HDR student profiles

Nicolas Augoustinos

Nicolas Augoustinos

Project title: Principles of cultural heritage law and the international guardianship of the Greek Orthodox heritage

Supervisors: Professor Craig Forrest, Dr Lucas Lixinski

Biosketch: Nicholas is a Senior Lecturer with The University of Notre Dame Australia School of Law, Sydney. Nicholas’ doctoral research aims to contribute to our understanding of the nature of cultural heritage law by examining:

  • the impact of that law in the context of the protection of the movable and immovable heritage of the Greek Orthodox Church situated in (or sourced from) the abovementioned areas; and
  • the ability of the Greek Orthodox Church to engage in the international legal regimes which have been established for the protection of cultural heritage.

Publications: Nicholas Augustinos, ‘The Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of Armed Conflict: the Cyprus Experience’ in N. Palmer (Ed) The Recovery of Stolen Art (Kluwer Law International, London, 1998).

Interests: In addition to cultural heritage law, Nicholas’s research interests include taxation law. He has published articles in various peer-reviewed, ERA-listed journals including the Australian Tax Review, the Australian Tax Forum, the Revenue Law Journal, the Journal of Australian Taxation and the Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers’ Association.

Victoria Baumfield

Victoria Baumfield

Project title: Restoring a public focus to government business enterprises (GBEs): Proposals to make GBEs more responsive to public concerns

Supervisors: Professor Ross GranthamProfessor Graeme Orr

Biosketch: Tory Baumfield is an Assistant Professor at Bond University and a member of the New York Bar.

Tory received her B.A., cum laude, in International Relations and French from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was Head Notes Editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, in 1997.  Tory then worked as a commercial litigator at a large Wall Street law firm for 9 years before moving to Australia.  She represented corporate clients on topics including French banking law during the Nazi occupation, the alleged expropriation of foreign infrastructure assets in China, and reinsurance rescission actions.

Tory currently teaches Corporations Law and an elective on American law.  Tory's research focuses on the corporate governance of government businesses. She has published and presented at conferences in this area, and is currently pursuing her PhD on this topic at the University of Queensland.


  • Victoria Schnure Baumfield, “The Allconnex Water Debacle: Lessons in Devising Better Governance Mechanisms for Government Business Entities” (2013) 24(2) Bond Law Review 1-63.
  • Victoria Schnure Baumfield, “Corporate Class Actions – A Primer”, Corporate Governance eJournal, published: September 19, 2009.  ISSN:  1836-1110.
  • Victoria Schnure Baumfield, “The Pleadings and Other Documents Used in Federal Court Litigation:  How a Federal Case Gets to Trial”, The National Legal Eagle (Spring 2010).

Ana Borges Jelinic

Ana Borges

Project title: Migration and Domestic Violence: Women’s experiences of proving domestic violence as a requirement for permanent residency in Australia

Supervisors: Professor Heather Douglas, Associate Professor Liz Mackinlay, Dr Jason Chin

Biosketch: Increasing numbers of migrant women on partner visas move to Australia every year, despite concerns regarding immigration and national security and a persistent high level of domestic violence in the country. Many migrant women, from all cultural and social backgrounds become trapped in abusive relationships, due to a combination of complex personal and systemic reasons. The situation is worsened by the existence of severe deficiencies in the immigration processes in Australia that directly affect these women. Through 20 semi-structured interviews, this project aims to analyse how these migrant women’s needs and challenges intersect through the immigration process, and how the process impacts their mental health. The research also explores how other countries' legal systems address similar situations comparing legal alternatives while questioning the need for reform in Australia. 

Ana graduated in Psychology with Honors at Pontificia Universidade Catolica (PUC-SP) in Brazil. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Education from Griffith University and a research Masters (MPhil) in Education, Multiculturalism and Gender from the University of Queensland (UQ). In 2016, Ana became a PHD candidate at the School of Law, UQ.  Currently, Ana is part of the management board of Women’s Community Aid Association (WCAA) and an advisor for the Culturally Responsive Health Project at TRUE (former Family Planning Clinic Queensland).


