We promote research, scholarship and engagement in these fields in their historical and modern contexts.
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.
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.
Private law scholarship has been acknowledged as a research strength of Sydney Law School since its inception. Over many decades, our academics have produced leading treatises on all aspects of private law. Examples include
Our scholars are regularly invited to speak at leading international conferences and to contribute to discussion of possible changes to the law. Private law at Sydney Law School is also renowned for fostering talent in emerging scholars. Current members of the group continue the tradition of excellence in private law research and scholarship and are recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in their fields: