Research news

Making important contributions to both Australian and international legal research, the TC Beirne School of Law is ranked by ERA (2015) as above world standard. View our recent research news, or browse feature stories by category.

Recent news



The School produces three well-respected publications – the UQ Law Journal, the LAWASIA Journal and the Australian and New Zealand Maritime Law Journal. Our academic publications include leading high quality journals and monographs placed with prestigious overseas university presses that contribute to important legal issues. 

  • The Law of Misstatements: 50 Years on from Hedley Byrne v Heller, edited by UQ Professors Kit Barker, Ross Grantham and Warren Swain received a glowing review from Nicholas Hoggard, Barrister of Lincoln’s Inn and Doctoral Scholar at Durham Law School.
  • A special edition of the Australian and New Zealand Maritime Law Journal has just been published with a collection of papers that address a range of current commercial and regulatory issues within the shipping and maritime spheres in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Professor Heather Douglas (UQ) and Caroline de Costa (JCU) have a new publication in the Medical Journal of Australia on recent developments regarding abortion law in NSW and Queensland.


Australian law and policy

Our research investigates legal topics relevant to modern social issues including domestic violence, immigration, disability policy, the environment, crime and corruption, parliamentary elections and biotechnology.

  • Police and activists needed a clear and consistent legal framework to minimise clashes and potentially life-threatening damage to energy infrastructure during protests according to UQ’s Director of the Centre for International Minerals and Energy Law, Professor Jonathan Fulcher.
  • Professor Heather Douglas, with Kate Fitz-Gibbon from Monash University wrote an article published in The Conversation yesterday, FactCheck Q&A: what are the facts on funding for domestic violence legal services in Australia?
  • Comments are invited on the Disability Assistance Animals or Not? Problems in Policy and Practice Workshop: Summary and Scoping Discussion Paper published last week by UQ’s Professor Paul Harpur, Dr Martie-Louise Verreynne, Professor Nancy Pachana, Associate Professor Peter Billings and Professor Brent Ritchie.


International collaboration

The School frequently collaborates with other academics and institutions from around the world, in areas including South Pacific law, migrant smuggling, human rights and federalism.

  • The Ministry of Justice of Austria commissioned UQ law Professor Andreas Schloenhardt – also a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Vienna, to prepare a full translation of all 324 provisions of the Austrian Criminal Code.
  • Zoe Brereton, an undergraduate at UQ Law and New Colombo Plan Fellow, was recently published in the International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, ‘Perpetuating myths of women as false complainants in rape cases in India: culture versus the law’.
  • The atrocities of the 20th Century, particularly the Holocaust, led to the creation of international criminal law. Starting with the Nuremberg Tribunal and culminating in the International Criminal Court, justice has allowed survivors and their families to receive compensation, create memorials and move towards reconciliation.


In the media

Our academics are often asked to make contributions to popular media platforms, especially in areas of constitutional law, domestic violence and disability assistance.

  • Professor Heather Douglas, with Kate Fitz-Gibbon from Monash University wrote an article published in The Conversation yesterday, FactCheck Q&A: what are the facts on funding for domestic violence legal services in Australia?
  • University of Queensland environmental law lecturer Dr Justine Bell-James today published an article in The Conversation, discussing the ongoing Carmichael coal mine case – a court challenge to the biggest planned coal mine in Queensland.
  • Professor Graeme Orr published an article in the Brisbane Times, Abortion reform: Why has Parliament dragged the chain? asking why parliament has left the task of modernising abortion laws to the courts. Professor Orr argues that if we are to have laws that reflect the nuances of modern society, our politicians must take a more proactive role in considering law reform.  


HDR and student research

We encourage our undergraduates to pursue research early in their legal careers, and our PhD candidates to investigate socially-relevant, important topics.

  • Congratulations to Dr Twana Hassan and Dr Ruth Walker who attended their PhD graduation ceremony at UQ last week.
  • The TC Beirne School of Law 3 Minutes Thesis (3MT®) was held Friday 12th July. Three Minute Thesis (3MT) celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students. Developed by The University of Queensland, the exercise cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
  • PhD student David Jefferson’s research, is interested in how the legal evolution in Ecuador is representative of a conceptual shift in IP law away from a narrow orientation of privatization and economic growth, towards the utilization of intellectual property (IP) to support communitarian ends.