Upcoming Staff Seminars at La Trobe Law School

 

 


LLS Staff Seminar #1:
When the Damages Run Dry: The Borderlines of Tort,           Injury Compensation and        Social Security

Date: Thursday 3 March 2016

Time: 12.45am to 2.00pm

Venue: Martin Building, Level 3, Room 362A,
La Trobe University, Bundoora

Cost: Free

RVSP: Registration is required on Eventbrite

 

Abstract

Tort law aims to compensate injured plaintiffs by placing them in the position they would have occupied if uninjured (as far as money can). In practice, lump sums often ‘run out’ or are prematurely dissipated. Where plaintiffs’ funds have been dissipated, social security plays a key role in providing support. Despite the importance of understanding the interface of the tort and social security systems, there has been little empirical investigation of the experiences of tort plaintiffs who seek early access to social security after their receipt of damages.

Genevieve will present findings of an empirical study of special circumstances review decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. To prevent ‘double dipping’, a compensated tort plaintiff will typically be subject to a social security preclusion period. Under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth), the Department of Human Services and Centrelink may treat a compensation payment as not having been made, if appropriate in the special circumstances of the case. A finding of special circumstances can have the effect of reducing or waiving the preclusion period, thereby speeding up access to social security. These assessments can be appealed, paving the way for disputes at the border of social security and injury compensation. The disputes provide a rare window on the interface between these chief sources of financial support for people who sustain personal injury. Through content analysis of these decisions, this research sheds light on the characteristics and experiences of claimants who argue for early access to social security after they have received damages.

Biography

Dr Genevieve Grant is a Lecturer in the Law Faculty at Monash University, where she teaches litigation and dispute resolution, health law and legal ethics. Genevieve has a PhD in Law and Public Health, and a past history as an injury litigation lawyer. Her research is empirical and socio-legal and her interests include injury compensation and civil justice.

 

LLS Staff Seminar #2:
Love and Law in the Colonial Archive: Reflections on Australian Breach of Promise of Marriage Cases

Date: Thursday 14 April 2016

Time: 12.45am to 2.00pm

Venue: Martin Building, Level 3, Room 362A,
La Trobe University, Bundoora

Cost: Free

RVSP: Registration is required on Eventbrite.

 

Abstract

This paper will analyse a series of nineteenth century Breach of Promise cases to reflect upon the interaction between marriage, masculinity and the state in the Australasian colonies. Through examining cases involving women with illegitimate children who successfully sued under the action this paper will focus on both the significance of the suit for single mothers and the production of sentimental masculinities, defined through men’s capacity to keep their promises of marriage. I will tease out the tensions between a male breadwinner ideal crucial to ideas of ‘traditional marriage’ and the reality of poverty, the discrepancy between legal definitions of fatherhood as patriarchal right and the legal practice of fatherhood as financial obligation and the hilarity that ensued when men, whose rights to the public sphere were founded upon their reason and self-mastery, were exposed as irrational, giddy, feckless and nervous in the realm of marriage. From a Bachelors Club formed in 1854 to support men in breach of promise of marriage cases, to advertisements for invisible ink designed to prevent male love letters from being used in breach of promise actions, the suit functioned as both a horrifying spectre and a site of debate where changing models of ‘marital masculinity’ were defended, rewarded and punished.

Biography

Dr Alecia Simmonds is the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Law at UTS, a lecturer in Pacific World History at NYU-Sydney and the Book Review editor of Law and History. She is an inter-disciplinary scholar whose work on Australian cultural history and the relationship between emotion, imperialism and law in the Pacific has been published in a range of international and domestic journals. She is the author of the book Wild Man: the story of a police shooting, mental illness and the law, published by Affirm Press in 2015. Her current research project, entitled Hatching, Matching and Despatching uses breach of promise cases to examine the legal regulation of intimacy in Australia from 1788-1975.

