Leader in legal research and education welcomes new academics

29 March 2022
World-class research and teaching expands with seven new appointments
Sydney Law School welcomes seven academics from Australia and around the world. Bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience, our new staff ensure we remain at the forefront of legal education and research.

Meet Sydney Law School’s latest recruits:

  • Dr Zofia Bednarz
  • Dr Michael Crawford
  • Dr Allan McCay
  • Mr Benjamin Mostyn
  • Dr Olugbenga Olatunji
  • Dr Christopher Rudge
  • Dr Laura Schujiers.

Our seven newest academic staff are raising the legal bar when it comes to research and education. 

Their collective areas of specialisation span topics including property theory, environmental law, artificial intelligence, neurotechnology, private law, intellectual property, and criminal law and justice.

We asked them to share their experiences, research motivations, and what excites them about the future of the profession and legal education.

Dr Zofia Bednarz

LLM (Warsaw), MA PhD (Málaga)

Dr Zofia Bednarz, Sydney Law School

Dr Zofia Bednarz

Dr Zofia Bednarz teaches and researches in the area of Commercial and Corporate Law.

Zofia's current research focuses on the use of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence tools, by financial firms and the implications it has for provision of financial services to consumers.

She is an Associate Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S).

"New and emerging technologies bring exciting new opportunities, but also important challenges, for commercial and corporate law, policy and regulation.

Lawyers have to keep up with the technological advancements and need to be prepared to understand the sociotechnical changes currently occurring.

I would encourage students to participate in competitions, programs and other events around digitalisation, disruptions and emerging tech, to learn about interactions between law and technology, possible applications of new technological tools and new expectations that the industry and future clients may have."

In my research I focus on the implications of the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in financial services industry for consumers, and the adequacy of the legal and regulatory framework to address harms that may arise out of conducts the technologies enable or incentivize. It is fascinating to see how corporate and commercial law is responding to these new challenges, and I hope that my research and teaching will help our students become lawyers ready to tackle this new sociotechnical reality.
Dr Zofia Bednarz

Dr Michael Crawford

BA, LLB (Hons 1), GDipTax (Melb), BCL (Oxon), PhD (Melb)

Dr Michael Crawford

Dr Michael Crawford

Dr Michael Crawford teaches and researches in property law and theory, equity and trusts and private law theory more generally.

His primary research interest is property theory, and in particular the economic analysis of fundamental property concepts such as ownership and possession.

His book, An Expressive Theory of Possession, uses concepts from game theory to help explain why unilateral acts of possession create original rights in tangible things.

Michael is also co-editor of Justifying Private Rights, a new volume on contemporary private law theory, and the author of articles and book chapters on constructive trusts, equitable security rights, trusts at the frontiers of technology and the interaction between property doctrines and notions of fairness.

My area of research interest is property theory and, more particularly, how systems of private property get “up and running” in the first place. I am excited to share and discuss my ideas with both my colleagues and students in the semesters and years to come.
Dr Michael Crawford

Dr Allan McCay

Dr Allan McCay

Dr Allan McCay is Deputy Director of The Sydney Institute of Criminology and, as result of the new round of appointments, also an Academic Fellow at Sydney Law School. He continues to coordinate the Legal Research units and to lecture in criminal law.

Dr McCay was named by Australasian Lawyer as one of one of the most influential lawyers of 2021 for his work in neurotechnology, criminal law and human rights.

His first coedited volume (with Dr Michael Sevel), Free Will and the Law: New Perspectives, is published by Routledge. His second is entitled Neurointerventions and the law: Regulating human mental capacity and is published by Oxford University Press.

"For some time, I have been interested in the way that the criminal law mitigates punishment for some kinds of offenders and not others. I am also interested why the criminal law excuses some defendants and not others, and this connects with a broader philosophical interest that I have in free will and punishment.

Recently I have been looking at the way that technologies such as brain-computer interfaces might raise issues related to my research focus and have become increasingly interested in a range of questions connected to emerging technologies."

Where appropriate in my teaching, I try to bring my enthusiasm for these topics to bear on the material the students are engaging with. I believe that it is useful for students to engage in theoretical reflection on the law, and to consider changes that might be prompted by technological development.
Dr Allan McCay

Mr Ben Mostyn

LLB (UNSW), MA (South Florida)

Mr Ben Mostyn

Mr Ben Mostyn’s primary research interest is global drug policy. His PhD is examining National Archives documents around Australia’s decision to sign the 1988 United Nations drug convention.

He is looking at whether global forces and institutional forces caused Australia to sign the convention and further entrench the global War on Drugs.

Related to this research, Ben is interested in criminalisation, police powers, drug law reform and regulating global drug markets.

“My research is motivated principally to analyse criminal justice systems, in particular global drug policy. I use archival research to trace the history of the global war on drugs and investigate how the United Nations has relied on the war on drugs to increase its funding.”

