Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books, book chapters, journal articles and working papers. The ANU College of Law also publishes a Research Paper Series on SSRN.

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Evaluating Consumer Action’s Worker Advice Service, June 2016

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

This is a report of the Consumer Action Law Centre. Dr Liz Curran was an adviser on the project.

The focus of this evaluation sits within a quality framework of continuous development, reflection and improvement of that service.This evaluation report and the quality framework recognises the extent of unmet legal need in Victoria and the critical role non-legal agencies can play in helping meet that need.

In addition to providing free legal assistance to individuals, Consumer Action Law

Centre (CALC) provides legal secondary consultations (LSC) to Victorian financial counsellors and other community workers through a dedicated telephone legal advice service.

Legal Secondary Consultations (LSC) are defined as where a lawyer offers a non-legal professional (such as a doctor, nurse, youth worker, social worker or financial counsellor) legal advice or information on legal processes (such as what happens at court, and how to give evidence or structure reports for a court to provide the required considerations), or on their professional and ethical obligations, or guides the non-legal professional through tricky situations involving their client or their work for clients. Critically, LSCs can build capacity in non-legal professionals likely to come into contact with the most challenging problems, so as to be able to identify or quickly verify that a problem is capable of a legal solution.

This orientation towards collaborative, holistic and joined-up service delivery is reflected in CALC’s current strategic plan, which includes actions to explore relationships with other community support agencies and catalyse new approaches to meeting unmet need and ‘hard-to-reach’ communities.

Dr Curran was adviser on the project and the report and data collection was undertaken by the Consumer Action Law Centre who have given the author permission to place the report on SSRN, so as to share with others how LSC can enable non-legal professional support, enhance multi-disciplinary practice and reach more clients who are currently excluded from gaining legal help for due to a number of barriers.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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A Research and Evaluation Report for the Bendigo Health–Justice Partnership: A Partnership between Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre and Bendigo Community Health Services

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

The Bendigo HJP Research and Evaluation (HJPRAE) was undertaken over three years with an evaluative process embedded in the service from service start-up. At the time it was challenging research as it examines impact and grappled with the internationally renowned challenge of measuring the social determinants of health.

Qualitative and quantitative data have been collected using multiple tools and specific questions.

Findings: 1. The clients of the HJP are complex and more often than not have more than one legal problem and a multitude of other health and social welfare problems. They often feel judged and lack trust in services. They will seek help when they feel they are not judged, where they are respected and where there is service responsiveness. Appointments are problematic – time and place can be critical to engagement, especially for people who have experiences of trauma or negative previous experiences of the legal system. 2. During its life, the Bendigo HJP has provided a significant amount of legal service to clients on a range of matters, often where one client has a significant number of legal issues. The clients’ lives are complicated and building trust takes time. Given the project has only one lawyer co-located at the HJP, the number of clients and client problems tackled is significant in view of the limited staff, funding and resources. 3. The Bendigo HJP is reaching clients who would otherwise not have sought legal help. The role of their trusted health or allied health professional in facilitating that reach has been overwhelmingly critical – 90% of clients interviewed in the HJPRAE said that without the HJP they would not have sought legal help. 4. Clients who have multiple and complex problems reported they were anxious and frightened as they did not know their rights/position. They reported this impacted on their health and wellbeing. The effectiveness and quality of the HJP service and its impact as reported by health/allied health professionals delivered the following relevant responses: • confidence in engaging with services in clients to have increased by 90.9% • knowledge of rights and responsibilities in clients to have increased by 72.7% • knowledge of options and more skilled over time in clients to have increased by 90.9%. 5. The capacity of professionals, due to the HJP, to respond to legal issues with confidence has increased; that is, they have become ‘empowered’.