  • Borges Jelinic, Ana (2015) Learning through Friendships: What are migrant girls learning with their school peers and how could it be improved. Redress, April 2015 – Edited by the Association of Women’s Educators.
  • Borges Jelinic, Ana (2014) The migrant girls’ voices: Gender and multiculturalism at school. Book Chapter. Complex Migration of Global Citizens, Ed. Lillian Mwanri and Jacob Waldenmaier, Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford.
  • Borges Jelinic, Ana (2013) Gender and Multiculturalism at school: The migrant girls’ voices. Redress – Edited by The Association of Women’s Educator.

Seminars and conferences:

  • May 2017 - Supporting migrant Women experiencing domestic violence at Community training in DV by Wolloongabba local Council and BRISSC - Qld.
  • March 2017- Research paper:  Migration and Domestic Violence: Women’s experiences under partner visas in Australia at Not Now not ever Conference, Mackay, Qld.
  • June 2016 – Research paper: Domestic violence and immigration at the Association of Women and Gender Studies of Australia (AWGSA).
  • October 2014 – Research paper: Gender and multiculturalismNESB girls’ experiences at school at the Association of Women’s Educators’ National Biannual Conference (AWE), Qld
  • September 2013 – Research paper: Bernadette’s Story, at the 5th Multiculturalism and Belonging Conference at the University of Oxford, England.
  • May 2013 – Research paper: The NESB girls’ voices, at the 3rd IAFOR Conference on Cultural Studies in Osaka, Japan.
  • February 2012- Presented paper: Best practices in Support Work, at the International Women’s Shelter conference in Washington, DC, USA.
  • 2008 – Research paper Gender and Education in Qld, Brisbane International Feminist Conference, QLD.

Jocelyn Bosse

Project title: The Role of the Law in the Circulation of the Kakadu Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana)

Supervisors: Professor Brad ShermanDr Allison FishDr Susannah Chapman

Biosketch: Jocelyn is a researcher in the ARC project, ‘Harnessing Intellectual Property to Build Food Security’. Her project examines the implementation of access and benefit sharing laws in Australia, pursuant to Article 8(j) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity 1992. It includes a detailed review of the biodiscovery frameworks in the States, Territories and Commonwealth, in light of the pressures for Australia to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The thesis will then explore access and benefit sharing regulation in the context of two case studies of partnership with Indigenous communities: the scientific and commercial research about Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana) and spinifex grass (Triodia pungens). Ultimately, the hope is to move beyond dichotomous thinking, to reconceptualise issues of access to and use of genetic resources in a manner that might promote food security, diffuse agricultural innovations, and ensure protection of the interests of both providers and users of resources and associated knowledge.

Jocelyn completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Queensland, where she obtained dual Bachelors of Science/Laws (Honours) with a concurrent Diploma of Languages (French). During her science studies, she conducted three undergraduate research projects in plant biology and agricultural science and graduated from the UQ Advanced Study Program in Science (ASPinS). Her interests are in the areas of intellectual property, public international law, and the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


  • Jocelyn Bosse, ‘Biopiracy in Queensland: A broken record that needs repair' (2016) 12(2) Trade Insight 35. Available at: http://www.sawtee.org/publications/Trade-Insight35.pdf
  • JH Mitchell, SL Zulkafli, J Bosse, B Campbell, P Snell, ES Mace, ID Godwin and S Fukai, ‘Rice-cold tolerance across reproductive stages’ (2016) 67(8) Crop and Pasture Science 823-833. doi:10.1071/CP15331

Mark Deng

Project title: Constitutional Transformations: Failure and Opportunity in Post-Independence South Sudan

Supervisors: Dr Caitlin GossProfessor Graeme Orr

Biosketch: Mark Deng is a refugee from South Sudan. He moved to Australia in 2003. He holds LLB from James Cook University and and LL.M from the University of Queensland.


