Law and economics researcher wins Australian Research Council Award

23 September 2022
Sydney Law School academic awarded 2023 Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)
Dr Ben Chen has been awarded $445,880 for research into inheritance litigation.

Sydney Law School researcher and Senior Lecturer Dr Ben Chen has been awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) 2023 Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA).

Dr Ben Chen, Sydney Law School

Dr Chen is a law and economics scholar writing in the areas of equity and trusts, civil litigation, and game theory. He has published research on elder financial abuse and inheritance disputes in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. He has also offered economic analyses of costs and cost-shifting rules in civil litigation.

The ARC Award of $445,880 will fund Dr Chen’s research project on costs and delay in inheritance litigation.

Ben’s interdisciplinary expertise in law and economics has been recognised by this award — one of only four DECRA’s awarded nationally in the discipline of law. There is an old saying ‘Where there is a will, there is a relative’! Understanding motivations that lead to intra-familial conflict and litigation, and identifying ways to mitigate them, is a matter of enduring significance for policy development and law reform.
Professor Simon Bronitt, Head of School and Dean

The project aims to develop behavioural economic models of inheritance litigation to gauge what cost-reduction strategies will work and inform law reform efforts.

Australians are witnessing the greatest intergenerational wealth transfer in history. Unfortunately, more and more families are going to court over inheritance. These disputes tear families apart and impose high costs on families and the courts.
Dr Ben Chen, Sydney Law School