General Application to Other Replicable Models of HJP Clients turn to ‘trusted’ health/allied health professionals but may not turn to lawyers without the facilitation and transferral of trust. Some clients will not turn to a lawyer as they are not emotionally ready (e.g., due to trauma, fragility, fear) and so the health/allied health professional that they trust becomes an important intermediary for them to gain legal help and information at salient times. A service which is a HJP needs to be ‘opportunistic’ in taking advantage of clients’ health appointments to provide legal assistance – due to complexities of their lives and confusion, lack of confidence and being overwhelmed etc. The capacity of professionals, both lawyers and non-lawyers, as well as client service staff, is key/critical to being able to support clients in a timely way, when in crisis or ready for help. Legal Secondary Consultations (LSCs) ‘are pivotal’; ‘it would not work if we did not have LSCs’. A significant majority of research participants noted that the LSC enables quick, efficient and targeted building of knowledge which can ‘save time’ in the long run. The type of lawyer used has been critical to the success of the Bendigo HJP and should be considered when hiring and recruiting staff. Lawyers can’t ‘just sit in their office’ but need to interact, integrate, not be ‘too stuffy’ or ‘too hierarchical’, ‘avoid jargon’ and show ‘respect’. The type of person used in the role is key to the HJP’s success. Trust and relationships take time to demonstrate an impact and their effectiveness as they are predicated on relationships, human experience, confidence and positive interactions and cannot be driven by a ‘top down’ approach.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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Being Well in the Law: A Guide for Lawyers

Author(s): Stephen Tang, Tony Foley, Vivien Holmes, Colin James

Being Well in the Law is a toolkit for lawyers. It has been well informed by the input of experts from the Australian National University and Sydney University, as well as a range of other experts. It draws heavily on multidisciplinary knowledge embracing mindfulness and meditation, and evokes ideas to help us switch off from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate anxiety.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Health, Law and Bioethics, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Psychology, Legal Education, Regulatory Law and Policy, The Legal Profession

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Lessons Lost in Sentencing: Welding Individualised Justice to Indigenous Justice

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

Indigenous offenders are heavily over-represented in the Australian and Canadian criminal justice systems. In the case of R v Gladue, the Supreme Court of Canada held that sentencing judges are to recognise the adverse systemic and background factors that many Aboriginal Canadians face and consider all reasonable alternatives to imprisonment in light of this. In R v Ipeelee, the Court reiterated the need to fully acknowledge the oppressive environment faced by Aboriginal Canadians throughout their lives and the importance of sentencing courts applying appropriate sentencing options. In 2013, the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in Bugmy v The Queen. The Court affirmed that deprivation is a relevant consideration and worthy of mitigation in sentencing. However, the Court refused to accept that judicial notice should be taken of the systemic background of deprivation of many Indigenous offenders. The High Court also fell short of applying the Canadian principle that sentencing should promote restorative sentences for Indigenous offenders, given this oft-present deprivation and their over-representation in prison. In this article, we argue that Bugmy v The Queen represents a missed opportunity by the High Court to grapple with the complex interrelationship between individualised justice and Indigenous circumstances in the sentencing of Indigenous offenders.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Did Defensive Homicide in Victoria Provide a Safety Net for Battered Women Who Kill? A Case Study Analysis

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

This article seeks to draw conclusions about the potential impact of the Crimes Amendment (Abolition of Defensive Homicide) Act 2014 (Vic). We do so by considering whether defensive homicide served as a safety net in the 2014 case of Director of Public Prosecutions (Vic) v Williams. The article presents a detailed analysis of the trial transcript and sentencing remarks to support the contention that the defence did in fact achieve this purpose. The conclusion rests, principally, upon understanding the jury finding that Williams killed in the belief that her actions were necessary for her own protection, but apparently determined that she had no reasonable grounds for that belief (thereby failing the legal test of self-defence as it then stood). Having looked at how the 2014 legislation also amended relevant evidence laws, and reinforced jury directions to accommodate considerations of family violence, we then consider the implications of these reforms for battered women who kill. We suggest that, in the absence of the offence of defensive homicide, women like Williams may in the future be convicted of murder, even when they kill in response to family violence and with a genuine belief that their actions are necessary in self-defence.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Health Justice Partnership Research ANU Research in Progress Seminar (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

Research by the Legal Services Research Centre (UK) and the Australian LAW Survey demonstrates that unresolved legal problems are likely to have deleterious impact on stress and health outcomes. Individuals only consult lawyers for about 16% of their legal problems and a key access point for disadvantaged individuals is the health profession. Research shows legal problems have a detrimental impact on the health and well being of individuals.

