Legal Hour is a bi-annual signature event, showcasing UNSW Law & Justice academics, alumni and community experts in a one-hour panel discussion on a trending legal topic.

Legal Hour is open to all UNSW alumni, students and wider community members seeking professional growth, learning and networking opportunities. Legal Hour is also eligible for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for legal professionals.

Gender, Genes & Wrongful Convictions | 31 October

Implications of the Kathleen Folbigg case

What can be learned from Ms Folbigg’s case, now recognised as one of Australia’s worst miscarriages of justice? Our panel delve into the evidence and implications of the case - from conviction, to appeal, to the two recent Inquiries, and the cutting-edge genetic evidence that led to Ms Folbigg’s release.

The panel raises crucial questions, including:

  • what this case can tell us about the effectiveness of our criminal appeals and review processes
  • the gendered nature of wrongful convictions in Australia and the impact of media portrayal
  • how we can improve the way that scientific evidence is presented in criminal cases
  • what are the next steps for Ms Folbigg and the criminal justice system
  • whether it is time to establish a Criminal Cases Review Commission in NSW 

Previous Legal Hour events

  • It’s no secret - artificial intelligence is coming of age as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, giving rise to a new era of changes to the legal profession.

    While some fear the rise of ‘robot lawyers’ is the beginning-of-the-end for the future of the legal profession; opposing views see the rise of legal technology as an opportunity to enhance and optimise lawyers’ performance and services. Both predictions have important ramifications for clients and society at large. 

  • In collaboration with China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre

    Central bank digital currency (CBDC) is a digital version of fiat currency. With the rise of cryptocurrencies, declining use of cash, and emergence of stablecoins, economies such as Australia, EU, US and China are exploring CBDCs and the possibility of CBDCs going global.

    With the introduction of CBDCs, currency competition is likely to be fierce between public money and private money, giving rise to a new financial ecosystem that will generate huge volumes of data that is considered ‘King’ in the digital age. CBDCs will also profoundly affects business models – from finance and e-commerce, to data, technology and security.

    As we look ahead to the future, what are the game changing impacts of CBDCs? How do the benefits and opportunities weigh up against the challenges and risks?

    Panel Chair:
    UNSW Scientia Professor Ross Buckley, member of the Herbert Smith Freehills China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre


    • Urszula McCormack | Partner, Cross Border Finance and Technology, King & Wood Mallesons
    • Professor Barney Tan | Head of School, Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School
    •  Michele Levine | Partner, Hamilton Locke
  • In collaboration with UNSW Kaldor Centre for Refugee and International Law 

    Half the people in the world live in places highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In Australia, too, intensifying bushfires, cyclones, droughts, floods and rising seas are making life increasingly precarious for millions of people. The threat multiplier of climate change raises important issues of justice.

    How can we best support people put at risk by disasters and other climate change impacts? What role can leaders, lawyers and ordinary people play in advancing climate justice? What needs to happen now to protect the most vulnerable, today and into the future?

    Panel Chair: 
    Scientia Professor Jane McAdam AO is Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and a Scientia Professor at UNSW Law & Justice.


    • Greg Mullins AO AFSM is the former Commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue and the author of Firestorm (Penguin, 2021).
    • Fleur Ramsay is the Special Counsel for the International Program at the Environmental Defenders Office in Sydney.
    •  Oliver Toohey (LLM 2009) is the International Climate Program Manager at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • In collaboration with UNSW Allens Hub

    Our esteemed panellists will discuss laws that should apply to big tech and big tech’s willingness to comply. The conversation will focus on a broad variety of recent incidents and emerging issues, from misleading conduct to calls for greater regulation.

    Legal Hour offers you the opportunity to learn from leaders in their field. This event is particularly significant, taking place in our Faculty’s 50th Anniversary year.

    Panel Chair:
    Professor Lyria Bennett Moses (BSc LLB 1999), Director of the Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation and a Professor at UNSW Law & Justice


    • Valeska Bloch (BA LLB 2007, LLM 2010), Technology, Media, Telecommunications and Data Partner at Allens
    • Shoshana Shields, Director of Legal for Google Australia and New Zealand
    • Dr Katharine Kemp (PhD 2016), Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law & Justice and expert in data privacy and competition law
  • Scientia Professor George Williams hosts an expert panel of UNSW alumni on ‘Freedom of the Press’ – an area for which Australian law does not currently provide clear and unambiguous protection. Our expert panel discuss critical questions about the rights of journalists and their sources, the importance of press freedom to democracy, and whether ‘public interest’ is always a clear cut defence. These questions have new and greater significance now, during the international health and economic crisis that is COVID-19. What are the media’s rights and responsibilities in this unique context and are our media regulations fit for the purpose?

    Panel Chair:
    Scientia Professor George Williams AO, former Dean of UNSW Law & Justice 


    • Connie Carnabuci (BCom/LLB'86) - General Counsel, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
    • Nicholas Gray (BCom/LLB'97) - Managing Director, The Australian, NSW & Prestige Titles: News Corp. Australia
    • Hugh Marks (BCom/LLB'90) - CEO and Director, Nine Network Limited
  • What do you think about when you hear the word slavery? Ancient Greece or Egypt, or the more than 12 million Africans who were traded across the Atlantic? Slavery existed then, and it still exists now. The clothes we wear, the coffee we drink, the food we eat – all of these are the end products of long supply chains tainted by modern slavery.

    Legal Hour will explore whether Australia’s legal framework, which is premised on mandated corporate disclosures, is likely to be effective in combating modern slavery. Is more needed? And how should businesses be responding?

    Panel Chair: Professor Justine Nolan, UNSW Law & Justice