Andrew Fell

Project title: Developing a Descriptive Approach to Legal Taxonomy

Supervisors: Professor Kit BarkerProfessor Ross Grantham

Biosketch: Andrew graduated with an LLB from the University of Queensland in 2015, and commenced his PhD in 2016. His research examines the concept of ‘coherence in the law’, as relied on by the High Court of Australia. It seeks to understand this concept and identify its possible normative foundations. He is interested in all aspects of private law and general legal theory, and has a sideline interest in moral philosophy and the theory of reasons.

Publications: Fell, Andrew, ‘The Concept of Coherence in Australian Private Law’ (2018) 41(3) Melbourne University Law Review (advance)

Lorraine Finlay

Lorraine Finlay

Project title: The Universal Franchise: The Protection of Voting Rights under the Australian Constitution

Supervisors: Professor James AllanProfessor Nicholas Aroney

Biosketch: Lorraine has been a law lecturer at Murdoch University since 2010.  She currently lectures in Constitutional Law and International Human Rights Law, and is also the Director of the Moot Program.

Before joining Murdoch University Lorraine worked as a State Prosecutor at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (WA) and at the High Court of Australia as the Legal Research Officer and then as an Associate to The Hon. Justice J D Heydon.  In 2009 she was selected as a Singapura Scholar with the NYU@NUS program and was awarded a dual LL.M from New York University and the National University of Singapore.

Lorraine’s PhD examines voting rights under the Australian Constitution and the extent to which the universal franchise is constitutionally protected.  In addition to constitutional law, Lorraine’s research interests include criminal law, international criminal law and public international law.


Recent publications include:

  • Lorraine Finlay & Tyrone Kirchengast, Criminal Law in Australia (LexisNexis, 2014).
  • Augusto Zimmermann & Lorraine Finlay, ‘Suri Ratnapala’s Contribution to the Understanding of the Rule of Law’ (2014) 33(2) University of Queensland Law Journal367.
  • Augusto Zimmermann & Lorraine Finlay, ‘A Forgotten Freedom: Protecting Freedom of Speech in an Age of Political Correctness’ (2014) 14 Macquarie Law Journal 185.
  • Lorraine Finlay, ‘The Power of the Purse: An Examination of Fiscal Federalism in Australia’ (2012) 24 Journal of Constitutional History 81.
  • Lorraine Finlay, ‘Indigenous Recognition: Some Issues’ in The Samuel Griffith Society, Upholding the Australian Constitution (Proceedings from the 24th Conference) (2012).


  • No Offence Intended: Why 18C is Wrong (Connor Court Publishing, 2016) (co-authored with Joshua Forrester & Do Augusto Zimmermann)
  • Criminal Law in Australia (LexisNexis, 2014) (co-authored with Dr Tyrone Kirchengast).

Book chapters

  • “Getting Back to Basics: Law-Making 101” in J. Allan (ed), Making Australia Right: Where to from here? (Connor Court Publishing, 2016).

Journal articles

  • “Addressing Obstacles to Cyber Attribution: A Model Based on State Response to Cyber Attack” (2017) 49 The George Washington International Law Review 535 (co-authored with Dr Christian Payne).
  • “An Opportunity Missed? A Constitutional Analysis of Proposed Reforms to Tasmania’s ‘Hate Speech’ Laws” (2016) 7 The West Australian Jurist 375 (co-authored with Joshua Forrester & Dr Augusto Zimmermann).
  • “Environmentally Sensitive Areas in Western Australia: Highlighting the Limits of the ‘Just Terms’ guarantee” (2016) 41(1) University of Western Australia Law Review 49.
  • “It’s a Small World (After All): The Role of International Bodies in Legislative Scrutiny” (2016) 7 The Western Australian Jurist 65.
  • “The McMullan Principle: Ministerial Advisors & Parliamentary Committees” (2016) 35(1) University of Tasmania Law Review 69.
  • “Protesting the Anti-Protest Laws: Will a Constitutional Challenge Succeed?” (2016) 31(3) Australian Environment Review 67 (co-authored with Professor Nicholas Aroney).