 

LLS Staff Seminar #3:          Theorising Sovereign Debts

Date: Thursday 5 May 2016

Time: 12.45am to 2.00pm

Venue: Martin Building, Level 3, Room 362A,
La Trobe University, Bundoora

Cost: Free

RVSP: Registration is required on Eventbrite.

Abstract

In this talk Maria Giannacopoulos theorises Australia’s colonial history and its sovereign debt alongside the neo-liberal assimilationism and austerity in Greece in order to generate a conceptual space from which to track the historical and contemporary configurations of colonial power globally. She makes the argument that Australia does have a sovereign debt crisis and that Greece is currently gripped by colonising forces in the guise of neo-liberal austerity. In order do this, the mutually constitutive relation between sovereignty and debt will be revealed: debt transforms sovereign power just as sovereign power transforms debt. This approach to sovereign debt moves away from purely economic and political discussions in order to reveal the legalities of the colonising force embedded within this concept. After all, the eco(nomic) is always already a legal configuration.

Biography

Dr Maria Giannacopoulos is a Senior Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies and the Postgraduate Coordinator at Finders Law School. She has been teaching in both Socio-legal studies and Criminal Justice. She holds a double Honours degree in Law and English Literature and a PhD in Cultural Studies. Her research is interdisciplinary and primarily focuses on the complex relationship between law, justice and sovereignty with a specific emphasis on racialised communities (Aboriginal peoples, refugees and migrants) in Australia. In addition to this, she is exploring the impact of sovereign debt on notions of democracy and national sovereignty in the context of contemporary debt ‘crises’ in Europe.

 

LLS Staff Seminar #4:          Decision- Making About People Found Not Guilty by Reason of Impairment: Dilemmas and Human Rights       Challenges

Date: Thursday 2 June 2016

Time: 12.45am to 2.00pm

Venue: Martin Building, Level 3, Room 362A,
La Trobe University, Bundoora

Cost: Free

RVSP: Registration is required on Eventbrite

Abstract

Decision-making about people found not guilty by reason of mental impairment lies at the intersection of the criminal justice and mental health systems. Under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) the Supreme Court or County Court may declare that a defendant found not guilty on this basis is liable to supervision under Part 5 of the Act. The court then makes a supervision order for the person, requiring them to be kept in custody or releasing them on conditions.
Decisions about progress through, and release from, the forensic system are made by the court. The Forensic Leave Panel, a multi-disciplinary statutory tribunal, hears applications for short-term leave. Such decision-making is strongly influenced by the disciplines of forensic psychiatry and psychology. A major factor for these decision-makers to consider is the safety of the person subject to the order and members of the public. The court is also to apply the principle that restrictions on individual freedom and autonomy should be kept to the minimum consistent with community safety. The Forensic Leave Panel is required to consider the person’s rehabilitation, mental condition, clinical history and social circumstances.
In this seminar Fleur Beaupert will discuss dilemmas surrounding decision-making in this context, taking into account existing research and judicial decisions. There is an ongoing tension between the emphasis the legislation places upon public protection and meeting the individual needs of forensic patients. The seminar will also explore human rights challenges posed due to the advent of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Australia is a party. The Disability Convention calls for substantial restructuring of the way in which legal, health and social systems conceive of and respond to disability, including psychosocial disability or mental illness.

Biography

Dr Fleur Beaupert will start work as a lecturer at La Trobe Law School in July 2016. She holds a BA, LLB and PhD from the University of Sydney. Her doctoral thesis focused on mental health law and her recent research examines the implications of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for domestic law reform. Fleur was previously a Senior Research Analyst with the NSW Ombudsman’s Police Division, where she worked on a review of the updated consorting offence in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and led a review of new search powers and offence provisions in the Restricted Premises Act 1943 (NSW). Fleur has lectured for the University of Western Sydney and University of Sydney law faculties. She has worked as a solicitor with NSW Legal Aid’s Mental Health Advocacy Service and is a former Committee Member of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

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