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Celebrating the achievements of the Monash Law community


  • Welcome from the Dean of Law

    Professor Bryan Horrigan welcomes you to this edition of the Monash Law e-Briefing.

  • Our new state-of-the-art moot court

    Check out the new $3.9 million multi-functional facility, to be used as a physical and virtual clinic and training resource for examining expert witnesses and ‘paperless’ court practices.

  • Is your business violating human rights? 

    This vital plain-language resource is used by businesses the world over and has received praise from UN expert bodies working on business and human rights.

  • How my passion for public law took me to Cambridge

    Catch up with Law graduate Sarah Spottiswood as she takes her love of international law to Cambridge University.

  • Law student represents Monash at World Uni Games in Taiwan

    Rossalean To gears up for the next step in her table tennis career.

  • Events & career development 

    Check out these upcoming events.

Welcome to the first edition of the Monash Law e-Briefing for 2017.

The Monash Law e-Briefing aims to keep our alumni and others in the legal profession in touch with developments and successes that matter to you.

New moot court

In this issue of the ​e-Briefing, we are proud to give you advance notice of the completion of a multi-million-dollar moot court at Clayton, with state-of-the-art technology. 

This multi-purpose centrepiece on the ground floor of the iconic David Derham School of Law Building at Clayton will enhance the Faculty’s ability to offer our students a world-class education, with facilities and functionalities to match. 

It will benefit generations of Law students, staff, and those within the wider legal community, for years to come, and will open for business in Semester Two, 2017.

As a valued member of the Monash Law community, we welcome you to join us for the opening of the new moot court in August. You will receive an invitation in due course.

Former Chief Justice Robert French’s visit

We also encourage you to save the date for the Dean's Gala Dinner on Wednesday 16 August. The immediate past Chief Justice of Australia, the Honourable Robert J French AC, will be our guest speaker, during his much-anticipated fortnight with us as a judge-in-residence under our ‘Distinguished Professionals in Residence’ Program.

Human Rights Translated

We are also pleased to announce the release of the second edition of Human Rights Translated​: ​A Business Reference Guidewhich has been developed by Monash Law Faculty’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and various UN bodies.

For nearly a decade, Human Rights Translated has contributed to the widespread understanding of the importance of human rights in industry. By releasing the second edition and making it available for free online, the Castan Centre continues to contribute to public awareness and advocacy, academic scholarship and thought leadership, and political and legal reform in the field of human rights.

Student success stories

In other news, we would like to congratulate and celebrate Law student Rossalean To, who has made it into the World University Games this year in Taipei, Taiwan. We are always pleased to see students who take advantage of the wide variety of opportunities on offer. Rossa is an exceptional student who is involved in a variety of initiatives at Monash. As a result, the Faculty has provided Rossa with a grant to help her travel and achieve her goals. 

Rossalean, her parents and I were also present (on her birthday) at the recent annual dinner for elite athletes and artists who are members of Monash University’s Elite Student Performer Scheme.

On the topic of exceptional students, we also check in with one of our recent alumna, Sarah Spottiswood. Sarah was a recipient of the Sir John Monash Medal for Outstanding Achievement during her time at Monash, and she has since gone on to achieve great things. Sarah is currently studying for an LLM at the University of Cambridge.

Federal Budget and law schools

Finally, this e-Briefing is published while universities and law schools are waiting to see if the cuts to university funding in the 2007 Federal Budget survive their passage through the Federal Parliament intact. 

Before the Budget, the Australian Government contributed $2,200 per law student annually, and students paid more than $10,000 each annually (albeit as a deferred HECS debt until graduate employment). 

In other words, law students already receive the equal lowest public funding and pay the equal highest student contribution of any students in any degree in the country.

The result is that undergraduate law students already pay about 80% of the funded costs of their law degrees, one way or another. If each full-time law student is studying eight subjects per year, a total of about $12,000 of publicly supported funding per student doesn’t go very far. And the funded costs don’t always equate to the real costs. 

A law school either needs a lot of students or else cross-subsidisation from other sources (eg fee-paying courses and philanthropy) to provide a world-class educational environment, facilities, and staff to teach, assess, and support them.

The Federal Government now proposes to reduce its annual contribution per law student from $2,200 to $1,200. 

While we are experts in the legal education sector at doing more with less, we still need the advocacy and support of our alumni and others in the legal profession on this front more than ever.