Rosemary Gibson

Project title: Express termination for breach clauses in commercial contracts: the legal nature and operational mechanics of such clauses under Australian law

Scholarship: The University of Queensland Research Scholarship (UQRS)

Supervisors: Professor Rick Bigwood, Professor Nick Gaskell, Dr Ryan Catterwell

Biosketch: Rosemary is a sessional lecturer at the University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law and is also an experienced commercial litigator. Her particular areas of expertise and interest are maritime and shipping law, private international law and insurance law.

Rosemary’s PhD seeks to identify and analyse the legal nature and operational mechanics of express termination for breach clauses found in modern commercial contracts. Such clauses set out the events or circumstances that enliven the power to terminate under the clause, usually provide for the mechanism the innocent party must follow in order to exercise the power, and in some cases set out the consequences of the exercise of the power, such as the quantum of damages payable by the party in breach. These clauses are of fundamental importance to contracting parties and are almost universally included in modern commercial contracts. However, the vast majority of academic writing in this area concerns the powers to terminate for breach that arise at common law. Rosemary’s thesis aims to fill this gap in the academic literature and provide recommendations for practitioners and contractual parties in relation to the drafting and mechanics of exercising express termination for breach clauses.

Rosemary holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Arts, and a Master of Laws from the University of Queensland.


  • Rosemary Gibson, ‘Cruise ship passenger contracts: the trip of a lifetime, or a voyage through clauses, conventions and confusion?’ (2018) 32(2) Australian & New Zealand Maritime Law Journal 17-35
  • Michael White QC and Rosemary Gibson, ‘Fisheries and the Automatic Forfeiture of Vessels: Draconian Commonwealth Laws’, (2010) 84 Australian Law Journal 319

Conference papers:

  • ‘Traditional Contract Law Concepts and Technological Change: Harmony or Discordance?’ presented at MLAANZ Annual Conference, Auckland New Zealand, 13 September 2019
  • ‘Cruise ship passenger contracts: the trip of a lifetime, or a voyage through clauses, conventions and confusion?’ presented at Global Shipping Law Forum, University of Queensland Brisbane, 4 July 2018
  • ‘Update from Australia: Key maritime and shipping law cases from 2016’, presented at MLAANZ Annual Conference, Noosa Queensland, 30 September 2016

Interests: Rosemary enjoys swimming, playing the violin, and listening to classical music.

Helen Gregorczuk 

Project title: Towards a new framework for the fair collection of personal information by the private sector in the age of big data and the internet of things

Supervisors: Dr Alan Gregory DavidsonMs Rebecca Jean Ananian-Welsh

Biosketch: Helen Gregorczuk has worked across Queensland and UK government as a policy advisor in access to information law, transport and disability services. She has also been a tutor in constitutional and administrative law at Griffith University law school, a parliamentary researcher, a privacy and information law specialist and compliance manager. She has also worked as a privacy consultant and occupied a variety of roles at the Queensland Information Commissioner and UK Information Commissioner’s Office. She has a specialism in information law, administrative law and environmental law and currently works in the governance branch of the Logan City Council. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees from QUT and spent a year as an undergraduate at University of Toronto.

Helen’s research is looking at the technologies being employed by bricks and mortar retailers to gather and analyse vast quantities of customer data in the context of the Privacy Act and questions whether a new framework for ‘fair collection’ of personal information is required given that many people are unaware that their data is being collected and even where they are aware, they often do not know for what purpose.

William Isdale

Project title: Native title compensation in Australia

Supervisors: Adjunct Professor Jonathan Fulcher, Adjunct Professor the Hon. Justice Andrew Greenwood

Biosketch: William is a lawyer in private practice in Brisbane. He graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) / Bachelor of Arts in 2016. In 2017-18 he was the Associate to the Hon. Justice Dowsett AM on the Federal Court of Australia. His research considers how the loss of native title rights should be compensated in Australian law. This is an emerging area of law following the High Court's first consideration of the topic in March 2019, in Northern Territory v Griffiths [2019] HCA 7. His thesis will offer a critical perspective on that decision and consider the future development of the law as it concerns a number of unresolved issues.


