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.

  • “We are dedicated to producing world class research that is relevant and internationally recognised. We offer our research students, staff and collaborators the opportunity to participate in projects that advance jurisprudence and legal practice.”

    Mirko Bagaric , Dean, Swinburne Law School

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.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on intellectual property and law & technology

This research seminar featured panellists Benjamin Mitra-Kahn (General Manager and Chief Economist, IP Australia), Robyn Chatwood (partner, Dentons Australia) and Jodie Baker (Founder & CEO, Xakia Technologies and Chair, Australian Legal Technology Association) and considered the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on intellectual property and law & technology.

Likely implications of the Lawyer X scandal for the criminal justice system

In the Law School Commencement event 2020, the Hon Frank Vincent AO QC shared his recollections, insights and observations about the criminal justice system and the handling of Lawyer X.

Artificial Intelligence and the law: is there a future for lawyers?

Swinburne Law School regularly hosts the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG. In his most recent visit, he commented on the effects of AI on the practice and future of law.

Contact Swinburne Law School

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

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