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Research

The broad research objectives of the Law Faculty are:

  • To foster and maintain a research culture informed by national and international standards, and
  • To provide high quality research training programs that suitably prepare candidates for careers as researchers.

The Law Faculty has a very active research program, and is one of the highest ranked faculties in the country in terms of research publications per staff. Research performance measured in high output is central to the achievement of the Law Faculty's mission. This is reflected in the number of scholarly books and refereed journal articles produced by Law Faculty staff.

Research Degrees

The Faculty of Law is offering one or more scholarships for outstanding students to undertake a:

For general inquiries, please contact our Graduate Research Coordinator, Dr Olivia Rundle.


Available Research Degree Projects

A research degree candidate may develop their own research project in collaboration with their supervisor or apply for one of our currently available projects below:

Applicants who are interested a specific project should first contact the supervisor listed and then find out more about our Entry Requirements, Scholarships if relevant, and then Apply Now.

Scholarships

There is a competitive process of scholarship application applicable at UTAS. A typical scholarship provides $27,596 p.a. (2019 rate, indexed annually) living allowance for 3 years, with a possible 6 month extension.

The Faculty of Law also provides to candidates some operational funds to support the PhD research project. Further information may be found on the Scholarships webpage.

Closing Date

31 October 2019

The Research Project

Climate change is projected to have profound effects on the marine and coastal environment, through warming waters, changes to ocean currents, coastal inundation and ocean acidification. Species distributions will change dramatically. For some their range will expand, for others it will contract. The interactions between these new species assemblages is difficult to assess and the impacts even harder to address in the dynamic marine context. A growing body of work has investigated the adequacy of terrestrial conservation policies and laws to address the threats from climate change. By contrast, there is little understanding of how well current approaches to regulating the coastal and marine environment - in Australia or elsewhere - address the imperatives of climate change adaptation.

This project would compare approaches to marine resource conservation law internationally to identify reform priorities for Australian coastal, fisheries, and biodiversity laws.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria apply to these scholarships:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The Research Higher Degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis;
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply.  Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Legal service delivery
  • Qualitative research methods, particularly in depth interviewing

Funding

The competitive PhD scholarship programme is funded by the University of Tasmania.

Application Process

Applicants requiring more information, or who are interested in this specific project, should firstly contact the Supervisor listed below.

To determine eligibility, applicants should also contact the Research Hub for their proposed area of research and request an Expression of Interest Form (EOI).  Further information on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

If a Graduate Research Administration Officer (GRAO) subsequently invites you to complete an application after you have submitted an EOI, please visit the Apply Now website and complete an application via the University of Tasmania's Online Application System.  Please indicate under Scholarship Support that you wish to be considered for a living allowance scholarship.

Self-funded applications are welcome at any time. Information about scholarships, and scholarship round deadlines, may be found on the Scholarships webpage.

More information

Please contact Prof Jan McDonald for more information.

Scholarships

There is a competitive process of scholarship application applicable at UTAS. A typical scholarship provides $27,596 p.a. (2019 rate, indexed annually) living allowance for 3 years, with a possible 6 month extension.

The Faculty of Law also provides to candidates some operational funds to support the PhD research project. Further information may be found on the Scholarships web page.

Closing Date

31 October 2019

The Research Project

Nature’s aesthetics have been an important driver of environmental law historically, providing a rationale for laws to protect scenic landscapes and charismatic species. But aesthetics have also become seemingly less important to contemporary environmental law, which focuses more on economic rationales, scientific evidence and human rights considerations. This PhD research project will explore the role of aesthetics in environmental law, with the aim to develop new theoretical insights into how aesthetics can play a stronger role in shaping environmental decisions. The project will also involve analysis of existing environmental laws in Australia and / or other countries, to understand the evolving role of aesthetics in environmental decisions. Ecological reconciliation and ecological restoration may also be researched as frameworks for engaging human communities with their natural surroundings in order to better appreciate its aesthetic dimensions. Socially engaged art, such as climate change activist art, is also relevant to this topic in assessing the role of the visual arts in mobilising public support for new environmental policies and laws.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria apply to these scholarships:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The Research Higher Degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis;
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Legal service delivery
  • Qualitative research methods, particularly in depth interviewing

Funding

The competitive PhD scholarship programme is funded by the University of Tasmania.

Application Process

Applicants requiring more information, or who are interested in this specific project, should firstly contact the Supervisor listed below.

To determine eligibility, applicants should also contact the Research Hub for their proposed area of research and request an Expression of Interest Form (EOI). Further information on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

If a Graduate Research Administration Officer (GRAO) subsequently invites you to complete an application after you have submitted an EOI, please visit the Apply Now website and complete an application via the University of Tasmania's Online Application System. Please indicate under Scholarship Support that you wish to be considered for a living allowance scholarship.