  • ‘Where to Next? Native Title Following Timber Creek’, with Aaron Moss, Australian Public Law Blog, 3 April 2019.
  • ‘Three proposals to increase Australia’s organ supply’, with Prof. Julian Savulescu (2015) 33(2) Monash Bioethics Review.
  • ‘Are there moral reasons to remember the First World War?’(2015) 14(41) Think 89-97.
  • ‘Pathologies in Queensland Law-Making: Repairing Political Constitutionalism’, with Prof. Graeme Orr (2014) 2(1) Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity.
  • ‘Bicameralism: an antipodean perspective’, with Prof. Nicholas Aroney (2014) Verfassungsblog: On Matters Constitutional.
  • ‘Responsible Government, Federalism and the School Chaplaincy Case: God’s okay, it’s Mammon that’s troublesome’, with Prof. Graeme Orr (2013) 38(1) Alternative Law Journal.

David James Jefferson

David James Jefferson

Project title: Buen Vivir: Agriculture, Food Sovereignty, and the Re-imagination of Intellectual Property in Ecuador

Supervisors: Professor Brad Sherman

Biosketch: David is a PhD candidate at the TC Beirne School of Law. David’s PhD project examines the theory, motivations, objectives, and expected impact of the new draft Ecuadorian intellectual property (IP) law, which is entitled the “Organic Code for the Social Knowledge and Innovation Economy of Ecuador” (the “Código Ingenios”). David’s research focuses especially on components of the Código Ingenios that are relevant to Andean agricultural practices, food sovereignty, and traditional knowledge. However, the project also broadly investigates how the Código could represent a redefinition – or reconceptualisation – of legal frameworks granting intellectual property rights, both within Ecuador, regionally, and internationally.

David holds a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the University of California and a Masters of Arts in Community Psychology from Suffolk University. David has conducted work in the area of intellectual property law for several years, including under the auspices of a United States Fulbright Scholar grant, and as a Law & Policy Analyst with the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA), based at the University of California, Davis. David has lived in worked in multiple countries, but has a particular interest in Latin America.


  • Jefferson, D. J., Fraire, I. S., & Beltrán-Morales, L. F. (2018). Intellectual Property and the Governance of Plant Genetic Resources in Mexico: Trends and Implications for Research and Innovation. In Mexican Natural Resources Management and Biodiversity Conservation (pp. 131-148). Springer, Cham.
  • *Jefferson, D. J. (2016, forthcoming). Ingenuity and the Re-Imagining of Intellectual Property: An Introduction to the Código Ingenios of Ecuador. European Intellectual Property Review.
  • *Jefferson, D. J. (28 de junio de 2016). Código Ingenios: La reconceptualización de la propiedad intellectual en la mitad del mundo. El Telégrafo. http://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/noticias/sociedad/4/codigo-ingenios-la-reconceptualizacion-de-la-propiedad-intelectual-en-la-mitad-del-mundo.
  • Alandete-Saez, M., *Jefferson, D. J., & Bennett, A. B. (2016). Intellectual Property in Agricultural Biotechnology: From Patent Thickets to Generics. In Intellectual Property Issues in Biotechnology (Singh, H.B., Jha, A., & Keswani, C., eds.). CABI, UK.
  • *Jefferson, D. J., & Padmanabhan, M. S. (2016). Recent Evolutions in Intellectual Property Frameworks for Agricultural Biotechnology: A Worldwide Survey. Asian Biotechnology and Development Review, 18(1), 17-37.
  • *Jefferson, D. J. (2015). Biosociality, Reimagined: A Global Distributive Justice Framework for Ownership of Human Genetic Material. Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property 14(2), 357-378.
  • *Jefferson, D. J., Graff, G. D., Chi-Ham, C. L., & Bennett, A. B. (2015). The Emergence of Agbiogenerics. Nature Biotechnology, 33(8), 819-823.
  • *Jefferson, D. J., Camacho, A. B., & Chi-Ham, C. L. (2014). Towards a Balanced Regime of Intellectual Property Rights for Agricultural Innovations. Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, 19(6), 395-403.
  • Jefferson, D. J. (2014). Development, Farmers’ Rights, and the Ley Monsanto: The Struggle Over the Ratification of UPOV 91 in Chile. IDEA: The Intellectual Property Law Review, 55(1), 31-78.
  • *Jefferson, D. J. & Harkins, D. A. (2011). “Hey, I’ve got a voice too!” Narratives of adversity, growth and empowerment. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 3(2), 104-128.

