Centre for Law and Genetics

Margaret Otlowski

Deputy-Director of the CLG

Phone: +61 3 6226 7569

Email: Margaret.Otlowski@utas.edu.au


Professor Margaret Otlowski has been a deputy-director of the CLG since its inception. She has significant expertise in end-of-life issues and in law and biomedicine especially as it relates to discrimination, privacy and other regulatory issues. She has been increasingly involved in the Faculty of Law, serving as Deputy Head of School from 2005-2010 and as Dean of the Faculty of Law from 2011-current whilst maintaining a strong community and research presence.

For the past two decades, Otlowski's research has been influential in the development of law and policy in Australia. Alongside Professors Chalmers and Nicol, Professor Otlowski helped to make law reform submissions an integral part of research at the Centre. She has made approximately 40 written submissions of law reform inquiries; some submissions were individual, she led many and participated in more. Professor Otlowski has also given oral evidence on a number of occasions.

Another key area of involvement in the field of law and genetics was to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Inquiry into the Protection of Human Genetic Information. She was appointed Consultant to this inquiry as well as contributing to a number of submissions. She was also a Consultant on the Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry into Privacy and was a member of the Federal Privacy Commissioner's Health Leaders Forum (2004-2010).

In the early years of the CLG, Otlowski led a law reform style inquiry taking submissions from stakeholders in Australia on the implications of the Human Genome Project on Insurance and Employment Law and Practice. After circulating discussion papers on the topic, feedback prompted the creation of the CLG Occasional Paper Series, and the first two reports were published: Report No. 1: Implications of the Human Genome Project for Australian Insurance Law and Practice (1999) (84 pages); Report No. 2: Implications of the Human Genome Project for Australian Employment Law and Practice (1999) (96 pages).

Otllowski has also been a part of ethics committees, involved in many working groups, presented at many international and national conferences and workshops (including invitation-only). Some major outputs with translational impact that Professor Otlowski has been involved in include:

Some of Professor Otlowski's other key appointments include

  • Member, of two of the National Health and Medical Research Council principal committees: Australian Health Ethics Committee and the Human Genetics Advisory Committee for the 2009-2012 and the 2012-2015 trienniums
  • Other roles on ethics committees including:
    • Royal Hobart Hospital Clinical Ethics Committee (2006-2013)
    • Royal Hobart Hospital Research Ethics Committee (1993-1998)
    • Member; Chair, Southern Tasmania Social Sciences HREC (1992-2002)
    • National MBF Operational Ethics Committee (chair 1997);
  • Member, Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, since October 1999 - current
  • Member, Board of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Health Law and Ethics (ANZIHLE) 2000-2009 and Treasurer 2003-2006;
  • Member, Federal Privacy Commissioner's Health Leaders' Forum 2004-2010;
  • Member, Advisory Board of the Australian Twin Registry since 2005- current;
  • Legal and ethical adviser on tissue banking for the Australasian Biospecimen Network (ABN);
  • Member, Management Committee of the National Breast Cancer Foundation Collaborative Breast Cancer Research Program: BreastScreen Cohort Demonstration Project, 'Lifepool' since 2009.

Research Interests

Ethical legal and social implications of human genetics;​ discrimination; privacy; consent; medical research ethics and end-of-life.

Current Projects

Future Research

Big Data