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Upcoming Events


Panel on Redesigning Legal Services for Better User Experience
28 February, Herbert Smith Freehills
Panellists for this event include Sam Flynn, enterprising lawyer and co-founder of Melbourne legal tech start up Josef, who will talk about how legal bots can improve the way we provide legal services and facilitate access to justice; Reuben Stanton, Design Director and Co-Founder of Paper Giant, who will speak to his experience as a non-lawyer building; and Madeline Oldfield, Independent Management Consultant, Adjunct Fellow at Sir Zelman Cowen Centre and former Director of Resolving Disputes Digitally @ VCAT, who will explore how applying human-centred design on the VCAT Online Dispute Resolution Pilot provided an innovative approach to delivering new legal tech that improved access to justice for Victorians. See link for ticketing details.


Doherty Institute Q&A
28 February, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
At this special event, you will have the unique opportunity to listen to a distinguished panel consisting of Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, the Honourable Michael Kirby and Professor Christine Kilpatrick, CEO of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, answer questions posed by staff and students from the Doherty Institute. Questions will be framed around the themes of public health, human rights, gender equity and leadership.

Science and Technology Law News

'Spiritual healer' told dying cancer patient to stop medical treatment
This month Mr Jensen was banned by the Health Complaints Commissioner from importing, manufacturing, or compounding any substance that he or anyone else claims can cure cancer.

The cyber attack on Parliament was done by a 'state actor'
Whether it's hackers stealing files from defence contractors or Federal Parliament's computer network being undermined, Australia has for years come under attack from cyber criminals and foreign governments.

My Health Record opt-outs top 2.5m as service moves to 'evolving' choice
The scheme allows digital records to be shared between providers to improve the effectiveness of health care, but the rollout has been plagued with controversy.

Lander & Rogers partners with YBF Ventures to open LawTech hub
The space will be open to the firm's staff and clients, and startups, with startups to be accepted for set periods through two intakes a year.

Lethal medication sourced for Victoria's voluntary euthanasia scheme
The medication needed to make the lethal dose is already legal in Australia, and there will be no need to import the banned euthanasia drug pentobarbital.

Platforms, ads and the media?
Podcast: Traditional media has been transformed by technological change and across the world, governments and regulators are contemplating the impact of the disruption on the production and consumption of news.

What's the 'right' regulation for Facebook?
Podcast: One of the latest regulators to take aim is the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in its Inquiry into Digital Platforms and their impact on media and advertising sectors.

Law and ethics around using children as tissue donors
Podcast: What if you are a small child, there's nothing wrong with you, and doctors and your parents are very keen that you donate your healthy tissue?

Climate change takes front seat in NSW court
Podcast: The NSW Land and Environmental Court has ruled against a proposed Rocky Hill coal mine in NSW Hunter Valley coal mine development citing the mine's impact on climate change.

Pixilated prisoners: having your day in court via audio visual link
Podcast: In recent years, there has been an explosion in the use of AVLs between prisons and courtrooms.

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The 2018 SATLA Committee would like to thank everyone who attended our 'BigLaw and Start-Ups' event, as well as our events throughout the year. We have greatly enjoyed bringing you the opportunity to engage with industry experts, academics, and like-minded students to learn about emerging areas of science and technology law. In the meantime, we wish you all the best of luck with exams, and look forward to seeing you next year!

Welcoming Our 2019 Executive Committee

We would like to extend a warm welcome to the incoming Committee. Please feel free to reach out to them if you have any queries about SATLA.

  • President: Nick Gillies

  • Vice President: Mona Zhang

  • Communications Director: Sarah Watson

  • Treasurer: Max Slattery

  • Sponsorship Director: May Mehrebin

  • Events Directors: Madelaine Pittle and Monica La Macchia

Upcoming Events

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Expert Hack (podcast): Lawyers vs Artificial Intelligence
John Denton and Jodie Baker discuss how lawyers are using their creativity to deliver better outcomes, despite the rise of AI. From the University of Melbourne, Expert Hack is a podcast about the changing world of work, and how industry experts are finding clever solutions to tricky problems.


Access to Voluntary Assisted Dying in Victoria: Legal and Clinical Perspectives
13 November, Health Law and Ethics Network
The Health Law and Ethics Network presents a panel of experts to discuss the issues arising out of Victoria’s new assisted dying law. Co-hosted with the Melbourne School of Government, this event marks the official launch of Health Law and Ethics Network at Melbourne Law School.