Katrina Kluss

Katrina Kluss

Project title: Towards the Ideal in a Nonideal World: A philosophical deconstruction and legislative reconstruction of the current animal‑property paradigm in Australia

Supervisors: Dr Justine Bell-James, Professor Jonathon Crowe (Bond University), Dr Steven White (Griffith University)

Biosketch: Katrina is a barrister at the private bar, practising primarily in the areas of insurance, employment law, administrative law, and wills and estates. 

Katrina’s thesis develops a theoretical framework relating to the categorisation of animals at law, and proposes ways in which this theory may be practically implemented into the Australian legal system. This framework ultimately provides for an expanded conception and application of legal personhood, by combining John Rawls’ ideal and non-ideal theory and Professor Steven Wise's scale of practical autonomy.


  • Clive Phillips and Katrina Kluss, “Animal Welfare vs Animal Rights”, in Colin Scanes and Samia Toukhsati (eds) Animals and Human Society (Elsevier, 2017).
  • Katrina Craig "Beefing Up the Standard: The Ramifications of Australia's Regulation of Live Export and Suggestions for Reform" (2013) 11 Macquarie Law Journal 51. 

Constance Lee

Constance Lee

Project title: Calvinist natural law and constitutionalism

Scholarship: Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)

Supervisors: Professor Nicholas AroneyProfessor Jonathan Crowe

Biosketch: Constance has completed her Masters of Laws and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Queensland. She was also admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2012 and continues to work as a licensed practitioner in the areas of criminal law, civil and commercial litigation.

As an academic, Constance has been a research associate and sessional tutor at the University of Queensland, teaching and researching mainly on the topics of Jurisprudence and Constitutional Law.

Constance’s PhD will examine natural law theory from a Reformed perspective with a view to identifying the moral foundations for constitutional law thought. It will begin by highlighting constitutionalism’s need for normative foundations. A detailed review of the new natural law approach to ethics will be undertaken with a view to examining the role it assigns to humans in moral and legal decision-making. This review will reveal that human rationality is allocated a significant role in the determination of moral validity. The reliance on human rationality fails to acknowledge the fallibility of humans. Subsequent chapters will explore the differing conceptions of human fallibility postulated by Thomist and Reformed approaches to natural law. The thesis will then go on to explore and apply the conception of human depravity, particularly as expounded by Augustine, to see what normative foundations it provides for the constitutional ideal of limiting government powers.


  • Constance Youngwon Lee, ‘Constitutional Silences and the Doctrine of Institutional Integrity’ in Rebecca Ananian-Welsh and Jonathan Crowe (eds) Judicial Independence in Australia (Federation Press, 2016) 124
  • Constance Youngwon Lee and Jonathan Crowe, ‘The Deafening Silence of the ‘Comfort Women’: A Response Based on Lyotard and Irigaray’ (2015) 2(2) Asian Journal of Law and Society 339
  • Jonathan Crowe and Constance Youngwon Lee, ‘Law as Memory’ (2015) 28(3) Law and Critique 251
  • Constance Youngwon Lee ‘Calvinist Natural Law and Constitutionalism’ (2014) 39 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 1
  • Constance Youngwon Lee, ‘Calvinist Natural Law and the Ultimate Good’ (2014) 5 The Western Australian Jurist 153
  • Constance Youngwon Lee and Jonathan Crowe, Review of Wen-Chen Chang, Li-ann Thio, Kevin YL Tan and Juiunn-rong Yeh, Constitutionalism in Asia: Cases and Materials [2014] LAWASIA Journal 125
  • Jonathan Crowe and Constance Youngwon Lee, Constitutionalism, power and equality in contemporary Korea [2013] LAWASIA Journal 113

