Professor Peta Spender FAAL

Emeritus Professor
+61 2 6125 3480
Room 6.2.18

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Research Centre


Professor Peta Spender is an Emeritus Professor and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She is a Presidential Member of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal and formerly appointed to the ACT Courts Joint Rules Advisory Committee. Her research passions straddle corporations/financial markets law and litigation. She has published widely in both areas and made submissions to various law reform bodies including the James Hardie Special Commission of Inquiry.

Professor Spender is a co-author of the leading Australian casebook on litigation and specialises in class actions and collective redress. She is also a respected corporate law scholar and her works have been cited by the Australian High Court and in amicus briefs filed in the US Supreme Court. For many years she has explored the role of women in corporations and has recently argued that Australia is at a critical juncture where the public, pragmatic nature of its statutory regulation of corporations and the current salience of gender as a political issue may favour the introduction of gender quotas for corporate boards.


  • Presidential Member, ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Law
  • President, Corporate Law Teachers Association (2013-2015)
  • Member, Joint Rules Advisory Committee - ACT Supreme and Magistrates Courts (2005-2017)
  • Member, National Legal Profession Reform Consultative Group (2009-2010)

Significant research publications

  • Please refer to the publications under the Research tab

Recent news

ANU Bachelor of Laws (Hons) student Adam Silverwood
When Adam Silverwood was told by his professor his research paper was of "publishable quality", he decided to pitch it to a leading international journal on trust law and practice - with favourable results.
The Tang Siblings and Professor Spender at graduation day
Siblings reflect on their own ‘family law act’ at ANU. 
Camilla Pondell
ANU Law graduate Camilla Pondel (BMus LLB (Hons) ’16) will spend one year working as Assistant Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague after she was awarded the ANU College of Law PCA Scholarship for 2018.
While many have warned about the dangers of class actions in Australia, the reality is that class actions enforce the law, writes Professor Peta Spender.

Past events

Image: Donald Rothwell, Tim Bonyhady, Stephen Bottomley, Peta Spender, Fiona Wheeler
1.00PM to 2.00PM ANU College of Law Research Seminar
  • Professor Donald Rothwell FAAL
  • Emeritus Professor Tim Bonyhady AM, FAAH, FASSA
  • Emeritus Professor Stephen Bottomley FAAL
  • Professor Peta Spender FAAL
  • Professor Fiona Wheeler FAAL

Join a panel of some of the ANU CoL’s most senior and experienced Professors will come together in a zoom roundtable to share their reflections on how they were able to sustain and build their research careers, and some of the lessons learned which can be applied during the pandemic.

Key principles in administrative law – some recent cases
5.30PM to 7.00PM CIPL Seminar

This free public online seminar will involve a range of speakers discussing recent cases on the basic features, and limits, of the Australian regime for challenging administrative decisions, and trends which emerge from them. 

Black and White Photo of a Federal Court Sitting
9.00AM to 1.00PM Conference

The ANU Centre for Commercial Law and Centre for International and Public Law are proud to announce a conference to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Federal Court of Australia. 


Funds provider: Australian Research Council

Project ID: DP0988956

Project title: A Comparative Law and Economics Analysis of Class Actions in Australia, the US and the UK

Lead Investigator : A/Professor George Barker

Other Investigators: Professor Theodore Eisenberg (Cornell University); Professor Paul Fenn (The University of Nottingham)

Funding amount: $356,000

Books & edited collections

Contemporary Australian Corporate Law (with S Bottomley, K Hall, B Nosworthy) Cambridge University Press, 2017

Civil Procedure - Commentary and Materials (with S. Colbran, S. R. Douglas, S. Jackson) LexisNexis, Australia.

  • Seventh Edition 2019
  • Sixth Edition October 2015
  • Fifth Edition October 2012
  • Fourth Edition July 2009
  • Third Edition November 2005
  • Second Edition January 2002
  • First Edition March 1998

'Progressive possibilities in corporate law’ (2013) Australian Journal of Corporate Law, Vol 28 No 1, with Kath Hall

‘100 years of Salomon’ (1999) Federal Law Review, Vol 27 Number 2, with Stephen Bottomley

Book chapters

  • ‘Excellence, Innovation and Courtesy: Federal Court Procedure and Modernity’ in Pauline Ridge and James Stellios (eds), The Federal Court’s Contribution to Australian Law: Past, Present, Future (Federation Press, 2018)

  • “The Class Action as Sheriff: Private Law Enforcement and Remedial Roulette” in J Berryman and R Bigwood (eds.) The Law of Remedies: New Directions in the Common Law (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2010)
  • 'Scenes from a Wharf: Containing the Morality of Corporate Law', Chapter 3, International Corporate Law Volume 1 F McMillan (ed) Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2000
  • 'Women as Directors of Companies', Corporations Law Chapter, in Regina Graycar and Jenny Morgan (eds) Work And Violence Themes: Including Gender Issues in the Core Law Curriculum, 1996

Refereed journal articles

Conference papers & presentations

Selection - last six years only:

  • ‘Regulatory capture? Why not litigate!’, University of NSW, February 2020
  • ‘Class Actions in Australia: Rent-Seeking Entrepreneurs or Regulatory Node?’, Monash University, 4 February 2020
  • ‘Financial advice and fiduciary duties in Australia: law reform, bootstraps and scandal’, 21st Century Business Law Forum, Law School, Tsinghua University Beijing, October 2019
  • ‘Constructing legal personhood: corporate law’s legacy’, Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference, Law School, University of Auckland, 5 February 2019 
  • ‘Excellence, innovation and courtesy: Federal Court procedure and modernity’, Federal Court of Australia and ANU, 8 September 2017, 
  • ‘What are courts for?’ Panel Session, Reforming Civil Justice: Key Challenges for Future Policy and Research Conference, Law School, Flinders University, 17 February 2017
  • ‘Securities Law’, Seminar, Faculty of Law, University of Yangon, 9 December 2015
  • ‘Empirical research in corporate law and corporate governance’, Plenary Panel Session, Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference, Melbourne Law School, 2 February 2015
  • ‘Gender Quotas on Boards – Is it Time for Australia to Act?’, Mandatory Gender Quota Legislation: Will Australia Follow Europe? International Corporate Governance and Law (ICGL) Forum hosted by Deakin Law School and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Melbourne, 20 October 2014
  • ‘A Different Justice? The Role of Procedure in Public Law Adjudication’, Public Law Conference: Process and Substance in Public Law, University of Cambridge, 17 September 2014 

Currently supervising

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Reconceptualising the National Security Regulation of Chinese Corporate Investment in Australian Critical Infrastructure
  • Topic: Reconceptualising Legal Principles for Implantable Medical Device Failure

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team