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Dr Anita Mackay Senior Lecturer, Law Melbourne

Anita is a Senior Lecturer at La Trobe Law School. Anita's research interests are varied, but the unifying theme is how law may be used as a tool to protect vulnerable and marginalised members of the community. For example, the protection afforded to people in prison by international human rights law (Anita's forthcoming book is about human rights compliance in Australian prisons: https://press.anu.edu.au/publications/towards-human-rights-compliance-australian-prisons) and the protection of vulnerable witnesses during Royal Commissions.

Anita has an interest in how law reform processes, such as Parliamentary Committees and Royal Commissions, provide avenues for public participation and exposure of wrongdoing. In conducting this research she draws on her experience as a legal researcher for a Victorian parliamentary committee, and extensive experience developing government responses to recommendations from within the public service.

Anita has published nationally and internationally on topics including what Australia may learn from the Nordic approach to imprisonment, smoking bans in prisons and forensic psychiatric institutions and same-sex marriage under international law. Anita was the recipient of the Law School's Research Excellence Award in 2017 (Early Career Researcher category). Anita's publications can be accessed on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1777989

Anita has a particular specialisation in first year law teaching and is committed to ensuring students have a smooth transition to Law School (whether they are new to university or new to law). This is reflected in her student evaluation surveys where students have made comments such as "Anita is always encouraging and willing to offer guidance and support in both her lectures and seminars" and "Anita makes the seminars enjoyable to attend". Students also commented that Legal Institutions and Methods was "transitioned well" to an online format in 2020 by Anita, noting that "the online Zoom seminars were easy to participate in and allowed for group discussions with all members of the class".

Anita aims to contribute to policy development through active engagement with law reform processes. This includes preparing submissions to inquiries (e.g. by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Royal Commissions), and appearing before a parliamentary committee as an expert witness.

Prior to joining La Trobe Law School Anita worked on the Applying Human Rights in Closed Environments project at Monash University, as a Senior Legal Officer in the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department (in a range of policy areas, including family law and access to justice), as a Legal Research Officer for a Victorian Parliamentary Committee and as a Lecturer at Western Sydney University.


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