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My Health Record: Distorting the Balance of Trust?

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Date: 1:00 - 2:00pm, Tuesday 2 October 2018 
Location: Room 920, Melbourne Law School

Please register your attendance here.Attendees are welcome to bring their lunch.

This event is part of the Health Law and Ethics Network monthly seminar series, and will be co-hosted with SATLA, HeLEX@Melbourne, and the Centre for Media and Communications Law.

The My Health Record is now in its controversial ‘opt out’ phase. In this presentation, Dr Megan Prictor and Assoc Prof Mark Taylor of the HeLEX@Melbourne team will explore the My Health Record’s aims and legal framework, the current concerns and government responses, and provide context from the failed ‘’ project in the UK.

Upcoming Events

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Health Reform Challenges in My Life
1 October, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
Prof Brendan Murphy is Chief Medical Officer for the Australian Government and principal medical adviser to the Department of Health. He will discuss a selection of health reform challenges from his life, including workforce reform, primary care reform, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and pharmaceutical benefits scheme sustainability.

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Law and the Gig Economy
2 October, Thomson Reuters & The Legal ForecastAs part of its 'In Conversation Series', The Legal Forecast will host a Q&A panel on being a lawyer in the gig economy. The evening will explore the questions you have about being a ‘freelance’ lawyer, the opportunities available to enterprising lawyers who work in this innovative field, and the challenges workplaces will face in future.

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Global Litigation to Fight Global Warming
4 October, Global Law Students Association
In Global Law Students Association's biannual Global Thinking Lecture Series, Greens Co-Deputy Leader and Spokesperson on climate change, Adam Bandt, will speak about the growing field of litigation and regulation to help stop global warming.

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Designed to Order: Contemplating a Future where Synthetic Human Cells are Made on Demand
25 October, The University of Melbourne
This workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary mix of scholars and stakeholders to consider the social goods that designer cell technologies aspire to achieve, lessons from other countries, and cross-disciplinary and governance practices and processes required to responsibly enable progress.

Science and Technology Law News

EU terrorism regulation threatens internet health in Europe
The European Commission has proposed a troublesome new regulation regarding terrorist content online.

European Court of Human Rights: Big Brother Watch v The United Kingdom 
Applications were introduced following revelations by Edward Snowden relating to electronic surveillance programmes operated by the intelligence services of the USA and the UK. Applicants believed that their electronic communications were likely to have been intercepted by the UK intelligence services.

Teething problems as blockchain finds its feet
Arnold Bloch Leibler partner Michael Dodge explains that if blockchain technology is to realise its dazzling potential, some fundamental issues need to be addressed.

WA Police brings in AI detectives to catch crooks
Police in Western Australia have completed trials of a comprehensive new system that uses the latest AI tools to comb through mountains of digital evidence and help solve cases faster.

Leave no dark corner
China is building a digital dictatorship to exert control over its 1.4 billion citizens. For some, "social credit" will bring privileges - for others, punishment.

The complexities of cyber sovereignty in Chinese airlines over Australian skies
On a recent trip from Melbourne to Shanghai I was confused to find some internet services were inaccessible.

Digital delivery of legal services to people on low incomes
The UK's Legal Education Foundation has released its third annual report.

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Welcome to Week 8! This has been an exciting fortnight in science and technology law, with particular highlights being Australia's proposed new surveillance laws, and the announcement of the Australian National Blockchain.

Upcoming Events

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Science, Objectivity and Political Responsibility in the Litigation of Two Oil Spills 11 September, Melbourne School of Social and Political Sciences

This presentation examines the role of scientific experts and expertise in legal proceedings. It compares the decisions made by two scientists contributing to litigation concerning the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 and petroleum contamination in the Ecuadorian Amazon by ChevronTexaco from the mid-1960s through to the early 1990s.

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New Reporting and Investigation of Medical Accidents in Japan
14 September, Melbourne Law School
New reporting and investigation of medical accidents was introduced in 2014, but few medical accidents are currently reported by medical organisations. The culture of blame may be a major barrier to the openness and honesty required for incidents to be reported. This seminar will discuss the statistics of medical reporting, as well as the differences between the new reporting, investigation and civil litigation.