The Health Justice Partnerships (HJP) see lawyers working alongside health and allied health professionals to reach clients with a range of problems capable of legal solutions e.g. debt, family violence, poor housing, consumer issues, care and protection, human rights, access to services. The author is evaluating and assisting in some start –ups of HJPs across Australia and in Canada. She will discuss her work so far but the paper focuses on the project that is the most advanced in Bendigo.

The Bendigo Health Justice Partnership (HJP) project is a partnership between ARC Justice’s Program and Bendigo Community Health Service. The HJP project aims to address the social determinants of health capable of legal redress. The partnership is based on the understanding that many vulnerable and disadvantaged people do not consult lawyers for problems instead they see their trusted health worker.

An embedded evaluation is being undertaken by Dr Liz Curran of ANU examining not only the effectiveness of the service but also measuring the social determinants of health. Dr Curran has a practical background in the community health sector. Critically, this evaluation includes the clients and service providers and their experience in its process.

With ethics approval the evaluation is gathering qualitative as well as quantitative data in a context where there is little money for evaluation and services are keen to evaluate. This paper will discuss the evaluative process, present findings and some lessons emerging so far, in this three year longitudinal study. The study uses a participatory action research approach within a model of continuous reflection, development and improvement so as to inform policy and funding building and empirical evidence base to good practice to reach people who would otherwise not gain legal help.It measures the impacts on social determinants of health, an area largely un-chartered and so this methodology hopes to add to the polity around how social determinants of health might be measured and what they look like in reality for people affected.

The Final Report is due to be finalised at the end of 2016.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Health Justice Partnership Research ANU Research in Progress Seminar (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

Research by the Legal Services Research Centre (UK) and the Australian LAW Survey demonstrates that unresolved legal problems are likely to have deleterious impact on stress and health outcomes. Individuals only consult lawyers for about 16% of their legal problems and a key access point for disadvantaged individuals is the health profession. Research shows legal problems have a detrimental impact on the health and well being of individuals.

The Health Justice Partnerships (HJP) see lawyers working alongside health and allied health professionals to reach clients with a range of problems capable of legal solutions e.g. debt, family violence, poor housing, consumer issues, care and protection, human rights, access to services. The author is evaluating and assisting in some start –ups of HJPs across Australia and in Canada. She will discuss her work so far but the paper focuses on the project that is the most advanced in Bendigo.

The Bendigo Health Justice Partnership (HJP) project is a partnership between ARC Justice’s Program and Bendigo Community Health Service. The HJP project aims to address the social determinants of health capable of legal redress. The partnership is based on the understanding that many vulnerable and disadvantaged people do not consult lawyers for problems instead they see their trusted health worker.

An embedded evaluation is being undertaken by Dr Liz Curran of ANU examining not only the effectiveness of the service but also measuring the social determinants of health. Dr Curran has a practical background in the community health sector. Critically, this evaluation includes the clients and service providers and their experience in its process.

With ethics approval the evaluation is gathering qualitative as well as quantitative data in a context where there is little money for evaluation and services are keen to evaluate. This paper will discuss the evaluative process, present findings and some lessons emerging so far, in this three year longitudinal study. The study uses a participatory action research approach within a model of continuous reflection, development and improvement so as to inform policy and funding building and empirical evidence base to good practice to reach people who would otherwise not gain legal help.It measures the impacts on social determinants of health, an area largely un-chartered and so this methodology hopes to add to the polity around how social determinants of health might be measured and what they look like in reality for people affected.

The Final Report is due to be finalised at the end of 2016.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Medical-Legal Partnership: Prevention, Access to Justice and the Next Generation of Legal and Healthcare Professionals.

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

Inequality of access to legal services is a significant problem in Australia.

In a panel discussion Dr. Curran of the Australian National Research gave a short paper responding to the key note address by Liz Tobin Tyler, Adjunct Professor, the Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and of Health Services, Policy and Practice at the Brown University School of Public Health on the topic ‘Medical-legal partnership: Prevention, access to justice and the next generation of legal and healthcare professionals.’

In the response Dr. Curran noted similarities and difference between the USA and Australia and reports on her participatory action research that ANU has been commissioned to undertake in a range of Health Justice Partnerships (HJP) including the embedded research evaluation of ACR Justice Bendigo pilot of an HJP which commenced in January 2015. The Executive Officer of ARC Justice, Peter Noble has also asked Dr. Curran to measure impacts of the HJP on the social determinants of health which she is grappling with given international recognition of the challenge. Dr. Curran has come up with some tools informed by affected community, service providers and international research in an action research collaborative approach within a continuous learning, reflection and development model and is using these to measure in concrete terms the social determinants of health outcomes from the HJP.

