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Private law: tort, contracts, equity and property

Where the individual and the state collide

We promote research, scholarship and engagement in these fields in their historical and modern contexts. 

Our vision

To promote a rigorous doctrinal and applied understanding of the fundamental fields of private law -  tort, contract, equity and property law - encompassing both common law and statutory law, and including interaction with related fields of law such as private international law, commercial law, public law, corporate law, intellectual property and media law.

Our work

Private law in the four fields identified above governs the property (both real and personal), the obligations and liabilities, and the rights and remedies of individuals and legal entities.

Unlike public law, which focuses on the relationship between the state and the individual or between government bodies, private law focuses on the relationships between these entities as private actors. In this context, a legal entity could be a corporation or a public body. Essentially, private law answers the questions: “What do I own and how can I use and protect it?” and “What do I owe?”

Individually and collectively our work in private law comprises teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students, supervising honours and doctoral theses, research, writing articles and books, leading or contributing to federal and state government enquiries on law reform, advising and commenting in the media on current issues, providing legal education to the profession and industry groups, and speaking at national and international conferences in private law and applied and related fields.

Our experts