Joanne's research interests lie at the intersection between natural law jurisprudence and legal history, on a wide and diverse range of topics, as well as legal philosophy from various legal traditions more generally.

Project title: Natural Law and the Calvinist Usury Doctrine: From Forbidden Sin to Natural Property Right

SupervisorsProf Nicholas Aroney and Dr Simon Kennedy

Project overview

Joanne's PhD thesis is focused on the jurisprudence of the Calvinian usury doctrine. It will examine the underpinning normative rationales of the Calvinian usury doctrine, in particular, the concepts of private property, equity and money as a legal construct. The thesis will argue that private property is the foundation of the Calvinian usury doctrine, and that it is fundamentally a doctrine of equity in property, marking a radical shift in usury argumentation in the history of natural law usury discourse. The other distinctive feature of Calvin's usury doctrine is his ontology of money, which the thesis will examine jurisprudentially.


  • Joanne Lee (2017), Should Interest Rates be Regulated or Abolished? The Case for the Abolition of Usury, The Western Australian Jurist, 8:227-262
  • Joanne Lee (2018), The Effectiveness of Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth): Time for a ‘Not merely incidental’ purpose test?, The Journal of Australian Taxation 20(1): 1-24