Thi Mai Huong, Nong

Project title: Sustainable protection of fish biodiversity in the Mekong River: the role of international environmental law, and lessons from Australia

Scholarship: UQ Research Training Program (MPhil)

Supervisors: Dr. Justine Bell-JamesAssociate Professor Peter Billings

Biosketch: Prior to commencing her MPhil at UQ, Thi worked as a legal practitioner at The World Bank Vietnam Country Office and Baker & McKenzie Vietnam Ltd. She was the Associate Counsel of the legal team who won ‘The World Bank Group - East Asia and the Pacific Regional Award for Team Achievements’ twice (2014 and 2015). Thi holds a LLM degree by coursework from the University of Sydney (AusAid scholarship), and a LLB degree from the Vietnam National University (VNU merit scholarship). She has a particular interest in studies on the relationship between law and sustainable development.

Peta Stephenson

Peta Stephenson

Project title: Measuring the Metes and Bounds of Commonwealth Executive Power: Nationhood and Section 61 of the Constitution

Scholarship: University of Queensland Research Scholarship (UQRS)

Supervisors: Professor Nicholas Aroney, Professor Jonathan Crowe

Biosketch: Peta holds the degrees of Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts with an extended major in Political Science from the University of Queensland. Prior to commencing her PhD candidature, Peta practised in the area of commercial litigation at HopgoodGanim and is admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia. She has also worked as a policy officer with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra.

Peta is a Research Scholar with the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law and she also tutors constitutional law, jurisprudence and civil procedure at the University of Queensland.

Peta's PhD examines the scope of executive power, with a particular focus on the 'nationhood' power. In addition to constitutional law, Peta is interested in the areas of electoral law, public law, comparative law and jurisprudence.


  • Peta Stephenson, ‘Justice Mason in the Australian Assistance Plan Case (1975): Nationhood, Federalism and Commonwealth Executive Power’ in Andrew Lynch (ed) Great Australian Dissents (Cambridge University Press, 2016) 169-188
  • Peta Stephenson, ‘Review of Rosalind Dixon and George Williams (eds) The High Court, the Constitution and Australian Politics’ (2015) 33 Australian Yearbook of International Law 167-173
  • Peta Stephenson, ‘Fertile Ground for Federalism: Internal Security, the States and Section 119 of the Constitution’ (2015) 43(2) Federal Law Review 289-312
  • Jonathan Crowe and Peta Stephenson, ‘An Express Constitutional Right to Vote? The Case for Reviving Section 41’ (2014) 36(2) Sydney Law Review 205-230
  • Jonathan Crowe and Peta Stephenson, ‘Reimagining Fiscal Federalism: Section 96 as a Transitional Provision’ (2014) 33(1) University of Queensland Law Journal 221-231

Brooke Thompson

Brooke Thompson

Project title: The feasibility of legal pluralism in Australia's secular legal framework: Would Sharia inheritance laws be a viable exception?

Supervisors: Associate Professor Ann BlackAssociate Professor David Morrison

Biosketch: Many of Australia's growing number of Muslims feel strongly that Australia's secular laws do not adequately serve their religious interests.  In March 2013 the Inquiry into Migration and Multiculturalism in Australia was tabled.  In response to over one hundred submissions received by the Joint Standing Committee on Migration, an entire chapter of the Inquiry is dedicated to discussion of the compatibility of Australia's legal system with Sharia law.  The Committee was urged to consider three core areas: family law, succession and Halal certification.  This thesis focuses on researching the feasibility of legal pluralism in Australia's secular framework, and the possible introduction of Sharia inheritance law.  The project will evaluate the current make up of the Australian Muslim community, previous and past government's response to calls for legal pluralism, and the problems Muslims face regarding inheritance law in Australia.  A comparative study will be undertaken on three countries (India, Canada and the United Kingdom) with similar legal frameworks to that of Australia, in order to elucidate a possible working model for Queensland.  Finally, an analysis of both the theoretical and practical consequences of any system in Australia will be undertaken.