Dr. Curran discussed a number of Australian HJP evaluations in terms of quality, impact, outcomes and the social determinants of health. She discusses tools and some preliminary findings in the various research projects which are ongoing.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Preliminary Findings on the Value of Secondary Consultations in Reaching Hard to Reach Clients and in Building Professional Capacity

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

For ten years in a CLC setting Curran routinely conducted secondary consultations for non-legal professional staff. Since 2011, Dr Curran has undertaken research evaluations of services that now form what are now collectively described in Australia as ‘Health Justice Partnerships’. Dr Curran will outline preliminary findings in the under-researched area of the impact of secondary consultations. Evidence is emerging from evaluation research on a range of Health Justice Partnerships (where a lawyer works in a multidisciplinary health and allied health setting) including a family violence program, a project examining urban mortgage stress/well being, a program where a lawyer is based within a health service in a regional setting and in relation to a specialist Community Legal Centre (the Consumer Action Law Centre) non legal worker advice line which integrate legal and non-legal services. This paper highlights the impact secondary consultation has and is having in terms of reaching hard to reach clients and building capacity of non-legal professionals in a climate of limited resources.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Conference Paper- ‘Access to Justice – Making it Come Alive and a Reality for Students and Enabling Engaged Future Practitioners’

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

The presentation commenced with a 20 minute discussion and illustration by Dr. Liz Curran who has worked for many years as a clinical legal education supervising solicitor in an academic role and now works in Professional Legal Training role in the ANU Legal Workshop. She has been an active researcher on access to justice and human rights for over a decade with numerous research projects, articles and as a commentator.

In 2008 Dr Curran wrote in the Alternative Law Journal that ‘from this vantage point, being an academic and a practitioner, a constructive inter-play occurs where theory can inform practice and vice versa.’ It is this inter-play which can make a valuable contribution to policy debates, student learning and development and their sense of being involved in upholding justice and the rule of law. From such a vantage point, universities in their teaching and research and policy makers can tap into evidence based information on the experience of the day-to-day dilemmas facing the members of the community for whom survival, emotional and physical well-being can be precarious.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Partnerships in Healthcare Delivery: Health Justice Partnerships (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

Dr. Curran’s Conference Paper discusses how Health Justice Partnerships (HJPs) are reaching people who would otherwise not get help with their legal problems by community lawyers working in a multi-disciplinary setting. The paper shares her preliminary empirical research findings, case studies and some lessons.

The Bendigo HJP project is a partnership between ARC Justice’s Program and Bendigo Community Health Service. The HJP project aims to address the social determinants of health capable of legal redress. The partnership is based on the empirical data which reveals that many vulnerable and disadvantaged people do not consult lawyers for problems instead they see their trusted health worker.

An embedded evaluation is being undertaken by Dr. Liz Curran of ANU examining not only the effectiveness of the service but also measuring the social determinants of health. Dr. Curran has a practical background in the community health sector. She is also involved in other HJP evaluations and service start-ups in Australia and Canada. Critically, this evaluation includes the clients and service providers and their experience in its process. This is ethical and ensures the measurements are not remote from the reality of the lives of people the HJP is assisting.

The evaluation is gathering qualitative as well as quantitative data so is not a process evaluation. In Australia there is little money for evaluation and services are keen to evaluate. The paper discusses the empirical research which reveals the HJP is reaching community members who are otherwise excluded. Findings include the value of legal secondary consultations in building confidence and capacity of non-legal professionals to assist clients through legal information being readily accessible through consultations with a lawyer.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

‘Working Collaboratively, Holistically and Strategically in and with Community – The Power of Community Development in Legal Education’ (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.

I have been asked to answer the following questions today: 1. What is Community Development 2. What it means in terms of approach 3. To provide examples of when I have used it in my work 4. To distill any examples of how it is done 5. To discuss how to evaluate its impact and worth and 6. To examine why it might be a core service of CLCs. 7. Dome key challenges in terms of funding and funders.

