Newcastle Law School

Staff Profile

Dr Christine Beuermann

Background

Biography

Christine joined Newcastle Law School in 2014 from the University of Tasmania.  She researches and publishes in the area of strict liability in the law of torts and private law more generally.  Christine's initial research focused on strict liability for the wrongdoing of another in tort.  Having observed that whenever the courts impose such strict liability, the defendant is either vested with authority over the person who wrongfully harmed the claimant or has vested or conferred a form of authority upon that person in respect of the claimant, she used that feature of authority to construct a new expositive framework within which strict liability for the wrongdoing of another in tort could be more usefully understood.  This research was cited by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Woodland v Essex County Council and the High Court of Australia in the hearing for Prince Alfred College v ADC and culminates in a book to be published by Hart in 2019.  More recently, Christine has been exploring the different senses in which the term 'strict liability' is used in the law of torts in order to clarify its usage and normative underpinnings.

Christine will be a Herbert Smith Freehills Visitor to the Faculty of Law in the University of Cambridge in 2018.

Qualifications

Newcastle Teaching Award (2015)

PhD, Australian National University (awarded without corrections) (2012) - Strict Liability for the Wrongdoing of Another in Tort

BCL, Oxford (1st) (1999)

LLB, Griffith University (1st) (1996)

B.Com, Griffith University (1996)

Roles and Responsibilities

Newcastle Law School Equality and Diversity Officer

Chair, Newcastle Law School Athena SWAN Committee

Mooting Coordinator

Co-chair Newcastle Law School Curriculum Committee

North East Region Obligations Group (NEROG) seminar coordinator


Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching

LAW2163 Equity (Module Coordinator)

LAW3025 Private International Law (Module Coordinator)

LAW3098 Dissertation (Module Coordinator)


Teaching Funding

£1500 - HASS Teaching Development Fund - Pilot PASS in LAW2163 Equity

£1500 - Newcastle Law School Research Assistant Scheme - Equality and Diversity Project to review problem based exam and coursework assessments set in the Law School for the 2015/16 academic year to determine whether parties used in those assessment reflect social diversity (to be repeated in 2016/17)


Research

Areas of Interest

  • strict liability for the wrongdoing of another person (vicarious liability and conferred authority strict liability)
  • strict liability more generally
  • intentional torts to the person
  • nuisance
  • torts more generally
  • map of tort law - interest balancing
  • legal theory
  • remedial responses

Grants                                                                                                                            

1. Awarded PhD/Early Career Scholars bursary to attend/present in ESRC Seminar series: Liability v Innovation: unpacking key connections 2015-17

2. University of Tasmania Grant – Conference Support Scheme -  to attend the Obligations VII conference in Hong Kong

Judicial Citations                                                                                                            

1.  Discussed by the High Court of Australia in the hearing for Prince Alfred College Inc v ADC [1026] HCA Trans 163:

FRENCH CJ: It has been suggested, in some writing on the topic – I have in mind a recent article in the Sydney Law Review – that it may be a simpler and appropriate test to say has the employee been conferred with authority and has the employee taken advantage of the authority conferred upon him by the employer to undertake the wrongful acts which he has done - a kind of “taking advantage of power” concept.

MR WALKER: Your Honours, apropos some of the formulations that your Honours have asked me about, there is, of course, an explanation of a way to justify, in our submission, the continued recourse to the Deatons v Flew approach, but to be seen slightly differently explained, as one sees it in the old case, in the Sydney Law Review article to which I think the Chief Justice was referring – that is, Beuermann at [2015] SydLawRw 537 Sydney Law Review 113. I will not take you to it, but there are passages that your Honours will be able to see at 128 to 129 in particular that venture that kind of justification.

If I might put it this way, there is a challenge – not exactly the one we think is necessary to be met – by the learned author at the foot of her remarks at 133 which I draw to attention only because, in our respectful submission, Lepore is not quite so unsatisfactory as a source of the law for the present purposes as the learned author would have it.

2.  Lady Hale (with whom Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson and Lord Toulson agreed) of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in the case of Woodland v Essex County Council [2013] UKSC 66, [33]:

In many ways, as Christine Beuermann points out in her valuable article ‘Vicarious liability and conferred authority strict liability’ (2013) 20 Torts Law Journal 265, it is unfortunate that the courts have not considered both bases of liability in previous cases concerning harm suffered by school pupils.

Publications

See separate tab

Conferences                                                                                                                                

1. 'The abstraction of form and the associated dangers for the English courts:  The case study of vicarious liability' - Obligations IX Melbourne (17-20 July 2018)

2.  Convened NEROG seminar titled ‘The Not So Beautiful Game:  The Liability of Football Clubs for Sexual Abuse’ (8 May 2017) Newcastle University – speakers include Professor Greg Keating (University of Southern California), Professor Paula Giliker (University of Bristol) and Phillip Morgan (York University) - presented paper titled 'The relationship triggering strict liability'

3.  ‘Do hospitals owe a non-delegable duty of care?’, Liability –v- Innovation (an ESRC Seminar series) Seminar 5: Strict liability and offsetting risks (4 May 2017) Keele University

4.  ‘Until someone gets hurt:  the first regenerative medicine law suits from the US and Japan’, Liability –v- Innovation (an ESRC Seminar series) Seminar 2:  Does liability stifle innovation? Economic models and anecdotal findings (18 April 2016) Keele University

5.  ‘The case for abolishing trespass to the person’ (Paper presented at Obligations VII  Common law of obligations: divergence and convergence , Hong Kong, July 2014)

6.  ‘Conferred authority strict liability and institutional child sexual abuse’ (Paper presented at Torts Forum: Apportionment and Attribution of Liability, University of Sydney, December 2013)

7.  ‘In Defence of the Non-Delegable Duty of Care’ (Paper presented at Obligations V  Rights and Private Law, Oxford, July 2010)

8.  ‘Liability in Tort for Employment’ (Paper presented at Obligations IV The Goals of Private Law, Singapore, July 2008)

Publications