ANU College of Law alumnus Marcus Dahl has received the Blackburn Medal for Research in Law for the best result in an Honour Thesis. In December 2018, he also received the University Medal and Tillyard Prize.
“My thesis was about the wrongful convictions due to well-intentioned but unreliable identification evidence. I focused on cross-racial identification evidence, where a witness is of a different race to the accused. Our system of evidence law is designed to filter out bad evidence and to protect against over-reliance on potentially bad evidence. Unfortunately, the legal system doesn't always keep up with the science and the research findings about potentially bad evidence," he said.
“I chose this topic for a few reasons: as a Bachelor of Science student majoring and specialising in psychology alongside my law degree, I wanted a topic that reflected and paid homage to my learning and interest in both fields."
“I am deeply humbled by this award. Good quality research and critical evaluation of society is really important, and I have so much respect for academics who contribute to this daily."
“My supervisor, Dr Anthony Hopkins, was absolutely fantastic. Our conversations were really honest and helpful. I'll cherish them as the kind of deep academic engagement that I was so excited to find when I first came to university."
“I'm also grateful to Professor Mark Nolan for his encouragement to take on a topic that fused psychology and law. I was lucky to have a role model in the law school who has a strong background in psychology."
“I strongly encourage everyone studying law to do a thesis. It's hard work, yes, but it is such a special opportunity to take your learning and thinking to the next level, and challenge yourself to make something original.”
Marcus has spent the past three months of 2019 working in South Africa's Constitutional Court.