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Research_

Justice, legal process and the profession

Confronting the changing nature of the legal profession

Our team is engaged in a wide range of doctrinal and interdisciplinary and empirical research. 

Our vision

We aim to promote access to justice and equality before the law. Our interdisciplinary research evaluates and brings about changes that improve the legal system and delivery of justice. This includes work on:

  • criminal justice reform and practice
  • litigation and evidentiary challenges
  • legal education, the legal profession and legal services delivery
  • social justice, advocacy and alternative dispute resolution.

Our work

Our research engages with current debates and addresses gaps in access to justice, social justice and the evaluation and reform of legal and justice processes, as well as the challenges facing a rapidly changing legal profession and legal services marketplace.

Professor Simon Rice is a leading Australian scholar with extensive experience in poverty law, human rights and discrimination law. Associate Professor Rita Shackel's research is well recognised for its specific focus on access to justice for children and women, and the needs of victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and abuse. Professor Peter Cashman and Miiko Kumar are highly esteemed scholars and practitioners with expertise in litigation, advocacy and expert evidence. Dr Carolyn McKay is conducting outstanding research on access to justice and technologies in courtrooms and prisons. Professor David Hamer is a leading scholar on the theory and practice of evidence and proof, particularly in the areas of wrongful convictions and prosecuting sexual assault.

Our impact

The group has made sigficant contributions to evaluation of legal processes and law reform. For example:

  • members of the group have had a significant role in the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, writing a number of reports between them
  • Associate Professor Rita Shackel is currently involved in a four-year ARC-funded research program on prosecutorial discretion in child sexual abuse cases and in evaluating a NSW Government pilot program to assess the role of witness intermediaries and other measures in facilitating the process for child witnesses
  • Professor David Hamer and colleagues are constructing WrongTrac – Australia’s National Exoneration Registry – which will provide publicly available data on all of Australia’s exonerations during the last several decades. This will be an invaluable resource for criminal procedure reform and, in conjunction with overseas counterparts, comparative research on criminal justice.
  • Dr Carolyn McKay is involved in the Audio Visual Link project conducted by the Designing Out Crime research centre and the NSW Department of Justice, examining the impacts of communication technologies on access to justice from prison.

Our experts