I am excited about my new position at Sydney engaging in clinical legal education where I will be involved in placing students at public interest law centres and running small classes where we discuss and reflect on their experience. A primary question we will be considering is how law can be used in the public interest.
Mr Ben Mostyn

Dr Olugbenga Olatunji

LLB (Hons) (Ibadan), LLM (Cambs), MIP (Zim), PhD (UTAS)

Dr Olugbenga Olatunji

Dr Olugbenga Olatunji teaches Trade marks and Patents unit alongside Torts and Contracts unit.

His broad research theme explores the intersections between the conferment of intellectual property-related monopoly rights on private entities and access of poor populations (especially in East Africa Community) to quality and affordable medicines.

Olugbenga’s research interests also extend to other IP-related subject-matters such as free trade agreements, anti-counterfeiting laws and the implications of developed-country-favoured preferential agreementson the freewill of low- and middle-income countries to use IP rights exceptions.

“For years, I saw and read of how millions of people in Africa (and other poor countries) died from otherwise treatable and/or curable medical conditions for lack of access to required drugs/treatments. For them, lack of access is synonymous with inability to afford high prices set for these treatments at pharmacies and hospitals. I had always wondered as a law student how the law could play a soothing role for this class of people.

This background shaped my research focus – understanding the relationship between intellectual property rights and everything access to medicines.

  • What is the nature of this relationship?
  • What kind of relationship ought to exist between patent protection for pharmaceutical inventions and public access to affordable medicines?
  • At what point does patent protection for incentivising innovations become a liability for access to medicines?

These are some of the questions which I seek to address using the instrumentality of the law. Given the available academic resources at this prestigious law school, I look forward to drawing from these resources for quality research aimed at answering these questions.

As an Intellectual Property law teacher, I expect to see a retool of the legal education to ensure it keeps abreast of contemporary developments. With new and ground-breaking technologies expected to emerge in the nearest future, I particularly envisage more pivotal role for IP laws, IP lawyers and IP law teachers in conceptualising, enacting, applying, and teaching regulatory provisions required to draw the right balance between rewards for private investments and ensuring affordable public access to emerging technologies.

It can also be expected that teachers and practitioners of other legal subjects – Contract law, Torts law, Corporations law, etc. – will have more regulatory obligations tossed on them to ensure a smooth running of the society."

As stakeholders in the legal profession, I see it as our collective responsibility to ensure that law school curricula are futuristic in nature so they can prepare our students for a future of metaverse and other cool technologies.
Dr Olugbenga Olatunji

Dr Christopher Rudge

BA (Hons 1) Sydney, LLB Sydney, PhD Sydney

Dr Christopher Rudge

Dr Christopher Rudge is a lecturer in private law at Sydney Law School and a member of Sydney Health Law.

Christopher has a broad network of research collaborators in the sciences and social sciences across the world, and focuses on legal issues relevant to the regulation of innovative medical technologies, including genome editing, stem cell-based interventions (including extracellular vesicles) and other innovative medical treatments in Australia.

Christopher’s research focus also extends to health practitioner regulation, law and psychiatry (including the law of mental impairment), neurolaw, and drug policy and regulation. 

"My hope is that graduates from this Law School can learn our rules so well that they may not only apply them when appropriate, but also challenge them where they may be problematic.

As for my scholarship, my research is in health and medical law. I ask critical questions about out health systems:

  • How are new and experimental therapeutic goods regulated?
  • What kinds of clinical trials are regarded as safe?
  • Why is genome editing unlawful in Australia, and should it remain so?

I am excited by the future of the legal profession; and, contrary to some predictions, I see the human skills of lawyering as increasingly important to our progress and prosperity."

When I teach the law, I am motivated to inform students in as complete and rigorous a way as can be reasonably tolerated! This means nurturing a deep and critical understanding of the complex legal mechanisms underlying our continent’s legal system.
Dr Christopher Rudge

Dr Laura Schuijers

Dr Laura Schuijers

Dr Laura Schuijers is a property law lecturer at Sydney Law School and Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law.

Her research explores the science-law interface, including how ecological and climate-related evidence is used in court cases and in government decision-making under Australian planning and impact assessment laws.

Laura completed her doctoral thesis on the capacity of the legal system to manage environmental risk at the University of Melbourne, attending Oxford University’s Law Faculty and Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Law as a visiting scholar. Laura served as a postdoctoral climate change fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute before joining the faculty at Sydney. 

“Climate litigation is helping to determine where responsibility lies - who must take action and who should pay. Science plays an important role because it assists policymakers and courts in determining causal relationships and the impacts likely to be felt. For over a decade my study and research has been focused on the science-law disciplinary interplay and the way in which legal and ecological systems intertwine.”

Climate change is one of the foremost challenges facing the world today, and is a driver that acts cumulatively in contributing to other environmental problems such as biodiversity loss. Now is a critical time to be scrutinising laws that exacerbate climate change and developing laws designed to mitigate its effects.
Dr Laura Schuijers

Facts & figures

  • World leading research Our research achieved the highest rating of 5, or “well above world standard”, in the latest Excellence in Research for Australia Initiative (ERA).
  • Research with impact In the Australian Research Council's first Engagement and Impact Assessment of research at Australian universities, our law and legal research received the highest rating for its impact and engagement.

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