Now in Australia we have the empirical data that had been lacking to support anecdotally what had been observed by some service providers over many years. These empirical studies not only demonstrated that similar issues arise in Australia for people who are the recipients of legal assistance services (largely people on social support or with incomes of under $26,000K) but that inroads could be made by joined- up services both legal and non-legal, holistic approaches, community legal education that reaches out and is targeted and responsive to community needs and behaviour. The studies confirmed that the direction of many legal assistance services to work collaboratively, holistically and strategically to assist people, to educate them and to work towards law reform to ensure that recurring problems are all critical if access to the legal system and equality before the law are to be attained.

CLCs have a vital role as community agencies along with others to enable community members to have and find a voice.

“If funders and the community want the legal assistance sector to make a difference in solving people’s problems and advancing and protecting community rights then they must recognize the need to approach problems strategically and use various approaches to obtain results. To achieve this, organizations must be given a level of autonomy that frees them up to use their skills, experience and knowledge of the system as well as the client's actual circumstances to decide the best strategy.”

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Building Capacity to Cope with Ethical Dilemmas in Legal Practice Through Teaching ‘Giving Voice to Values’ Techniques (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

This panel presentation will be a basic introduction for a more detailed session on Saturday with Viv Holmes, Anneka Ferguson (in absencia) which will discuss the theory, practice, research and student responses that informs our courses.

In the context of Recommendations 6 and 7 Critical issues and challenges are presented. How can teachers challenge students to explore ethical dilemmas emerging in all area of practice be they commercial, property, consumer and civil law? How can we as teachers not just teach students to identify ethical issues but also assist them in building the tools necessary to actively and appropriately deal with such dilemmas?

In the ANU Legal Workshop (delivered in a blended mode with face to face and on-line teaching) the professional legal training course for graduates to become admitted to legal practice, we use Mary Gentile’s ‘Giving Voice to Values’ (GVV) approach. This will be briefly explained.

I have taught ethics in an undergraduate context and am now teaching at graduate levels and see more opportunities using the GVV approach. In Legal Workshop’s Ethics subject and in a subject, ‘Professional Development’ (PM) that supports key practice areas, we use GVV to engage students at a deeper level so they learn about themselves and their working environment. The key GVV approach is to equip students with not only the ability to identify an ethical problems but also strategies to enable them to act on their ethical duties.

Our aim is to build the students’ resilience, build their capacity to act ethically and speak up appropriately and wisely.

During my section of the panel presentation, I will ask the audience to participate by doing the first exercise students undertake- a Professional Development Journal Entry. This activity is based on GVV’s ‘Tale of Two Stories’ and requires students to recall and then reflect on a time in their lives when they have, and have not, ‘spoken’ their values. The activity is a useful lead-in to tackling ethical issues in legal workplace scenarios as the course progresses (tomorrow’s session). This activity starts the reflective practice conversation and flags issues that emerging lawyers face in responding ethically. In student debriefs some of our students (many of whom work in legal practice as para-legals, judges associates, waitressing, marketing and fact food outlets etc.) indicate they already often encounter unethical practice and that examining the reasons why they speak or do not speak out is useful for the later exercises. The discussion also has scope for teachers to share their experiences, values and ethical dilemmas and how they did or not deal with them. In the follow-up session on Saturday we will explore how the GVV approach enables students to develop and practise skill for acting ethically. It is suggested a similar activity could be used in undergraduate level to start reflective practice and the values and ethics discussion with students earlier.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

'CLCs Having an Impact on Lives - Strategic Approaches to Problem Solving’ (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

Theme - Advancing (by discovering and creating, developing innovative ideas and strategies, including and incorporating the learning and perspectives of others):

Strategic thinking can and has enabled the benefits of early intervention and prevention of legal problems and their escalation. This goes beyond one-to-one case work and can address problem at their core. This paper will explore easy, useable, relevant and replicable results of research evaluations undertaken by Curran of what is effective legal service action that has prevented the public from having to go through the same problem and thus enhancing service impact. Reflective practice is a key way to inform strategic action and continuous learning and how this can be done will also be explored.

This paper examines case studies from CLCs, good practice, responsiveness, strategic thinking and processes that foster having significant impact. It will share how to, up to date action research, facilitate sharing of experiences through the session’s interactive approach.

