Sydney Law School Enjoys Research Success

5 November 2016

Congratulations to Professor Helen Irving and Professor Luke Nottage.
Congratulations to Professor Helen Irving and Professor Luke Nottage.

The recent announcement of the Australian Research Council's grants for 2017 highlighted Sydney Law School's diversity and strength in legal research.

Constitutional Law expert, Professor Helen Irving and Consumer Protection Law expert, Professor Luke Nottage were both awarded funding to explore Allegiance and Australian Citizenship, and Product Regulation and Child Safety respectively.

The result reflects Sydney Law School's international leadership in legal research and education and its ranking of 11th in the world by the QS World Rankings for Law.

Allegiance and Citizenship in Australian Law and History

Professor Irving's project aims to identify a coherent and stable concept of allegiance in Australian law.

"In recent years, citizenship allegiance has attracted major, often urgent, attention in Australia, as in many parts of the world," said Professor Irving, 'with challenges arising from growing population diversity and increasing dual nationality and, in particular, the phenomenon of 'home grown' terrorism conducted by citizens whose self proclaimed allegiance lies outside their own state.

"What does 'allegiance' mean today?

"What, if anything does it require of the citizen?"

Professor Irving said we apply the concept of allegiance in Australian Law, but lack a clear sense of its meaning, something she hopes her research will help clarify.

"The Constitution makes no provision for Australian citizenship, but it does include three express references to allegiance.

"These provisions constitutionalise allegiance, but do not provide direct guidance as to its nature."

Professor Helen Irving is one of Australia's leading legal experts in Australian Constitutional Law and Constitutional History and Theory.

She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and her recent research projects include the history of constitutional citizenship and gender.

Evaluating consumer product regulatory responses to improve child safety

Professor Luke Nottage is part of this project which aims to quantify the level of similarity between consumer product regulatory practices and child injuries, and compare national approaches. The project is led by Associate Professor Kirsten Vallmuur (QUT) and also involves Professor Rebecca Ivers from the University of Sydney and The George Institute, Professor James Harrison (Flinders) and Dr Ruth Barker (Mater Hospital).

"Consumer product safety regulation operates in a global and 'virtual' market," he said.

"Online purchasing, limited border protection and distance between suppliers and consumers make monitoring and enforcing product safety more difficult for regulators, putting consumers at risk.

"We will compare especially consumer product regulator responses with hospital incident data to determine whether and how regulatory frameworks should be improved."

Professor Nottage said that the main comparison is between Australia and the US, but the project will draw also on developments in Asia.

He added that a rapid responsive product safety system that operates across sectors and borders is an international priority.

"This project expects to close gaps in consumer regulatory practice and safety policy," he said.

Professor Nottage recently provided a submission to the Governement's forthcoming review of Australian Consumer Law, due next year.

"The requirement that a consumer initiate court action to sue for compensation where harm has resulted from an unsafe product is too costly and difficult for many consumers," his submission read.

"Court actions have become a less attractive option as they are uncertain and can take many years, especially where foreign goods or parties are involved."

Professor Nottage's submission formed part of the Government Inquiry Interim Report.

Professor Nottage's consumer product safety law projects in South East Asia also formed the basis of the successful ARC grant, details of which are available in the 2015 and 2016 South East Asia Centre.

Professor Luke Nottage is Professor of Comparative and Transnational Business Law and Co Director of the Australian Network for Japanese Law.

He specialises in arbitration, contract law, consumer product safety law and corporate governance, with a particular interest in Japan and the Asia Pacific.

The result also highlights the fact that Sydney Law School's research is recognised as "well above world standard" by the Australian Research Council (ARC) in the most recent Excellence for Research in Australia (ERA) outcomes report.