Dr Paul Harpur's research and teaching expertise are in the areas of disability rights, anti-discrimination laws, work health and safety laws and corporate social responsibility.
Dr Harpur's PhD concerned labour rights and human rights. Building on this research base, Dr Harpur has published widely in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States on employment, anti-discrimination and human rights laws.
Dr Harpur has a mixture of practice and research experience, having formerly practiced as a lawyer and continuing to work as an industrial relations special advisor in a private practice. In the past Dr Harpur has held a range of research posts, including, research fellowships at The University of Queensland, Griffith Law School and on an Australian Research Council grant with Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, the United Nations University, New York University and the Centre for International Governance (Canada).
Dr Harpur has led a range of projects, including an International Labour Organization project assessing labour rights in the South Pacific, including a particular focus on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Dr Harpur has an extremely strong international reputation holding prestigious research fellowships with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, Institute for Lifecourse & Society, National University of Ireland, Galway and with the Burton Blatt Institute, College of Law, Syracuse University, New York.
Dr Harpur's recent monograph, Discrimination, Copyright and Equality: Opening the E-Book for the Print Disabled (2017) Cambridge University Press analyses the interaction between anti-discrimination and copyright laws, in the international human rights and copyright jurisdictions, as well as in the national jurisdictions in Australia, Canada, the UK and USA. This work builds on international and domestic notions of digital equality and rights to access information. The core thesis of this monograph is that technology now creates the possibility that everyone in the world, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, should be able to access the written word.
Prior to academia Dr Harpur was a lawyer in private practice and a professional athlete with a disability, competing in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Paralympics, the 2002 Manchester and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and a range of other international competitions.
Dr Harpur's work is often in the news, for example, Channel 10's Project ran a storey on his research entitled "what do a bird, a miniature horse and pig have in common with a guide dog? We meet some legal assistance animals on the job." which can be accessed here.