Brooke Thompson is currently working as a law graduate in the Major Projects & Infrastructure group at Corrs Chambers Westgarth.  Having previously completed her LLB at The University of Queensland, Brooke is undertaking research in the areas of Sharia law and legal pluralism at the Centre for Public, International, and Comparative law.  Brooke also has interests in Islamic banking and finance.

Karma Tshering

Project title: Self-Represented Defendants in Criminal Trials: A Comparative Study between Australia and Bhutan

Supervisors: Professor Heather Douglas, Associate Professor Francesca Bartlett

Biosketch: Karma Tshering is a PhD candidate at the T C Bernie School of Law, University of Queensland, Australia. Karma's PhD examines self-represented defendants in criminal trials in Bhutan through a comparative assessment of Australian experiences. The research investigates how self-representation in criminal trials in Bhutan, is and might be, managed to ensure a fair trial and justice vis-a-vis Australian experience.

Karma completed a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Legislative Law Honours at the NALSAR University of Law, India, a Postgraduate Diploma in National Law at the Royal Institute of Management, Bhutan, and a Master of Arts HSG in International Law at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. He joined the civil service of Bhutan as a qualified lawyer and worked in the Judiciary of Bhutan over six years as a Court Registrar. He is currently on study leave from Wangdiphodrang District Court where he was serving as a Senior Court Registrar.

Publications: Tshering, Karma, ‘Ideological Influence of Gross National Happiness on the Administration of Criminal Justice in Bhutan’ (2019) (1) Happiness Law Review <http://www.oib-france.com/la-revue-juridique-du-bonheu/the-ideological-influence-of-gross-national-happiness-on-the-administration-of-criminal-justice-in-bhutan/>.

Yan Xuan

Yan Xuan

Project title: China’s Maritime Arbitration System’s “Selective Adaptation” to International Legal Norms and Practice

Supervisors: Professor Craig ForrestProfessor Nick GaskellAssociate Professor Qiao Liu

Biosketch: Yan graduated from Henan University of Economics and Law in June 2013, with a Bachelor of Laws. After that, Yan completed his LL.M. at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in July 2014. His major was International Economic Law. Yan commenced his PhD at TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland since April 2015.

Yan chose his current topic because of his interests in the areas of maritime law, arbitration law and comparative law. Through his research, he is trying to find a way to improve China’s own maritime arbitration system through the analysis and study of the existing systems all over the world.

Behnaz Zarrabi

Behnaz Zarrabi

Project title: The Law of Exorcism: A Comparative Study of Religiously Motivated Homicide

Supervisors: Professor Simon BronittDr Saskia Hufnagel

Biosketch: In her doctoral research, Behnaz examines cases of religiously motivated homicide, in particular cases of death through the ritual of exorcism in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. One of the important contributions of her research is to develop a typology of religious violence and a framework to identify different manifestations of religiously motivated violence. Behnaz also holds a Bachelor in Law from Shahid Beheshti University, Iran (formerly known as National University of Iran), a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management from Central Queensland University, and a PhD Qualifying Certificate from Griffith University. Her thesis for the Qualifying Program was a comparative study of tolerant and extremist fatawa with regards to the sources of Islamic law. Alongside her studies, Behnaz has worked as a research assistant in several projects, and a teaching assistant for the Advanced Research course, one of the undergraduate courses taught at the TC Beirne School of Law. She presented her research in several international workshops and conferences including the International Oñati Institute for the Sociology of Law seminar series (Spain), Law and Social Sciences Network Conference (India) and the UCSIA Summer School on Religion, Culture and Society (Belgium). Her primary research interests are religiously motivated terrorism, religious rituals and violence, history of legal evidence and research methodologies.