2014 Individual Responsibility and the Law Essay Prizes

10 March 2014

2014 Individual Responsibility and the Law Essay Prizes
2014 Individual Responsibility and the Law Essay Prizes

The Essay Prize Competition is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate law students at the University of Sydney. The judging panel is looking for an innovative and insightful paper and deep levels of research. Please read the Terms of Reference which set the criteria for the essay and which must be adhered to.

The prize is $3,000 and up to 3 prizes of $3,000 will be awarded depending on the quality of the papers.

The purpose of the prize/s is to support and promote individual responsibility and the law in terms of intellectual enquiry, public discussion and private practice. No disadvantage will attach to essays expressing views which might be described as unfashionable, non-conforming or contrarian.

Essayists must submit their proposed topic and a précis (one paragraph) of their work by Friday, 6 June 2014. Essays are to be handed in by Friday, 8 August 2014. Essays should be provided in electronic (.docx) format.

All submissions must be made to

Winning entries may be published on the Sydney Law School website. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 19, 2014.

The word limit is 6,000 words.

You can download the Terms of Reference below.

While examples of criminal behaviour are an obvious topic, essayists should not feel limited to this field and are urged to think and search broadly for their material. In the complex, closely-connected world which supports and enables our present lives, individual responsibility can, does and must extend well beyond the individual. The following are some suggested areas of focus for 2014.


The responsibility of individuals in positions of power and authority for the actions of their subordinates, and the consequences. Recent examples could include:

- churches and other organisations linked to child abuse

- banks and financial companies linked to losses by their clients

- the press (eg, phone-hacking and associated activity in the UK)

- corporations involved in processes and/or products linked to human injury or even death (eg, asbestos, tobacco, etc.)


Individuals who voluntarily assume responsibility beyond what is expected or required; and the consequences for themselves and others. This is an area of particular interest.


The individual's responsibility for the following situations, and their consequences:

- chronic "lifestyle" diseases such as obesity, diabetes, smoking, etc.

- individuals undertaking activities known to be high-risk (eg, boxing)

- individuals undertaking activities not known/not understood to be high-risk (eg, swimming outside the flags).

Download the poster

Download the Terms of Reference

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 3f13203d66240f3f2a2d0715024037391949533a125647083642781647