The session will take an adult learning approach to delivery meaning it will involve centres in discussion about their experiences rather than being in a traditional or lecture mode of delivery. People in the room have expertise and skills that can be shared by all in participants in the session.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

The Practice of Law

The Practice of Law and the Intolerance of Certainty

Author(s): Stephen Tang, Tony Foley

This paper seeks to challenge a lingering view that law is and should be intolerant of uncertainty and must strive for certainty. Although inconsistent with the embedded uncertainty and ambiguity of law as a system, there is still an implicitly accepted view that the practice of law, and the role of lawyers, is to make determinate the indeterminate, to use legal rules to remove the uncertainty from human existence. This paper provides a preliminary sketch of an alternative and humanising epistemology of law in practice, one that embraces and makes adaptive use of uncertainty at the level of psychological experience, rather than just at a conceptual or institutional level. It focuses its attention on the preparation for practice of new lawyers and their lived experience of uncertainty as one of the defining aspects of their transition from law student. In the process, the paper challenges the conventional perceptions that thinking like a lawyer involves an additive set of skills sitting above and beyond those of ordinary thinking. Learning to think like a lawyer is more often subtractive, leaving out the messy world and in the process leaving out the messiness of uncertainty. As an alternative, the paper examines what many good lawyers have taught themselves: the importance of embracing uncertainty, complexity and acquiring a healthy intolerance of certainty. It suggests these skills and habits would be better taught and learned in advance of practice.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme: Criminal Law, Health, Law and Bioethics, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Psychology, Legal Education, Regulatory Law and Policy, The Legal Profession

Australian anti-discrimination law 2nd edition

Australian anti-discrimination law 2nd Edition

Author(s): , Neil Rees, Dominique Allen

The second edition of this book, which is the first major text in the field directed to both legal practitioners and law students, contains a detailed analysis of Australian anti-discrimination law as well as extracts from all of the major cases and the writings of leading commentators. It incorporates the many changes to the law since the first edition was published in 2008 and includes new chapters dealing with positive duties, victimisation and protections against discrimination in industrial relations laws. The book includes a comprehensive examination of the difficult concepts of direct and indirect discrimination as well as coverage of the major grounds of unlawful discrimination, such as race, sex and disability. The book records the history of the major pieces of anti-discrimination legislation, examines important international developments and includes numerous suggestions for reform.

Order your copy online

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice

Empowering and Capacity Building Health Professionals for Better Human Rights Outcomes (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

In her panel paper Dr Curran of AN discusses how health professionals can utilise the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities:

1) To understand human rights and how they are protected in the Charter.

2) Identify relevant human rights in real life scenarios.

3) Understand how the Charter can be used as an advocacy tool for the empowerment of patients and the achievement of social justice.

4) To develop ideas for negotiating better outcomes in local communities.

She gives examples of the use of the Charter by medical health professionals to gain better human rights outcomes for their patients from public authorities. One example was of a maternal and child health nurse who used the Charter when a hospital refused to provide urgent medical treatment to an asylum seeker because she could not pay. The feedback from the maternal and child care nurse was that the Charter ‘works’.

Symposium Goals:

This forum explores the strengths and limitations of human rights and respectful care frameworks in advancing maternity reform in Australia. It seeks to bring together the policy, legal and women’s health communities along with professional providers and birth consumer groups to discuss strategies for improving the quality of care for birthing women and those supporting them.

This dialogue was to build on several recent initiatives, including:

• the European Human Rights conference held in The Hague in June 2012,

• the Childbirth and the Law conference in Sydney in October 2012,

• the international White Ribbon Alliance initiative, Respectful Maternity Care.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Solving Problems

Solving Problems – A Strategic Approach: Examples, Processes & Strategies

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

The report has been commissioned by Consumer Action Law Centre and the Footscray Community Legal Centre and launched at a National Conference and the Ruby Hutchison Lecture on Thursday 14 March 2013. The ACCC and CHOICE jointly host the Ruby Hutchison Memorial Lecture each year. Ruby Hutchison was the founder of the Australian Consumers' Association which is now known as CHOICE.

