological innovation and the increased use of artificial intelligence, the UWA Law School established the Legal APPtitude Pilot Program in Semester Two.

This program brought together two academic staff members, Kate Offer and Liam Elphick, and a third-year Juris Doctor student, Alex Cook, to coordinate ten students to build two law applications. Applications were built using software developed by Neota Logic, allowing the creation of tangible, practical applications without requiring complex coding expertise.

Liam’s team of five students created an app that allows users to input information about a product they have purchased and informs them as to whether they would be entitled to a refund or return under the Australian Consumer Law. Kate’s team created an app that provides guidance to persons living in sharehouse arrangements on their rights under tenancy law. These two applications will provide end-users who may not possess significant legal knowledge with clear, concise and actionable advice and insight, and are now publicly available.

Following this semester-long pilot program, plans are underway to embed ‘Legal APPtitude’ within the UWA Law School curriculum.

Co-operative Education for Enterprise Development (CEED) program

CEEDUWA’s Co-operative Education for Enterprise Development (CEED) program is designed to enable students to gain practical experience in a real world environment while making a positive contribution to knowledge and the resolution of current issues that the legal industry is facing.

CEED offers students the opportunity to undertake an individual research project with a corporate, government or not-for profit organisation, while receiving credit toward their degree. Students take the leading role as the principal investigator for the project and are responsible for preparing the project brief, conducting the research and producing a final report that has a positive and practical use for the host organisation. The research project is nominated as well as defined by the client organisation and thus enables the students to actively engage with current issues of significance.

CEED projects to date include work on the implications of domestic violence on consumer credit with the Consumer Credit Legal Services WA (CCLSWA) and a project on expanding pro bono support in community law with the Community Legal Centre Association of Western Australia.

Students are able to spend up to four weeks with their host organisation, enabling them to develop an appreciation of the work environment and make more informed decisions regarding their future careers. During this time students also have the opportunity to build a network of contacts with stakeholders and industry professionals within the organisation/industry. Students are expected to draw on the expertise and support of that network toward the successful completion of their research.

Students also receive support from an academic supervisor at UWA and a professional mentor from within the organisation. Apart from the benefits to the students themselves, this project strengthens new and existing partnerships and facilitates the continued contribution of the university toward knowledge and the resolution of legal issues that corporate, government and not-for profit organisations are facing.

Student achievements

Let's Moot

Moot teamThe National mooting program is becoming an important feature of the UWA Law School’s Oral Advocacy offerings. This year the School entered a team in the Sir Harry Gibbs Constitutional Law Moot and two teams in the Michael Kirby Contract Law Moot. The teams travelled to Melbourne during the semester two study break after preparing for the moots across the first half of semester two.

The Gibbs Moot team, consisting of Isabel Inkster, Zaccary Molly Mencshelyi and Stephen Puttick coached by Dr Murray Wesson, made it through to the quarter-finals where they were very narrowly defeated by the eventual Grand Final winners, Melbourne University Law School. Isabel Inkster was awarded the Best Speaker award, a fantastic achievement and a testament to both her own oral advocacy skills and the support she received from her teammates.

For the first time we entered two teams in the Kirby Moot; Team Blue consisting of Christopher Minus, Cassandra Chu Yu Chee, Georgina Due and Zachary Clifford and Team Green consisting of Alex Cook, Clare Saunders, Portia McDonald and Thomas Coltrona, both coached by Dr Renae Barker. Both teams performed brilliantly and made it through to the elimination round (top 16 teams). In a stroke of bad luck, the two teams drew each other with Team Green being victorious and progressing to the Quarter Finals. In the Quarter Finals, Team Green were against the eventual Grand Final Winners, Bond University Law School. Alex Cook was awarded an honourable mention as the Best Speaker in the General Rounds Category and was the winner of the Best Speaker in the Final Rounds Prize. This is a fantastic achievement, especially given the size of the competition – it is the biggest moot competition in the southern hemisphere.

