Professor Peta Spender FAAL

+61 2 6125 3480
Room 6.2.097

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Research Centre


Professor Peta Spender is a 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.

Peta is a co-author of the leading Australian casebook on litigation and is working on a project about process and substance in civil justice systems. Part of this research was presented at the inaugural Public Law Conference at the University of Cambridge.

She is also a respected a 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)
  • Mediator
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Civil Litigation and Practice
  • 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

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. 

Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.


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

Last five years only

  • 'Empirical research in corporate law and corporate governance' Panel Session, Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference, Melbourne Law School, 2 February 2015
  • '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
  • ‘Future Directions for Australian Administrative Law’, Australian Institute of Administrative Law National Conference, Perth, 25 July 2104
  • ‘Downstairs Upstairs: The Role of Procedure in Civil Justice’ Symposium on Civil Procedure, University of Windsor, Canada 27 March 2014
  • ‘A Different Justice: The Role of Procedure in Civil Justice’, Civil Justice Research and Teaching Conference, University of Tasmania, 17 February 2014
  • ‘Re-visiting a Classic: H Hansmann & R Kraakman  ‘The End of History for Corporate Law’, Panel Session, Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference, University of Adelaide, 3 February 2014
  • ‘Planning and Environment Dispute Resolution in ACAT’, Planning & Environment Dispute Resolution Forum organised by the Environmental Defenders Office (ACT) with the Conservation Council ACT Region, 31 October 2013
  • ‘A Handmaid's Tale: A Normative Account of Substantive and Procedural Law’, Society of Legal Scholars Conference, University of Edinburgh, 6 September 2013
  • ‘The Model Litigant and Procedural Justice’, Australian Institute of Administrative Law National Conference, Canberra, 19 July 2013
  •  ‘Is Civil Procedure Devoid of Theory?’, Current Issues in Civil Justice, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, 25 February 2013
  • ‘Running a Merits Review Case’, Legalwise, Canberra, 20 February 2013 (Chair)
  • ‘Can a Market Suffer Harm?’ Exploring Possibilities for Information-based Misconduct under the Corporations Act’ (with Michael Tarlowski) Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference, ANU, 4 February 2013
  • ‘The Relationship between the Academy and the Profession’, Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference, ANU, 5 February 2013 (Chair) 
  • Hartnell Colloquium 2012: ‘An Exploration of Commercial Law Under the High Court of Chief Justice French: Commercial Litigation’, 26 October 2012
  • ‘Civil Procedure and Enforcement’ CARE and Consumer Law Centre, 15 August 2012
  • 'The Relevance of Feminism for Lawyers Today’, Panel Discussant and Chair, ANU Gender Institute 24 April 2012
  • Various commentaries at the Early to Mid-Career Workshop on Civil Litigation, ANU College of Law, 16-17 February 2012
  • 'Diversity in Corporate Governance - Historical Perspective and Comparative Analysis of Initiatives: Commentary on Australian Developments', Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference, Bond University, 6 February 2012

Currently supervising

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Congruent Regulation: Designing the Optimal Australian Utility Regime
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Reconceptualising the National Security Regulation of Chinese Companies' Investment in Australian Critical Infrastructure Assets

Current courses

Previous courses

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