Self-funded applications are welcome at any time. Information about scholarships, and scholarship round deadlines, may be found on the Scholarships webpage.

More information

Please contact Professor Benjamin J Richardson for more information at b.j.richardson@utas.edu.au or +61 3 62266902.

The supervision team for this research will be led by Professor Ben Richardson, with other academics from the University Tasmania as co-supervisors.

Scholarships

There is a competitive process of scholarship application applicable at UTAS. A typical scholarship provides $27,596p.a. (2019 rate, indexed annually) living allowance for 3 years, with a possible 6 month extension.

The Faculty of Law also provides to candidates some operational funds to support the PhD research project. Further information may be found on the Scholarships web page.

Closing Date

31 October 2019

The Research Project

The legal services industry is dynamic and there are significant changes occurring on an international scale in the way lawyers interact with their clients. This is largely driven by corporate client demand for more efficient and effective legal services, greater participation in dispute resolution, and a breakdown in the elite status of the legal profession. In Tasmania the legal services market is primarily comprised of small to medium sized firms who represent individuals and small to medium sized businesses. This could mean that lawyers tend to be in a powerful position as compared to their clients, and that there has not been as much pressure to alter traditional methods and manners of client engagement as has occurred in large multinational corporate legal environments. This project seeks to identify and analyse the ways that Tasmanian legal practitioners have traditionally interacted with their clients, consider whether that relationship is changing, or whether it must respond to changes in the market, law and society. This will be informed by the contemporary and future needs of the profession, clients and the administration of justice in Tasmania. Ideally the project will obtain the client as well as lawyers’ perspective on the lawyer-client relationship.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria apply to these scholarships:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The Research Higher Degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis;
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Legal service delivery
  • Qualitative research methods, particularly in depth interviewing

Funding

The competitive PhD scholarship programme is funded by the University of Tasmania.

Application Process

Applicants requiring more information, or who are interested in this specific project, should firstly contact the Supervisor listed below.

To determine eligibility, applicants should also contact the Research Hub for their proposed area of research and request an Expression of Interest Form (EOI). Further information on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

If a Graduate Research Administration Officer (GRAO) subsequently invites you to complete an application after you have submitted an EOI, please visit the Apply Now website and complete an application via the University of Tasmania's Online Application System. Please indicate under Scholarship Support that you wish to be considered for a living allowance scholarship.

Self-funded applications are welcome at any time. Information about scholarships, and scholarship round deadlines, may be found on the Scholarships webpage.

More information

Please contact Dr Olivia Rundle for more information Olivia.Rundle@utas.edu.au

The supervision team for this project will be led by Dr Olivia Rundle. See Olivia's profile regarding her work in relation to the nature of legal services (particularly within the context of dispute resolution).

Closing Date

31st October 2019

The Research Project

The Tasmania Law Reform Institute in the Law Faculty has accepted a reference from the LGBTIQ community to undertake a reference on conversion therapy (also known as ‘reparative’ or ‘ex-gay’ therapy).

The practice has been described by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as “unethical, unscientific and ineffective, and may be tantamount to torture”. In March 2018, Fairfax Media revealed that conversion practices remain prevalent in Australia, hidden in clinical settings, faith-based counselling, and online courses.¹ The practice continues to be undertaken surreptitiously in Tasmania, highlighting the need for a legal response.

This project proposes to examine existing laws in Tasmania and elsewhere to determine what legislative measures can be implemented to prevent conversion therapy from being conducted in Tasmania, particularly in relation to minors. In order to understand the prevalence of conversion therapy in Tasmania, the harm caused by the practice, and potential reforms, the project will involve extensive consultation with the medical profession, medical and psychology organisations, faith groups, and the Tasmanian community, with a focus on the LGBTIQ community. Expected outputs include:

Scoping study

The Institute invites a LLM student to conduct a study, under supervision of the Director of the Institute. The study will outline:

  • The extent to which conversion therapy continues to be practised in Tasmania
  • Literature regarding the impact on mental health of conversion therapy
  • Existing legal regulation of the practice of conversion therapy, including the regulation of the provision of purported health and counselling services
  • Analysis of initiatives to prevent or regulate the practice of conversion therapy, including in the USA, Europe, recent reforms in Victoria and calls by the Queensland and ACT Health Ministers for a national approach to ban the practice.²

Thesis

This work can be used as the basis of the community consultation a Final Report for the Government and/or as the basis for an LLM Thesis.

¹ Tomazin, F. 9 March 2018. “I am profoundly unsettled': inside the hidden world of gay conversion therapy”. Sydney Morning Herald https://www.smh.com.au/national/i-am-profoundly-unsettled-inside-the-hidden-world-of-gay-conversiontherapy-20180227-p4z1xn.html
² See, for example, Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice: Responding to LGBT conversion therapy in Australia. This report on the Victorian experience will provide important background for the Tasmanian project.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria apply to this scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis;
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply.  Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Legal service delivery

Qualitative research methods, particularly in depth interviewing and community engagement

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor.

Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact Associate Professor Terese Henning for more information.

Closing Date

31 October 2019

The Research Project

Elder abuse is currently a topic of considerable concern and in many ways and for many reasons difficult to investigate and tackle. A pilot project is currently being undertaken on a cross-disciplinary basis by Law, Sociology and Health Sciences to investigate existing regulatory and policy frameworks that deal with elder abuse. It is proposed to develop this work into a wide ranging analysis of key agencies' responses to elder abuse, the extent to which they have linked responses and whether and how their responses might be developed to achieve systemised integrated approaches. PhD opportunities in this area include investigations of:

  • Whether and how an integrated response across government and non-government agencies might be developed to tackle elder abuse;
  • Evaluation of models that have been developed outside Australia to tackle elder abuse and whether any of those models might be developed for the Australian environment;
  • Assessment of the current legislative and policy framework across Australia, what are their lacunae and how might they be improved from a practical and practitioner perspective;
  • Whether legislative and policy frameworks developed to tackle other forms of abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people (including family violence) might be developed or usefully extended to tackle elder abuse;
  • Whether policies developed by different agencies to tackle elder abuse are actually implemented;
  • Whether cultures within institutions tasked with caring for elderly people or with responding to elder abuse, undermine or over-ride legislation and policies relating to elder abuse.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria apply to this scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis;
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply.  Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Legal service delivery
  • Qualitative research methods, particularly in depth interviewing

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor.

Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact Associate Professor Terese Henning for more information.

Closing Date

31 October 2019

The Research Project

People with complex communication needs (including children, people with cognitive, physical and mental impairments and people with language impairments) face significant barriers in obtaining equal access to justice in both civil and criminal jurisdictions. A number of special measures have been implemented across Australia to enhance these people’s participation in the justice process, including pre-trial recording of their evidence, the use of communication assistants, enabling them to have a support person with them while testifying and transmitting their evidence via CCTV so that they do not need to testify in court. Most of these measures apply only in the criminal jurisdiction at trial. There is a dearth of measures available during civil trials and tribunal proceedings and to assist people in interacting with lawyers and the police. There are many issues that arise in this context that provide opportunities for post-graduate research including:

  • Cross-jurisdictional comparative analysis of the different models implemented in Australia to assist people with complex communication needs in navigating the justice system. There is considerable diversity between the current schemes on offer;
  • Whether and how models adopted in some Scandinavian countries, like the Barnehus, might be implemented in Australia;
  • How an integrated approach to dealing with the problems faced by people with complex communication needs might be developed for Australian jurisdictions;
  • Whether it is necessary to abandon altogether the adversarial approach in enabling people with complex communication needs to participate on a more equal footing in the justice system;
  • Cross-jurisdictional research on the different models operating in Australia and key stakeholder responses to them, including those of judges, lawyers, the police and witness support agencies.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria apply to this scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis;
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply.  Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Legal  service delivery
  • Qualitative  research methods, particularly in depth interviewing

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor.

Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact Associate Professor Terese Henning for more information.

Closing Date

31 October 2019

The Research Project

Therapeutic (problem solving) approaches have been adopted in a number of jurisdictions to tackle particularly intransigent forms of offending and offending that does not appear to be susceptible to traditional responses, including drug related offending, recidivist drink driving, family violence and offending arising from mental and cognitive incapacities.

There are a number of possibilities for PhD research in this arena including:

  • Participation in the establishment of a pilot therapeutic approach to recidivist drink driving and evaluation of the pilot from offender, court and service provider perspectives.
  • Comparative analysis of the operation of therapeutic courts – how legal participants, including judicial officers, interact with offenders; the extent to which they comply with the key requirements of the therapeutic approach to offending.
  • Comparative analysis of the therapeutic approaches in relation to different targeted areas including family violence, drug related offending and/or mental health related offending;
  • Evaluation of the impact on recidivism and re-integration of problem solving approaches in relation to family violence, drug related offending and/or mental health related offending;
  • Investigation of community responses to a therapeutic approach to this type of offending.
  • Attitudes of law enforcement agencies and personnel to therapeutic responses.
  • There are opportunities to develop cross-disciplinary research projects particularly with the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies, and in particular, in relation to research understandings of therapeutic responses.

Eligibility

The following eligibility criteria apply to this scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international candidates;
  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis;
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector;
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply.  Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Legal service delivery
  • Qualitative research methods, particularly in depth interviewing

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor.

Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact Associate Professor Terese Henning for more information.

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Publications