Dr Stephen Tang

LLB (Hons I), BPsych (Hons I), GDLP, LLM (Legal Practice), PhD (Clinical Psychology), AMusA, Australian Lawyer, Registered Psychologist, MAPS
+61 2 6125 8446
Room 2.090

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Stephen Tang is a legal-psychological researcher who applies psychological theory and methods to understand and reform legal regulation, legal education and the legal profession. His main research interest relate to mental health and the law, behavioural legal ethics, therapeutic jurisprudence, mental health legislation and legal decision-making.

Stephen’s current major research projects include:

  • Transition to Professional Practice Project (with Prof Tony Foley and A/Prof Vivien Holmes) – a multi-stage, multi-method project which explores the formation and development of lawyers who are ethical, professional and healthy. Following earlier qualitative and quantitative studies, the current phase of project examines how the ethical culture of a legal practice is formed and how it influences the wellbeing, professional identity and behaviour of lawyers.
  • Narratives of Compassion (with Dr Anthony Hopkins, Prof Mark Nolan and Prof Lorana Bartels) – using an experimental design, this project explores whether compassion influences how people think about offenders and whether cultivating compassion can reorient criminal justice law reform towards a more understanding approach.
  • Humanising the Complexity of a Judge’s Role (with A/Prof Vivien Holmes and Prof Tony Foley) – an innovative collaborative research and co-design project with judges of an Australian court to appreciate the human complexity of their work in order to design meaningful approaches to enhance both judicial wellbeing and the quality of judicial work.
  • Towards the Therapeutic Design of Mental Health Legislation – an empirical therapeutic jurisprudence research project which seeks to map the extent of administrative burden within mental health legislation, examine its effect on decision-making and its (anti-)therapeutic outcomes, and develop principles for the therapeutic and behaviourally-informed design of legislation.

In addition to his legal experience, Stephen holds a PhD (Clinical Psychology). His doctoral research developed a new psychological model of indecision and indecisiveness. Stephen is a registered psychologist with a particular interest in the practice of collaborative and therapeutic psychological assessment.

Stephen is an active participant in the activities of the Wellness Network for Law and the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (ANZAPPL). He has contributed to the work of the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council and has engaged in multiple research consultancies with the Australian legal community.

Stephen also has developed extensive public sector experience in health policy, compliance and regulation. He has worked in the ACT and Commonwealth governments in mental health policy and legislation, and more recently, as an Assistant Director of a leading behavioural insights unit. Stephen has also acted as a consultant to the WHO on mental health policy, law, human rights and service development.

Significant research publications

Recent news

Kathy Liu
ANU Law graduand Kathy Liu was recently named a Global Winner in the 2017 Undergraduate Award for law, for a research essay written for LAWS4260 Law and Psychology.
Helping junior lawyers thrive
The transition from law student to newly-admitted lawyer is a critical time, not only for the mental health and wellbeing of these lawyers but for the future of the profession.
A national forum hosted by the ANU Legal Workshop and the Wellness Network for Law will reinforce the importance of wellbeing for those working in the legal profession and the need for systemic reforms, rather than Band-Aid solutions.

In the Media

Stephen Tang quoted in Lawyers Weekly
Stephen Tang quoted in Lawyers Weekly
Stephen Tang speaks to Lawyers Weekly

Past events

NJCA Flyer
9.00AM to 5.00PM Conference
  • Justice Stephen Gageler AC, High Court of Australia

This conference brings together members of the judiciary, academics, policy makers and experts in fields such as psychology, to consider current issues and challenges in the Australian justice system.

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

Previous courses

Year Course code Course name
2016 LAWS4260
Class #7923
Law and Psychology


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