Dr Nicola Ross
|Work Phone||(02) 4921 5871|
|Fax||(02) 4921 6931|
Newcastle Law School
The University of Newcastle, Australia
|Office||MC 162, McMullin Building|
I have worked both as a lawyer in private practice (family law and crime), as a social worker in developing and managing a community team, and as a policy consultant to State and Federal Government. I have taught at the Law School since 1999 and have been actively involved in research since 2005. My PhD was awarded in 2012. I coordinate the Family Law and Child Law courses and teach into Legal System and Method and the Dispute Resolution elective in the Law School. I have previously taught into Criminal Law and Procedure and the Criminal Justice System. My area of research specialisation is children’s lawyers. My current research interests are in children’s human rights, legal representation of children and children’s participation in the legal process; child protection and the interface with Family Law, and children and criminal law. I am interested in inter-professional education and collaboration between lawyers and social workers. I have published in relation to peer mentoring and am currently engaged in research into the use of simulated clients in legal education.
- Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sydney, 2012
- Diploma of Legal Practice, College of Law, 1997
- Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Macquarie University, 1996
- Bachelor of Social Work (Honours), University of New South Wales, 1983
- Children's Participation
- Children's human rights
- Children's lawyers
- Family Law and child protection
- Interprofessional collaboration
- simulated clients in legal education
My doctorate considered how children’s lawyers in family law, child protection and crime understand the aspects of their role intended to facilitate children’s participation. I undertook an empirical study that explored lawyers' experience of representing children and revealed some of the tensions that impacted on their practice. This study employed a qualitative method, using interviews with 35 children’s lawyers who practise in one, two or all three of these jurisdictions in New South Wales. The study utilised existing research into children’s experiences of legal representation. It took a children’s rights approach, coupled with relational theory, sociocultural theory and the sociology of childhood. The findings suggest that lawyers’ practice in relation to children’s participation is affected by the nature of the proceedings and discourse in the jurisdiction, the model of representation and individual factors relating to lawyers’ ethical orientations to practice. Lawyers’ relational approaches correlated most closely with children’s right to participation and expectations of legal representation.
I am engaged in a number of collaborative projects, with colleagues from the University of Newcastle and professionals in the local area. Current active projects (i) supporting family law system professionals to collect and disseminate information about child protection and (ii) evaluating the use of simulated clients in legal education.
I have co-edited the Australian Families Research E-Bulletin (3 issues per year) together with Dr Richard Fletcher, Family Action Centre (University of Newcastle) and Dr Jonathan Toussaint, Director, Interrelate, NSW since 2010.
Fields of Research
|220104||Human Rights And Justice Issues||35|
|180121||Legal Practice, Lawyering And The Legal Profession||35|
Body relevant to professional practice.
- Member - Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia
- Member - Newcastle Law Society
- Member - Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association
Committee/Associations (relevant to research).
- Member - Australasian Law Teachers Association
- Member - Greater Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network
- Member - Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
I have organised various seminars and events for the university and local professionals, including:
• Seminar Magistrate Dorelle Pinch, ‘The Balibo 5 coronial inquest; 11/11/2009 (open to the public)
• Dinner: Assoc. Prof Helen Rhoades, Chair, Family Law Council, and Anne Hollands, Chair of the Family Relationships Services Australia, ‘Strengthening Relationships within the Family Law System, 2/12/2010 (together with the Newcastle Family Law Pathways Network and Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners’ Associaton)
I convened the Law School’s Legal Research Network in 2009 and for first semester of 2012. I initiated and facilitated the first Writing Group (for academics and RHD students) in the Law School in 2012 and represented Newcastle Law School on the Faculty Research Committee in 2012.
In 2011, I was appointed as Newcastle Law School’s representative to the Australasian Law Teachers Association.
- Child Law
- Child Protection
- Dispute resolution
- Family law
- Legal Method - communication
I have supervised six Honours students since 2010 in relation to family and child law topics. These include:
Rachel Aspinall, ‘Children and Internet Exposure to Pornography’: Reframing the Debate using Children’s Rights’.
Nicole Lojszczyk, ‘The Changing Face of Relocation: An examination of the proposoal of a presumption in favour of relocation in circumstances involving family violence’.
Khiara Tritton, ‘The Use of Social Science Research in Alienation Matters: The need for specialist knowledge in specialist courts’.
Loren Riddell, ‘Crossover Youth: An examination of the welfare needs of children involved in the New South Wales juvenile justice system’.
Kwan Fu Tiphanie Au, ‘Achieving Certainty and Fairness in Binding Financial Agreements’.