Swinburne Law School aims to transform the legal industry and shape lives and communities through evidence based research. We are committed to encouraging, supporting and investing in high quality research and development with close industry and community engagement to increase our capability and impact.

Key research areas

Research at the Swinburne Law School is focused on our core strengths. Through this focused approach we can concentrate our human and technical resources to create real change in the world.

Our research addresses the understanding, creation, use and exploitation of intellectual property and emerging technologies. International and interdisciplinary in nature, we draw on mixed research methods (including legal theory and empirical studies) to guide law reform and generate evidence-based policy.

We have a particular research focus on intellectual property law, with experts on copyright, trademarks, branding and advertising, patents in the pharmaceutical industry and relationship between IP and competition law.

Our current partners include:

Linked projects

Empirical studies of intellectual property registration regimes

We are conducting empirical studies on intellectual property registration practices in Australia and around the world. This research draws on IP Australia’s Intellectual Property Government Open Database, and databases from international intellectual property offices including the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore and Japan.

Effects of new technologies on consumers

Our research includes quantitative and qualitative studies into the effects of new technologies on consumers. We are investigating issues around Google search, consumer data and consumer profiling.

Relationship between existing IP systems and emerging technologies

We are investigating the law's response to emerging technologies - from the use of AI in the boardroom to intellectual property law.

New frontiers of legal technology and legal design

Our research aims to bring together researchers, lawyers, designers and technologists working side-by-side to advance the frontier of legal technology and innovation. This research draws upon principles of design thinking and computation law to bringing new levels of legal efficiency, transparency, and access to legal systems.

Translating privacy theory and children’s rights into practice

This project builds on theoretical research into privacy and children’s rights, using empirical and qualitative research methods to test the potential of such theory to inform and influence policy and practice in areas including family law, child protection, healthcare and education.

Sentencing and criminal justice is a key research area of the Swinburne Law School.

Our research aims to influence government policy and judicial case-law through implementing reforms that will make sentencing and the criminal justice system fairer and more efficient. 

This commitment to fair and equitable justice is also reflected in the work of Swinburne Law School with a key research partner, Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy (Ltd). Alongside this not-for-profit partner, Swinburne Law supports projects to build the evidence base for legal reform to sexual consent and rape law to address the recognised shortcomings of the criminal justice system as a mechanism of responding to sexual violence.  

Our partners include:

Linked Projects

Evidence-Based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project

The Evidence-Based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project aims to makes sentencing fairer and more efficient through innovative law reform. The focus of the Project is to provide solutions to the following problems:

  • Reducing incarceration levels in Australia and the United States, by implementing new criminal sanctions which track the actions and movements of offenders.
  • The over-representation of Indigenous Australians and African Americans in prison.
  • The need for the sentencing system to abandon the pursuit of objectives that are unattainable, such as general and specific deterrence.
  • The need to making the sentencing system more transparent and predictable.
Reasonable Belief in Consent?: Problems and Possibilities for Affirmative Consent Law in Australia

This project aims to generate knowledge and understanding of rape law and rape law reform and interrogate affirmative consent standards as they operate in rape trials across Australia. This work is particularly pertinent in the current socio-political climate, where there is increasing social pressure and political appetite for rape law reform.

Corporate governance and commercial law is a key research area of the Swinburne Law School.

The evolution and wider global context of corporate governance in Australia acts as a function of social and technological change. We research efficient technological solutions to meet the changing nature of compliance and supervision. We also study the impact of disruption and social change on models of corporate governance.

Linked projects

Board diversity and remuneration

We are aiming to provide new and richer insights into the issue of female representation on ASX listed companies. To achieve this we are undertaking network analysis in these companies in association with the Social Network Lab within Swinburne Centre for Transformative Innovation and academics from the Swinburne Business School. 

Regulation and public enforcement

This project will provide in-depth insights and understanding into the ways ASIC (companies regulator) and APRA (banking regulator) use their powers and take action against parties who breach the laws they administer. It involves empirical studies of socio-legal analysis of the public enforcement of Australia’s corporate and banking executive accountability laws.

AI, technology and data governance in the boardroom

We aim to have greater clarity of the role and impact of new technologies, and pursue opportunities for their development and use. In particular, we are researching the expanding role of AI and technology in corporate governance and data governance.

Disruption and social change

Disruption and social change often lead to a reassessment of corporate governance and commercial law. An ongoing field of research interest of the Swinburne Law School is to consider current manifestations of disruption and social change and its implications for corporate governance and commercial law.

Current issues considered under this focus area include shareholder stewardship; social license to operate, legal aspects relating to integrated reporting; and corporate purpose and transnational commercial law.

Commercial law and financial regulation

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (2018-2019) has focused attention on the regulation of banking, insurance, superannuation and financial services. An ongoing field of research interest of the Swinburne Law School is the operation and design of the current regulation, the scope for improvement, and more effective enforcement of corporate regulation and commercial law.

