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Barbara Mescher

Barbara Mescher

BJuris LLB LLM UNSW; Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales
Lecturer

Rm 529
H69 - Codrington Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Telephone +61 2 9351 6633
Fax +61 2 9351 7473
barbara.mescher@sydney.edu.au

Bio

Barbara Mescher is a lecturer in significant areas for business: securities regulation and corporate governance; as well as business and professional ethics.Barbara was a corporate lawyer for some years, in a medium sized law firm, before becoming an academic. She has continued to engage with the legal profession over several years, as a member of legal practitioner policy committees of the Law Society of NSW.This is the lawyers’ professional body. The work of these committees: Corporate Lawyers’ Committee; and the Ethics Committee, gives guidance to the Law Society and its members.

Barbara is in the process of finalising her PhD on corporate lawyers and their public listed company clients.These lawyers and their clients have important roles in the business world that impact upon national economies and the community.Their conduct involves key legal, professional and business issues in corporate enterprises.

Barbara is an enthusiastic teacher bringing theoretical knowledge and practical experience to her teaching.She is also involved in developing her students’ research ability.Barbara has given guest lectures at the University of Bologna, Italy, and the University of New South Wales and uses this experience to enrich her teaching at the University of Sydney.Barbara has a commitment to teaching and has created new units of study for the School of Business, in both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Research Interests

Barbara Mescher has a commitment to research. Her research interests are issues encountered by corporate lawyers, both in-house and in major law firms, and concern their public listed company clients.

These issues include: the nature of corporate law with its legal abstractions, the primary one being the abstract entity at law of the company, but others include financial instruments. There are also multiple legal issues such as conflicts of interest within the client – especially in company groups. There are other conflicts and these are within law firms. Further conflicts exist between in-house lawyers and their company employer.

The complexity of the commercial matters in which corporate clients are involved demonstrates the limitations of corporate law and fiduciary law. These issues are a concern to the listed company clients and their directors as they become corporate governance issues. Corporate law advice must provide adequate solutions to them, a difficult task, when aspects of the law are unsatisfactory.

The legal and commercial matters raise ethical concerns too, for both lawyers and their clients. Lawyers’ professional ethics and the clients’ business ethics are challenged as lawyers and clients seek to comply with their ethical obligations. These are important commercially and are legally relevant areas of research. There are many examples of some of our major listed companies breaching the law or ethics, or both, and causing widespread economic damage to the corporate client, its shareholders, other stakeholders, and the community generally. Cases such as Enron Corporation, James Hardie Industries Limited, and more generally the global financial crisis, involve some or all of these issues.

These matters also cause reputation damage to the corporate entity itself. Reputation is a valuable corporate asset and its loss or diminution also impacts upon the entity’s corporate governance. Lawyers too suffer reputation loss if their advice may be linked to company decisions that breach the law or are unethical. This may cause the wider community to lose faith in its major companies.  These areas of research are, therefore, supported by corporate clients and their lawyers as the adverse consequences of legal and ethical breaches continue to justify further research.

2018

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 2018 'Lawyers' Professional Ethics: Where are the Ethics?', Journal of Professional Negligence, vol.34:1, pp. 21-37

2017

5
Conference Paper/s

Mescher B 2017 'Ethics for Corporate Lawyers: Positivist or Moral Conception?', Centre for Law, Markets and Regulation Annual Research Symposium, Sydney, Australia, 24th November 2017

Mescher B 2017 'Lawyers and the Challenges of Legal Ethics', Society of Legal Scholars 108th Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 9th September 2017

2015

2
Book Section/s

Mescher B 2015 'Business Ethics' in LexisNexis Quick Reference Card, Lexis Asia Pacific, Australia

5
Conference Paper/s

Mescher B 2015 'Corporate Lawyers and Legal Advice: Crossing the Boundaries of Professional Ethics', University of Birmingham Symposium "Corporate Lawyers and Corporate Clients", Birmingham, United Kingdom, 30th June 2015

2014

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 2014 'Applied Ethics and Its Contribution to Lawyers' Professional Ethics', Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics, vol.14:2, pp. 90-98

11
Seminar Paper/s

Mescher B 2014 'Professional Ethics and the Legal Profession lecture to Law Faculty staff, PhD students, and legal practitioners, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy October 2014

Mescher B 2014 'Legal and Ethical Decision-Making by Company Directors: Seminar for business ethics undergraduate students, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, 7 October 2014 [Link]

2013

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B and Bondfield B 2013 'Corporate Groups and the Duty of Directors : To Act in their Company’s Best Interests', Journal of Applied Research in Accounting and Finance, vol.8:2, pp. 2-12 [Link]

2012

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 2012 'Market Integrity and Disclosure Quality: Financial Forecasts in Prospectuses', Journal of Applied Research in Accounting and Finance, vol.7:1, pp. 23-32 [Link]

2011

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 2011 'The Law, Stakeholders and Ethics: Their Role in Corporate Governance', Macquarie Journal of Business Law, vol.8, pp. 37-53

Mescher B 2011 'Ethics in Business and the Professions', Business and Professional Ethics Group 2010-2011, pp. 15-18

6
Conference Proceeding/s

Mescher B 2011 'Law and Business: The Challenges for Scientists', Proceedings of the Advances in Business-Related Scientific Research Conference ABSRC 2011, Venice, Italy, 3rd June 2011

11
Seminar Paper/s

Mescher B 2011 'The Law, Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy, 27 May 2011

2010

4
Journal Article/s

Dang MN and Mescher B 2010 'Directors and the Ethics Components of their Duties', Macquarie Journal of Business Law, vol.7, pp. 1-14

Mescher B 2010 'Business Ethics is a Management Concern', Review of Management Innovation and Creativity, vol.3:7, pp. 47-58

Freehafer S and Mescher B 2010 'The Teaching of Business Ethics Part I: Curriculum Development Goals, Topics and Assessment', Review of Higher Education and Self-Learning, vol.3:6, pp. 20-31

Freehafer S and Mescher B 2010 'The Teaching of Business Ethics Part II: Teaching Methods and Assessment', Review of Higher Education and Self-Learning, vol.3:6, pp. 108-118

Mescher B 2010 'A Management Concern: The Important Role of Ethics in Business', Proceedings of Intellectbase International Consortium-Intellectual Perspectives & Multi-Disciplinary Foundations Conference, vol.11, pp. 131-139

5
Conference Paper/s

Mescher B 2010 'Stakeholder Management, Ethics and Business Strategy: Examining the Priorities', 3rd Bergamo-Wharton Joint Conference 2010 - "Stakeholder Theory(ies): Ethical Bases, Managerial Applications, Conceptual Limits", Bergamo, Italy, 2nd July 2010

6
Conference Proceeding/s

Mescher B 2010 'A Management Concern:  The Important Role of Ethics in Business', Proceedings of Intellectbase International Consortium-Intellectual Perspectives & Multi-Disciplinary Foundations Conference, Nashville, United States, 29th May 2010

2009

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 2009 'Book Review: Corporate Citizenship, Contractarianism and Ethical Theory: On Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics’ by Jesus Conill, Christoph Luetge and Tatjana Schonwalder-Kuntze (eds)', Australian Journal of Corporate Law, vol.23:2, pp. 195-200

Mescher B 2009 'Enhancing Ethics in Legal Practice: Applying the Ethical Principles in Lawyers’ Professional Codes', Review of Management Innovation and Creativity-RMIC, vol.2:1, pp. 39-50

Mescher B 2009 'Reflective thinking can be the key to best decisions: The Statement of Ethics and the law in practice', Law Society Journal, vol.47:6, pp. 38-9

Mescher B 2009 'Business Ethics and The Law of Contract', Journal of Law and Financial Management, vol.8:2, pp. 8-12

6
Conference Proceeding/s

Mescher B and Freehafer S 2009 'Business Ethics: The Challenges of Curriculum Development, Teaching, and Assessment', 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Business, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, 15th June 2009

2008

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 2008 'The Business of Commercial Legal Advice and the Ethical Implications for Lawyers and Their Clients', Journal of Business Ethics, vol.81:4, pp. 913-26

5
Conference Paper/s

Mescher B 2008 'Ethical Decision-Making in Legal Practice', 3rd International Legal Ethics Conference-Griffith University, Gold Coast QLD, Australia, 17th July 2008

6
Conference Proceeding/s

Mescher B 2008 'Ethics in Legal Practice: An Oxymoron?', Proceedings of Intellectbase International Consortium- Intellectual Perspectives & Multi-Disciplinary Foundations, Las Vegas NV, United States, 19th December 2008

2007

5
Conference Paper/s

Mescher B and Coleman CF 2007 'Taxation Practitioners and Corporate Governance: The role of ethics in taxation advice to directors', Tax Research Network 16th Annual Conference, United Kingdom, 7th September 2007

2006

2
Book Section/s

Coleman CF and Mescher B 2006 'Ethics: An important consideration for Tax Professionals' in Further Global Challenges in Tax Administration, ed. M.McKerchar and M.Walpole, Fiscal Publications, Birmingham, United Kingdom, pp. 135-58

5
Conference Paper/s

Mescher B 2006 'Teaching Ethics to Accounting Students: Meeting the Challenges of a New Discipline', Accounting Educators Forum, Charles Sturt University and CPA Australia, Sydney, Australia, 24th November 2006

Mescher B 2006 'Law: A profession in crisis', Legal Ethics: Professional Ethics and Personal Integrity, Auckland, New Zealand, 25th June 2006

Mescher B and Coleman CF 2006 'Ethics: An important consideration for tax professionals', 7th International Conference on Tax Administration, Sydney, Australia, 21st April 2006

10
Report/s

Mescher B 2006 'Ethics and integrity in tax compliance',

2005

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B and Howieson B 2005 'Beyond compliance: Promoting ethical conduct by directors and corporations', Corporate Governance Law Review, vol.1:1, pp. 93-113

Mescher B 2005 'Directors and accountants and the obligation to ensure proper accounts are kept', Financial Reporting, Regulation and Governance, vol.4:2

Mescher B 2005 'Company directors and company accounts: Can accountants or accounting standards be trusted?', Butterworths Corporations Law Bulletin:1

5
Conference Paper/s

Mescher B 2005 'Company directors, accountants and company solvency', Australian Accountants and Lawyers Conference, Whistler, Canada, 15th January 2005

2004

10
Report/s

Mescher B 2004 'Submission: Inquiry into Australian Accounting Standards', Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services

2002

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 2002 'Powers of the takeovers panel and their effect upon ASIC and the court', The Australian Law Journal, vol.76, pp. 119-39

1998

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 1998 'Company directors knowledge of the insolvent trading provisions', Insolvency Law Journal, vol.6, pp. 186

1996

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 1996 'Personal liability of company directors for company debts', Australian Law Journal, vol.70, pp. 837

1994

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 1994 'Regulation of takeovers by the corporations and securities panel: The occurrence of unacceptable circumstances', Australian Journal of Corporate Law, vol.4, pp. 90

1990

4
Journal Article/s

Mescher B 1990 'Promise enforcement by common law or equity', Australian Law Journal, vol.64, pp. 536

Recent Units Taught

  • CLAW2203 Regulation of Securities Markets

    2017: S1,
    2016: S1,

  • CLAW2207 Business, Ethics and the Law

    2016: S2,