Professor Bryan Horrigan, Dean, Monash Law Faculty

Our new state-of-the-art moot court

Monash Law Faculty is proud to announce the completion of a new $3.9 million multi-functional moot court facility.

The construction is part of an ongoing $16 million capital investment project on the David Derham School of Law Building at Clayton campus.

Located at the ground level and main entry point of the Law Building, the moot court is a contemporary and welcoming student-centred learning environment.

Designed by internationally acclaimed Melbourne-based architects Jackson Clements Burrows, the new moot court not only looks professional, elegant and sophisticated, but below the surface it is also embedded with the latest technology, including audio-visual and teleconferencing capability.

The moot court will be officially opened in Semester Two. Once opened, it will be used in multiple modes.

It will operate as a

  • formal and virtual moot court
  • mediation and arbitration facility
  • physical and virtual clinic
  • tutorial and seminar room
  • teleconference area
  • meeting venue
  • conference and workshop space
  • public oration forum, and
  • training resource for examining expert witnesses and ‘paperless’ court practices.

It has a capacity of up to 90 people, as well as extended audience viewing capabilities beyond the immediate gallery.

Professor Bryan Horrigan, dean of the Monash Law Faculty, says he is incredibly proud of the new moot court, and cannot wait to welcome students, staff, and members of the legal profession and of wider community to use the space​.

“This is a state-of-of the-art 21st century moot court, with numerous possible uses for students, staff, and visitors,” says Professor Horrigan.

“It is the centrepiece of an ongoing refurbishment of the iconic building that generations of students and alumni associate with their time here, and significantly enhances our world-class mooting, clinical, and work-integrated learning capability.”

We look forward to welcoming you as we officially launch the moot court at the commencement of Semester Two.

Is your business violating human rights?

Nearly a decade after its initial release a second edition of Human Rights Translated – A Business Reference Guide ​will be launched in June.

A co-publication between the Monash Law Faculty’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and the United Nations, Human Rights Translated decodes legal human rights concepts into plain language for use in a business context.

Since 2008, the publication has become a vital resource for businesses the world over and has received praise from UN expert bodies working on business and human rights. It was used by the World Bank in updating its performance standards for corporate partners.

“Human rights is of increasing importance to businesses in all sectors in all countries,” says Professor Sarah Joseph, director of the Castan Centre and one of the lead authors of ​Human Rights Translated.

“The costs of ‘getting it wrong’ are enormous in terms of reputation; it can lead to loss of morale, damaging lawsuits or a loss of investment,” she says.

“This book, like its first version, is designed to demystify human rights for business executives and practitioners.”

The latest edition of Human Rights Translated  includes references to the many developments in this evolving field over the last decade. In particular, it takes account of the advent of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from 2011. 

Additionally, it features all-new case studies which illustrate how human rights issues can arise for all types of businesses, as well as the strategies adopted (with varying degrees of success) to address them.

As the authors point out, the supplements saga at the Essendon Football Club has human rights consequences. 

In early 2016, 34 past and present Essendon players were found guilty by the Court of Arbitration for Sport of taking the banned substance Thymosin beta-4 during the 2012 season.

Aside from the career consequences the health implications for the players involved are yet to be known.

As the book points out, Essendon’s misconduct in this regard could be classified as a breach of the right to health. Essendon and the AFL have set up a long-term health program to monitor the players who were administered with the drugs.

The book explores other real life case studies including claims of worker exploitation at 7-Eleven, the CommInsure life insurance scandal and Rio Tinto's response to a radioactive leak in Kakadu.

​Human Rights Translated will be launched on Tuesday 20 June 2017. A free copy of Human Rights Translated will be available after the launch. Find more information about the launch here.

In recent years, the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law has used modest donor support to achieve systemic change that strengthens human rights in Australia. You can read all about their successes on LGBTQI rights, asylum seeker rights, disability and more in the Castan Centre's 2016 Impact Report​.

If you would like to donate to the Castan Centre, click here​.

How my passion for public law took me to Cambridge

M​onash Law graduate Sarah Spottiswood (LLB/BA 2013) has been awarded a Cambridge Australia Scholarship

The scholarship sees Sarah move from her role as a judge's associate at the High Court of Australia to Cambridge University, where she has commenced her Master of Law in international and public law.

During her time at Monash, Sarah was involved in an impressive array of activities.

