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Sydney Law School welcomes new academic staff

19 February 2019
World-class research and teaching expands with four new appointments
Professor Jason Harris, Dr Derwent Coshott, Dr Joel Harrison and Dr Gemma Turton recently joined the Sydney Law School, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience from careers in Australia and around the world.

Their collective areas of specialisation span many topics, including corporate law, equity, property and commercial law, constitutional law, public law and tort law.

We asked them to share some of their experiences, research motivations, and what excites them about the future of the profession and legal education.

Professor Jason Harris

Professor Jason Harris

Professor Jason Harris
BA LLB (WSU) LLM (ANU) FGIA FCIS

Jason is a Professor of Corporate Law. He teaches and researches in the areas of Corporate Law, Insolvency Law, Commercial Law and Contracts. Jason's research is focused on the public and private regulation of financially distressed companies, including debt restructuring, voluntary administration, corporate governance and directors’ duties during financial distress and the regulation of corporate groups.

“Corporations are pervasive throughout society and they touch virtually every aspect of our modern lives. I enjoy researching and teaching in corporate law because it is so diverse, from small family business, not-for-profits and charities, to large public companies. Although we teach that companies are distinct legal entities, corporate law is really about people and their business and commercial relationships with others. Corporate law is a rapidly changing field, with emerging issues in technology and the law."

"The future of the legal profession will change significantly from what traditional legal practice has involved. Technological change, shifting client expectations and increased competition will require lawyers be more agile and to offer a broader range of services, from discount automated services right up to full service offerings. It’s an exciting time to be graduating from law school because there are so many ways to use your law degree and there are so many important social issues that need the sort of complex problem solving and analytical skills that law graduates can provide.”
Professor Jason Harris

Dr Derwent Coshott

Dr Derwent Coshott

Dr Derwent Coshott
BA (Dist) (UNSW) JD (Syd) GradDipLegalPrac (ColLaw) LLM PhD (Syd)

Dr Derwent Coshott is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School. His primary field of interest is in the use and development of trust structures throughout the world. His research is particularly focused on how the trust is utilised internationally as a legitimate tool of commerce, and as an illegitimate device in the context of illegal financial conduct. Derwent currently teaches in the areas of equity, property and contract, and has taught courses in the subjects of conveyancing, civil and criminal procedure, business law and international financial crime.

"Lawyers have to participate in an increasingly internationalised legal context in which the common law and equity of Australia and England have no direct analogues. In order to facilitate international commerce in this environment, lawyers need to better understand how the laws of their own home jurisdictions function, and how to translate these into foreign legal systems. This kind of comparative understanding is something that can only be gained by having a firm conceptual understanding of how the laws of our own jurisdiction work. This is fundamental not just for our students' success into the future, but also what motivates me in my own area of research into trusts and how they operate on an international scale.”
Dr Derwent Coshott

Dr Joel Harrison

Dr Joel Harrison

Dr Joel Harrison
BA LLB (Hons) Auckland MSt DPhil (Oxford)

Dr Joel Harrison specialises in constitutional law and public law. His research concerns constitutionalism, religious liberty, human rights norms and theological jurisprudence. Recent publications have concerned the justification for religious liberty; religious liberty debates within Australia; the reception of human rights discourse within religious communities; and sovereignty.

"What it means to be part of the legal profession has expanded. Someone with a law degree can (and often must) take on a wide range of roles, and this is good. Each role is hopefully still always orientated by a sense of public purpose, and law students should bring to these an understanding of institutions, value for the person and a desire to serve the common good. This means, I think, that they should be deeply intellectual – students and graduates should engage with texts (of various kinds) passionately and love learning. A broad capacity to do so will help them to reflect on institutions, the law and its underpinnings.  It also means they should be capable of persuasively and respectfully debating – and acting towards – what is our common good, or what makes for flourishing communities, and understanding how they may contribute to that as law graduates."

"I enjoy the thrill of learning and wrestling with a text or piece of writing, which I hope is imparted to my students. In my own research, I’m interested in thinking through what it means to have just relationships, communities and institutions. I’m particularly interested in understanding disagreements, and how through these we can nevertheless contribute to a shared life and shared goods."
Dr Joel Harrison

Dr Gemma Turton

Dr Gemma Turton

Dr Gemma Turton
LLB (Hons) Law with French (Birmingham), PhD (Birmingham), FHEA

Dr Gemma Turton has joined the University of Sydney Law School as a Senior Lecturer, having previously worked at the University of Leicester (UK). Her research expertise is in causation in negligence and her monograph, Evidential Uncertainty in Causation in Negligence, was published by Hart Publishing in 2016. Gemma’s broader research and teaching interests are in the law of obligations, with a particular focus on the intersections between tort law and other areas of law including the law of property, criminal law, medical law,and human rights law.

“My research is in tort law which is concerned with the rights and duties we have towards one another, touching on many aspects of everyday life, and I hope to pass my passion for the subject on to my students. I am from the UK and have been fortunate to have the opportunity to study overseas and now to live and work here in Sydney. Since our students will be entering a global market I would encourage them to take advantage of the opportunities to participate in competitions and overseas study as these are invaluable both in terms of life experience and in gaining a broader perspective on legal issues.”
Dr Gemma Turton

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