Graduate research in the La Trobe Law School

Our graduate researchers are investigating law in its social context to promote equity, justice and access

Nicole Shackleton

PhD candidate, Nicole Shackleton, has always been interested in gender equity and social justice.

“After I graduated from law school, I discovered my interest in law reform, policy development and research, so I decided to pursue a PhD,” says Shackleton. “The Law Trobe Law School has a strong tradition of socio-legal scholarship, so it’s the perfect place for my research.”

Shackleton is examining the nature and prevalence of gendered hate speech on the internet and how it is regulated by law in Australia.

“Gendered hate speech causes significant harm and is, unfortunately, common,” she explains.

“I am reviewing Australian law and interviewing women who have experienced gendered hate speech to understand the impact. I hope to outline how Australia can design legislation to effectively regulate against this type of violence and abuse.”

Ian Smith

PhD candidate, Ian Smith, is exploring law reforms in Victoria that retrospectively removed anonymity from sperm and egg donors who had previously been promised anonymity.

“Retrospective changes to law do happen,” he explains, “but they are not common, especially when dealing with a matter as sensitive as this.”

Smith was drawn to the topic by “the desire to understand the influences that were at play, and the influencers who were at work, in the successful lobbying for these law reforms.”

Drawing on interviews with donors and donor-conceived people, his thesis will explore how stories - “in this case, a small number of very powerful personal stories” - can work to change laws.

Stephanie Falconer

Meet Stephanie Falconer, an Associate Lecturer in the Law Trobe Law School.

“I am passionate about teaching, the law and legal education,” says Falconer. “I love engaging with students across a range of subjects, so that they graduate with a degree that is both useful and meaningful.”

Higher education is embracing a greater online presence, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given these changes, it’s important that we understand the factors impacting quality of teaching and learning at Australian law schools,” she explains. “My PhD examines experiential learning as part of the core legal curriculum.”

“I hope to identify how universities can best deliver legal education so we can prepare the next generation of students for practice.”

Find out more about the La Trobe Law School on the website and LinkedIn.