Photo of Peter Handford

Peter Handford

Emeritus Professor, LLB Birm., LLM PhD Camb.

  • The University of Western Australia (M253), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated using citation counts from Scopus for publications in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
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Personal profile

Biography

Peter taught at the Law School between 1977 and 2016 (continuing in a part-time capacity between 1983 and 1998 when he was the Executive Officer and Director of Research of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia). He was appointed a Professor in 2004. Peter was the Law School's Deputy Dean until September 2012. Between 2009 and 2012 he was responsible for curriculum reform and planning the transition from the LLB to the JD. He retired in July 2016 and is now a Senior Honorary Research Fellow.

Office: Law Link Building Room 1.40

Roles and responsibilities

Peter has been a member of the editorial board of the Tort Law Review since 1993. He was the Executive Officer and Director of Research of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia between 1983 and 1998, and in that capacity was the author of reports on limitation of actions, wills, probate, spent convictions, Police Act offences and sale of goods. He was also a member of the Commission between 1993 and 1995. Between 1995 and 1997 he was the Western Australian representative on the Uniform Succession Law National Project Committee, and between 2004 and 2019 was a member of the Attorney General's Working Group reviewing the law of succession in Western Australia.

Peter is a member of the Francis Burt Law Education Programme Advisory Committee, and the chair of the sub-committee responsible for the oral history programmee and the Old Court House Museum. The Francis Burt Law Education Programme provides community legal education programmes and promotes the community's understanding of the law and the legal system.

Previous positions

Lecturer in Law, University of Leicester, England, 1970-78
Executive Officer and Director of Research, Law Reform Commission of Australia, 1983-1998
Member, Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, 1993-1995

Current projects

Peter is currently writing a History of the UWA Law School scheduled for publication when the Law School reaches its centenary. As part of his long-standing interest in tort liability for psychiatric injury, he is researching the background of the first nervous shock case - Victorian Railways Commissioners v Coultas (1888).

Teaching overview

Peter taught Torts in the JD degree, and also the LLB optional unit Advanced Torts Law (in partnership with Professor Evelyn Ellis, Emeritus Professor of Public Law at Birmingham University in the UK, and in 2016 with Dr Brenda McGivern). He also taught Torts in the LLB degree.

In past years he has taught other units including Legal Process (continuously from 1982 to 2006), Contract, Comparative Law, Conflict of Laws, and the LLM unit Limitation of Actions.

Research

Peter's major research interests lie in the field of torts, in particular liability for psychiatric injury, limitation of actions, legal history and law reform.

He also has a special interest in comparative law, both generally and in relation to torts in particular.

Recent research projects include
Prosecuting crime in 19th century Western Australia - articles published in (2018) 43 University of Western Australia Law Review 143 and 'Early Days' (Journal of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society) No 103 (2019) 17.

Limitation of actions and sexual abuse - analysis of recent legislative changes and other recent developments in limitation of actions law, to be published as part of 'The Laws of Australia' in 2021.

Research expertise keywords

  • Torts/ Mental Health
  • Torts
  • Limitation Of Actions
  • Legal History
  • Comparative law
  • Conflict of laws
  • Law reform
  • Legal history and biography
  • Legal process
  • Limitation of actions
  • Tortious liability for psychiatric injury

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