Research news

  • Congratulations to Dr Ambelin Kwaymullina, Dr John Tarrant, Dr Dylan Lino and Dr Fiona McGaughey on completing their PhDs this year.
  • Dr Dylan Lino has been awarded the prestigious Holt Prize.
  • Michael Bennett won the TEDx award for his presentation at the Three Minute Thesis Competition.
  • Jacinta Dharmananda was awarded a 2017 Summer Research Scholarship to undertake research at the Parliamentary Library at the Australian Parliament in Canberra.
  • Dr Jill Howieson has been awarded a UWA Alumni Fund Grant.
  • Dr Jade Lindley was invited to participate in a 3 week program through the United States by the United States Department of State as part of their International Visitors Leadership Program.
  • Dr Marilyn Bromberg was awarded a UWA Research Impact Grant for her project ‘Taming the Monster: Energy Drinks and the Law’.
  • Michael Montalto and Mohammed R Ai-Umari presented their PhD research at the FABLE festival of HDR research in October.
  • The Law School hosted the 5th Biennial Electoral Regulation Research Network Workshop in November at the UWA Club.
  • Prof Camilla Andersen was a finalist in the 2017 UWA IQ Awards for her work on comic book contracts. UWA will host the inaugural Comics and Creative Contracts Conference in December.
  • Congratulations to Prof Rick Krever who was successful with two 2018 ARC Discovery Projects. The first, on the design and implementation issues that would need addressing if State income taxation was restored in Australia ($229,296), and the second, a joint project on factors which influence the tax strategies of large multi-national corporations ($365,940).
  • Assoc/Prof Natalie Skead was part of a successful ARC LIEF grant led by AustLII that has received $499,899 in funding.

Law School spotlight

Meet Law School Academic, Dr Felicity Maher

Felicity Maher What do you teach at the Law School?

I teach into the JD. I lecture in Equity & Trusts and am the Unit Co-ordinator for, and lecture and tutor in, Remedies.

What are your areas of research interest?

I describe myself as a private lawyer. I completed my doctorate on the law of unjust enrichment, supervised by Professor Peter Birks. But I am interested in all aspects of private law, especially the interfaces, and areas of overlap, between its different branches. My teaching has also deepened my interest in private law remedies. I am currently working on a doctrinal piece on the law of severance in contract, an empirical study of exemplary damages awards in Australia, and a review of the power of state tribunals to make compensation orders.

What path have you followed since leaving Law School?

I have been in practice for most of the past 20 years, with a detour back to student life part way through! On graduating from UWA Law School, I worked as a solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques (as it then was) for three years. I then departed for Oxford, where I undertook the BCL, MPhil and DPhil. From Oxford, I moved to London, working first as a Judicial Assistant to the then Master of the Rolls, Lord Phillips. I then spent almost three years as a legislative drafter, at the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. (My office overlooked the Horse Guards Parade on Whitehall: I vividly recall the sounds – and smells – which sometimes emanated from there!) I then moved to the Bar, practising from a leading commercial set, Three Verulam Buildings (or 3VB). Many of my cases involved acting for – or against – banks, in matters arising out of the global financial crisis, as well as the occasional Russian oligarch. I returned to Australia in 2012, practising as a barrister from Eleven Wentworth Chambers in Sydney. With two young children (and a husband!) I came home to Perth in 2016.

What attracted you to academia?

I have always been attracted to academia. In practice, I savoured every opportunity to research the law. But so often, there was neither the time nor the budget to do it properly. It is particularly gratifying to now have a job in which I am paid to research the law! And as the daughter of two teachers, I feel that teaching is in my genes. The flexibility of academic life is also a much easier fit with a young family than life as a commercial barrister.

What are your aspirations for the Law School in the lead up to the 100th Anniversary?

I hope that the Law School will cement its reputation as the leading law school in WA, and continue to build on its strengths: outstanding teaching and breadth and depth of important research. Further, to paraphrase the Prime Minister, I hope that the Law School can become increasingly agile and innovative. I hope that it can be of, and move with, its times. The changing role and needs of the legal profession, and graduates entering it (as well as the wider workforce) must be an increasing focus of the Law School. I firmly believe that technological developments, such as artificial intelligence and the blockchain will transform the law. It is my fervent desire that UWA Law School will not only contribute to the debates to which these developments give rise, but will produce graduates who are best placed to maximise the opportunities which they create.

Meet PhD student, Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett How would you describe your research and what does it entail?

My research is reform-oriented research at the intersection of international and domestic climate law. I want to answer the question of how Australian climate change laws can help ensure that our emission reduction targets make a fair contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement's goals, and that Australia meets or beats those targets. In part this involves examining potential regulatory strategies relevant to this question, like the use of framework legislation to guide target-setting decisions and make governments accountable for meeting targets. I also try to draw some lessons from Australia's past experience and from selected comparisons with laws elsewhere.

Tell us about the 3 Minute thesis competition. Did you find it hard to get to the heart of your research in such a short amount of time?

The competition is based on what sounds like an impossible idea: to explain your thesis topic, significance and outcomes in 3 minutes - and to make it interesting to a non-specialist audience. You are allowed one powerpoint slide. It was really hard but it was actually a great help in refining my thinking. I think I was only the second law student to do it! I would certainly encourage others to give it a go.

What are you enjoying about doing a PhD at UWA?

Having come back to UWA after working for many years what I really appreciate is the time to think deeply (or at least often!) about a topic I'm interested in, rather than being bounced from one task to another. I've also enjoyed the chance to do some casual tutoring and lecturing along the way. And my supervisors and fellow PhDers are great.