Sarah was a project director of an environmental sustainability project through AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organisation. She was also a co-director of the global issues education portfolio at AIESEC Monash. 

She also took part in the Ship For World Youth Leaders Program run by the Government of Japan and was also part of the Women Migrants Legal Information Project at Victorian Women Lawyers.

Such contributions were made while maintaining a high distinction average.

Sarah undertook student exchanges to the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Hong Kong, as well as several overseas internships. 

Sarah travelled to Hong Kong to work for the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and King & Wood Mallesons, and to Malaysia to work with the Women’s Aid Organisation in Kuala Lumpur.

“I was fortunate enough to be supported by scholarships through Monash University and the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award to undertake my study overseas,” Sarah says.

Sarah believes pursuing international opportunities strengthened not only her CV, but most importantly her character.

“In my time abroad I developed independence, resilience and confidence, while building my personal and professional networks,” she says.

In 2012, Sarah won the Sir John Monash Medal for Outstanding Achievement.

After graduating, Sarah moved to Canberra to work for the Australian Government Solicitor, where she practiced in the fields of international, constitutional and administrative law. 

She has undertaken work with the Department of the Environment and the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, as well as working pro bono at Canberra Community Law and volunteering at the Night Time Legal Advice Service.

Sarah also spent a year as associate to the Hon. Justice Geoffrey Nettle of the High Court of Australia.

“I learnt an incredible amount as a judge’s associate and I would recommend the role to anyone,” Sarah says.

Although she’s yet to plan for her career beyond Cambridge, Sarah says she feels well prepared.

“Monash provided me with opportunities to explore my interests and passions which set me on a path to finding a career that I find interesting and fulfilling," she says.

"I was particularly inspired by a number of academics at the Monash Law and Arts faculties, and I am very grateful for their teachings and encouragement even to this day!”

For more information on the Cambridge Australia Scholarship visit

Law student represents Monash at World Uni Games in Taiwan

The World University Games kick off this August in Taipei, Taiwan. Students will travel from around the globe to compete. 

This year Monash University is proud to be represented in table tennis by Rossalean To. Rossa is currently studying  a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce.

Rossa’s love of table tennis began at the Springvale Community Centre. Soon she found herself training in the garage of her childhood home, rallying with her dad. 

Fast forward ten years and several titles later, and Rossa’s father, Simon Chea, is now her self-taught coach. He is quietly proud of his daughter’s ongoing success in the sport.

“Any time I was ready to quit, my dad made sure I stayed on track,” says Rossa. “His ongoing support is the main reason I have this opportunity today."

So far, Rossa’s table tennis career has taken her to regional Victoria and interstate. This is the first time she will compete overseas.

In addition to representing Monash at table tennis Rossa is also involved in a number of university programs. She is a student member of the Disciplinary Panel for Academic Misconduct and a Student Representative for the Dean’s Student Forum at Monash Business School.

Closest to Rossa’s heart is the Access Monash Mentoring Program, which puts students from underrepresented Colleges in touch with Monash University student mentors. While at high school, Rossa received support as a mentee of the program and her current role as a mentor has allowed her to give back in a meaningful way.

Rossa’s family is thankful that the Faculty of Law has provided a grant to help her travel to pursue her beloved sport.

“I am so thankful for the support I’ve received from my parents, and from Monash University. It’s exciting to see that my hard work over the years is paying off and I can't wait to compete in Taiwan,” Rossa said.

Rossa is achieving great things already and it’s only her second year of study. We are excited to see what the future holds for our aspiring student athlete.

Events & career development

Get involved in these upcoming Monash Law Faculty events and career development ​opportunities.

22-27 June

International Entertainment Law Masterclass

Explore the most pressing issues in international entertainment law and arm yourself with the knowledge and skills necessary to embark upon a career in this area​.

21 July

The Annual Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference

Join over 300 attendees from the law, civil society, academia and business at Australia's only annual human rights conference.

5, ​6 & 20 August

Open Day 2017

Learn about the range of courses and university life across Monash University's four Australian campuses.

17-22 August​

Australians Detained Abroad Masterclass

Join Lt Colonel (Ret) Dan Mori, U.S. military lawyer responsible for the defence of David Hicks, for this intensive Masters unit about the legal underpinnings, consular protections and avenues of redress in these sometimes-murky situations​.

Check out more upcoming events at Monash Law Faculty.