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The Evolution of AI in Information Security
18 September, Victorian Society for Computers and the Law
Panellists for this session will explore case studies of how organisations want to embrace AI, its impact and how AI/machine learning is being applied in automated attacks and defence.

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Emerging Frontiers in International Environmental Law
22 November, Melbourne Law School
This seminar brings together expert contributors to the planned 2nd edition of the Oxford Handbook on International Environmental Law. It will feature presentations on: the interface of science with international environmental law; the impact of IP law on international environmental law; efforts to deal with fragmentation, including the draft Global Pact for the Environment; and key challenges in national implementation of international environmental laws. 

Science and Technology Law News

Australia Wants to Take Government Surveillance to the Next Level
A new bill will help intelligence agencies circumvent encryption. And what starts Down Under won’t necessarily stay there.

Eyes in the Sky: The New Way to Identify Human Rights Abuses
The "firehose" of satellite imagery now available is helping to corroborate eyewitness testimony and disproves counter-claims from perpetrators.

IBM, Data61, and Herbert Smith Freehills partner to develop Australian National Blockchain
IBM, the CSIRO’s Data61, and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills have teamed up to develop the Australian National Blockchain, a large-scale, publicly available blockchain solution designed for Australian legal compliance.

The Rise of the Crypto Hedge Fund: Opportunities and Challenges
The extraordinary returns generated by cryptocurrencies have led to a frenzy of investment activity and interest from investors. Several new crypto hedge funds have emerged, and cryptocurrency is fast establishing itself as a mainstream asset class.

Franken-algorithms: The Deadly Consequences of Unpredictable Code
The death of a woman hit by a self-driving car highlights an unfolding technological crisis, as code piled on code creates ‘a universe no one fully understands’.

Apple's Next Big Product Will Be Computer Glasses, Mounting Evidence Suggests
It seems like the company has decided it will launch a pair of smartglasses that can impose digital information onto the real world through its advanced lenses.The latest brick in this mound of evidence? Apple recently acquired a small Colorado based company, Akonia Holographics.

It's Time to Break Up Facebook
In Tim Wu's new book The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, he argues compellingly for a return to aggressive antitrust enforcement in the style of Teddy Roosevelt, saying that Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other huge tech companies are a threat to democracy as they get bigger and bigger.

SATLA 2019 Executive Committee Recruitment

SATLA is currently recruiting for our 2019 Committee!

Applicants must be students in the Juris Doctor at Melbourne Law School. We welcome all such students with a background or interest in science and technology to apply, regardless of their experience in student societies. 

Applications close at 5:00pm on Sunday 2 September and should be sent to

See the position descriptions for more information and how to apply. 

Successful applicants will be contacted for interviews in Week 8. The incoming committee will formally assume responsibilities after the end of Semester 2 Examinations, but will engage with the outgoing committee during a handover period in Semester 2.

Science and Technology Law Updates

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Competition Lore
With Professor Caron Beaton-Wells of Melbourne Law School
This podcast explores topical competition law issues, often with a focus on competition in the digital space. Professor Beaton-Wells was a panellist on our recent event, "Competition Issues in an Online World".


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Made by Humans: The AI Condition
Ellen Broad
Australian data expert Ellen Broad explores our role and responsibilities in automation.




Global Ideas Forum 2018: Digital Disruption in Global Health
14 - 16 September, The University of Melbourne
The Forum is a platform for campaigners, clinicians, adventurers, entrepreneurs and community workers to create better health for all. The theme this year is "Achieving Health Equity in the Age of Digital Disruption."



Unwrapping Tobacco Plain Packaging: What's Inside the WTO Panel Reports?
5 September 2018, Melbourne Law School
Mr Antony Taubman, Director of the Intellectual Property Government Procurement and Competition Division of the WTO, joins MLS academics in investigating the 900-page WTO Panel Reports circulated on 28 June 2018 in the four-country challenge to Australia’s tobacco plain packaging scheme.

Mobile phone plan costs tipped to soar amid 5G ban on Chinese companies
Australia’s decision to ban Chinese firms from the local rollout of 5G mobile networks will lead to more costly consumer phone plans, experts say.

Dutton is Morrison's Cyber Man
The government no long has a dedicated cyber security minister, with responsibility for information security policy being the domain of the minister of home affairs.

Google tried to change China. China may end up changing Google
Under a plan called Dragonfly, Google has been testing a censored version of its search engine for the Chinese market.