What advice would you offer prospective PhD Students?

Back up your EndNote files. They sense your fear and will crash when you least want them to.

Staff news

Felicity Maher The Law School held a beautiful reception in July to celebrate the 85 years of collective service of Nyuk Nahan, Aviva Freilich and John Fiocco. It was a lovely opportunity to thank Nyuk, Aviva and John for their significant contributions to the Law School and to wish them all the very best in their retirements (at least in Aviva and Nyuk’s case, with John maintaining a busy practice at the bar and still teaching in the Law School from time to time).

The Law School has celebrated two new arrivals: Dr Tamara Tulich’s daughter, Ayla and Jared Clements’ son, Austin.

We celebrated a number of weddings with Brenda McGivern, Dr Theodore Bennett and Dr Andy Schmulow all recently getting married.

Welcoming Professor Rick Krever

Felicity MaherThe UWA Law School has recently appointed Professor Rick Krever as a Professor of Taxation.

Professor Rick Krever is a leading taxation law and policy expert. He has been closely involved in modern Australian tax reform initiatives for many years, including in his roles as a member of the Commonwealth Government's Taxation Law Improvement Project Consultative Committee and the Review of Business Taxation (Ralph Review). Professor Krever has been a professor-in-residence at both the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Treasury, and has twice been seconded to the International Monetary Fund. His international visiting professor positions include appointments at Osgoode Hall Law School, Erasmus University and Harvard Law School. Professor Krever has worked with a variety of international organisations including the United Nations, European Union, Asian Development Bank, and World Bank as a post-conflict and development specialist, providing assistance in tax law design and drafting in regional and other countries including East Timor, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Ghana, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kosovo and Latvia. Rick has 75 articles in quality journals, 13 books, a further 26 edited books, and 73 book chapters.

Rick’s primary teaching focus is in the graduate tax program, particularly GST. His course covers both technical and policy issues encountered in GST law, looking primarily at Australian cases and materials but also drawing on experience abroad to evaluate the likelihood of reforms proposed for Australia succeeding in practice.

Visiting scholars

Bingyan Zan is a visiting PhD student from the School of International Trade and Economics, University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China.

Heidi Sander Loejman is a visiting PhD student from University of Southern Denmark.

Prof Sieg Eiselen is a visiting Professor from UNISA in South Africa, as well as the Secretary of the CISG Advisory Council.

Professor Tom Poole visited the Law School from the London School of Economics.

Associate Professor Devika Hovell, a UWA law graduate, visited the Law School from the London School of Economics.

Dr Benedict Coxon was recently a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London and has been a visitor at the Law School.

Alumni news

Micah Kickett (LLB ‘16) took out first place in the 2017 National Golden Gavel Competition.

Andrew Hanna (LLB, BCom ’13)
Andrew graduated from the Law School in 2013 and went on to be an associate for then Chief Justice, the Hon Robert French AC. He recently lectured Public International Law at the Law School. He is currently reading for the Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford University.

Andrew fondly remembers being a member of the 2010 UWA Jessup team which won the Australian championship and competed in Washington D.C.
Elliott Cook (LLB, BA '15)
Elliott graduated from the Law School in 2015 and practised as a lawyer at Ashurst. He is currently studying for the Master of Law at Cambridge University with a focus on restitution, conflicts and legal history.

Elliott remembers seeing Daryl Braithwaite perform Horses to a crowd of 1000 students at O-Day 2011. He notes the students who joined Daryl in singing displayed varying degrees of competence.
Mike Workman (BA '09, BA (Hons) '10, LLB '15)
Mike graduated from the Law School in 2015 and worked as a legal practitioner at the State Solicitor’s Office. He is currently completing a Master of Laws at University College London.

Mike’s fondest memories of the Law School were taking ‘brief’ study breaks on the benches outside the library.
Oliver Marshall (LLB, BA '17)
Oliver graduated from the Law School in 2017 and is currently studying for the Masters of Law at the University of Hong Kong with a focus on intellectual property and IT law.

A favourite memory of Oliver’s is the heart stopping sensation he felt when the server crashed just before submitting an assignment online.
Listen to Krista Dunstan nee McMeeken (LLB 2012)
Talk about growing up in Esperance and her role as Principal Policy Officer at the Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Connect with us

“Save the Date” – Celebrate our past, present and future at our 90th Anniversary Gala on 14 July 2018.

If you have changed your details, have news to share or have not been in touch for a while please contact us at: http://www.law.uwa.edu.au/90th-anniversary#connect-with-us

We are collating 90 things to celebrate as the UWA Law School turns 90 – and 90 things we can do together to make the Law School and legal community even better by the time we turn 100 – be part of the 90th anniversary story at: http://www.law.uwa.edu.au/90th-anniversary#90-reasons-to-celebrate

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