Dr Curran's report which was written with the assistance of the staff of Consumer Action Law Centre and the Footscray Community Legal Centre illustrates the importance of going beyond an individual approach to casework to benefit individuals, groups and the broader community. It argues that a strategic approach to problem solving can better ensure that a service is effective, efficient and targeted, with a broader and long lasting impact or as government says - a “successful outcome”. It also proposes that community legal centres should be given more support to encourage and foster an environment where strategic thought and planning about service mix approaches are used to make the service more outcome-focused. This would lead to service being more effective and mindful of what interventions are needed to achieve the best outcomes rather than merely providing case work, information and referral in isolation from a broader strategy that improves clients’ lives.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

The Challenges of Measuring Outcomes – Examining Quality, Responsiveness and Legal Professionalism As a Way Forward (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

Dr. Curran discusses her research evaluation of Legal Aid ACT where she was asked to not only measure the quality of the legal services delivered but also to grapple with the vexed measurement of outcomes. In this paper Dr. Curran outlines briefly the approach to the evaluation, the lessons and some of the key findings around how to measure quality, outcomes and effectiveness of legal services delivery. 

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

'A Literature Review: Examining the Literature on How to Measure the 'Successful Outcomes': Quality, Effectiveness and Efficiency of Legal Assistance Services'

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

This is a literature review for the Attorney-General’s Department. The brief was as follows.

This literature review will examine research, studies, reports, reviews and evaluation and other material both nationally and internationally around legal assistance service evaluations on the following:

'Successful Outcome'

Quality

Efficiency

Effectiveness

This Literature Review has examined a significant number of research, reports, evaluations, reviews, academic writing, studies and submissions. Some of the key lessons that these documents reveal are detailed in this Executive Summary. Some conclusions and their basis are summarized in the section entitled, 'Conclusion – An Overview of the Findings of this Literature Review'.

Some documents were provided directly to the researcher and to the Attorney-General’s Department by the Legal Assistance Sector but have not been included in this Literature Review as they were outside its scope. However, many are useful and are discussed in this Literature Review.

This Literature Review highlights that legal assistance work is not only complex but that it is also complicated. Forty-seven international studies and ninety-one national studies were considered in the course of the conduct of this literature review.

The selection criteria for determining the 'usefulness' of the reports/reviews/evaluations/ studies was as follows:

•Written in the last decade.

•The Document/Study examines outcome, quality, effectiveness and efficiency or a combination of these considerations.

•The study sets out a clear question to be answered and the methodological approach was relevant to being able to answer the question asked.

•The method for extracting information or data was effective and relevant to the information sought.

•The questions asked of participants in the instruments used were relevant.

•The data collected was sufficiently clear in illiciting the information sought.

•Given the complicated and complex nature and diversity of the legal services and the clients served, the methodology was likely to reveal the reasons behind the responses or approach that the service adopted in terms of the considerations listed above.

•A number of approaches were taken to verify, complement and unpack the reasons for the answer and included a blend of quantitative and qualitative data rather than reliance on quantitative data or one method.

•The approach taken is relevant and of assistance in the context of the NPA and the Attorney-General’s ‘Strategic Framework on Access to Justice in the Federal Civil Justice System’ , the COAG Reform Agenda and to social inclusion and Indigenous disadvantage.

Significant difficulties are identified in much of the domestic and international literature in the measurement of outcome/results, quality, efficiency and effectiveness.

The literature domestically and internationally, identifies the lack of a common language with which to articulate results, the lack of a framework in which to capture them and the difficulties in being able to measure and prove success. Where such results based measurement exists it will often need to be descriptive, subjective and there is a risk that cannot be avoided, of its being anecdotal and vague.

Each program must be first understood to be able to inform how to identify and define outcomes and measure these and ensure adaptive learning and adaptive management processes rather than these being fixed and remote from the realities of practice.

Any approach must be able to adapt and incorporate changing realities and demands on the services that are being examined.

There is no one way which can make it easy to achieve a successful outcome. Good practice informed by good training, cultural awareness, sensitivity, adaptability and flexibility are key factors in effectively reaching and targeting vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Legal assistance services operate at different levels. Within a legal assistance service different objectives and intentions can sit behind each program. Therefore, they cannot be measured as a 'lump' without first understanding the very nature, diverse ways of engaging that are required to target different client groups, complexity, layers and imperative and funding requirements that drive each of the many parts.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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