Current issues considered under this focus area include banking, insurance, superannuation and the regulation of financial markets.

Explore more

  • A History of Intellectual Property in 50 Objects. Claudy Op den Kamp and Dan Hunter (eds.), 2019. With contributions from Amanda Scardamaglia, Mitchell Adams, Jessica Lake, Beth Webster, Tom Spurling and Terry Healy.
  • Printed on Stone: The Lithographs of Charles Troedel.  Scardamaglia, Amanda; 2020. This book is the first to document the visual history of print advertising in Australia and in so doing provides a valuable illustrated social history of Australia.
  • Kingsley, Jeremy J. ; 2018. Religious Authority and Local Governance in Eastern Indonesia.
  • Mirko Bagaric, Dan Hunter and Colin Loberg, ‘Introducing Disruptive Technology to Criminal Sanctions: Punishment by Computer Monitoring to Enhance Sentencing Fairness and Efficiency’ (2019) 84 BROOKLYN LAW REVIEW 1127-1286 (Q1).
  • Locke, Natania and Bird, Helen Louise, Perspectives on the Current and Imagined Role of Artificial Intelligence and Technology in Corporate Governance Practice and Regulation (February 9, 2020). Australian Journal of Corporate Law, 2020.

Swinburne Law School welcomes students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

We have academics working across the areas of intellectual property, regulatory studies, financial law, sentencing and criminal justice, gendered violence, legal anthropology and other related research areas. Explore our research areas to find a potential supervisor for your chosen area of research.

View our course page for a full list of our law courses. 

Our events

We regularly hold lectures and seminars for students, researchers and industry on legal topics. For more events and further information, please visit Swinburne's events page.

Date  Event  Speaker  Presentation 
16 December 2020 Enabling Children’s Voices in Family Law Proceedings: Concepts, Challenges and Opportunities

Justice Joshua Wilson, Family Court of Australia

Darren Mort, Barrister and Founder of To Be Loved Network

Dr Georgina Dimopoulos, Swinburne University of Technology

Senior Registrar Rohan Hoult, Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Learn more

Watch the video

6 November 2020 Spotlight on the Discrimination Against Indigenous Australians in the Criminal Justice System

Professor Mirko Bagaric, Dean of Swinburne Law School

Joshua Creamer, Barrister-at-law, Griffith Chambers

Dr Gracelyn Smallwood OAM, National Indigenous Postvention Advocate

Nerita Waight, CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

Dr Justin Trounson, PhD (Clinical Psychology) MAPS, Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science

Facilitated by Professor Andrew Gunstone, Executive Director, Reconciliation Strategy and Leadership, and Executive Director, Moondani Toombadool Centre, Swinburne University of Technology

Learn more

Watch the video

12 August 2020 Transitioning from COVID-19: A Corporate Governance Perspective

Peggy O’Neil AO, president of the Richmond Football Club and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

Iris Davila, Head of BlackRock Investment Stewardship team in Australia and member of BlackRock Australia's Board and SteerCo Committees

Suneeta Sidhu, leader of the Governance team in ASIC’s Supervision Group

Facilitated by Helen Bird, corporate governance expert at Swinburne University of Technology

29 April 2020 The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on intellectual property and law and technology

Benjamin Mitra-Kahn, General Manager and Chief Economist, Policy and Governance, IP Australia

Robyn Chatwood, head of the Dentons Australia technology practice, IP and information technology partner and privacy and cybersecurity practice group leader

Jodie Baker, Founder & CEO, Xakia Technologies and President, Australian Legal Technology Association

Facilitated by Dr Georgina Dimopoulos, Swinburne University of Technology

Listen to the recording
3 March 2020 Likely implications of the Lawyer X scandal for the criminal justice system Professor Frank Vincent AO QC Listen to the recording
11 February 2020 Reasonable Belief in Consent: Problems and Possibilities in Rape Law Reform

Professor Jonathan Crowe, Bond University

Dr Rachael Burgin, Swinburne University of Technology

Katrina Marson, Churchill Fellow and criminal lawyer

Lidia Thorpe, first Aboriginal woman in Victorian parliament and former Greens MP

Facilitated by Associate Professor Jacqui Horan from Monash University

Learn more
Date  Event  Speaker 
28 August 2019 Artificial Intelligence and the law: is there a future for lawyers?

Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

12 July 2019 Institutional Amnesia? Non-Records and Archival Invisibility in the Patent Office Eva Hemmungs Wirten, Professor of Mediated Culture
Department of Social Change and Culture, Linköping University, Sweden
11 July 2019 The Darker Side of the Sharing Economy: A Case Study of the Mobility Market in Seoul Hee-Kyoung Spiritas Cho, Professor of Law
Hongik University College of Law, Seoul, South Korea
2 July 2019 Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Technologies, Intellectual Property and Data Joshua D. Sarnoff, Professor of Law
DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Contact Swinburne Law School

For more information on our research, please feel free to email us on lawschool@swinburne.edu.au.

Contact us