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Bill John Swannie

Master of Laws (Melb), Bachelor of Laws (Deakin), Bachelor of Arts (Deakin), Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Leo Cussen Institute)

Academic Teaching Scholar, First Year Champion

Bill is a legal academic with several years’ experience as a lecturer, tutor and unit coordinator. He is admitted as an Australian Lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Prior to commencing teaching in 2013, Bill was the Principal Lawyer at a busy community legal centre. He managed the legal service and conducted complex litigation involving human rights and housing issues in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Bill has also worked as a judge's associate, a government lawyer and as a barrister.

Bill has taught in many areas of law including privacy and media law, human rights, international law, constitutional law, intellectual property, employment law, and sports law. He has designed and delivered all aspects of these units including developing resources for students, setting and marking assessment tasks, and providing feedback. Bill has received exceptional feedback from students on the design and delivery of law units. In 2014 he received an award for excellence in unit coordination for the unit Human Rights Law. He is currently completing the final unit in a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education.

Bill is an established researcher and author, having published articles in leading law journals in the areas of administrative law, human rights, media law and equal opportunity law. His articles have been cited in judicial decisions and speeches. He is a member of the Australasian Law Teachers' Association, Human Rights Tertiary Teachers' Network, and the Law Institute of Victoria.

Bill has been engaged as a consultant by non-government organisations and community groups to provide strategic advice regarding proposed legislative amendments, and how to oppose such amendments. He has also been engaged to provide advice to the Dean of a law school on the practical and pedagogical issues in establishing a human rights clinic.

In 2009 Bill completed an internship with a public interest legal clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. He worked mainly in the area of housing rights and assisted with litigation in the Constitutional Court. He has a strong interest in international and comparative law.

Bill commenced as an Academic Teaching Scholar in 2015. He also holds the role of First Year Champion in the College of Law and Justice. This involves enhancing the experience of first year students by liaising with academic and academic support staff.


Refereed journal articles

‘Open Justice in the Balance’ (2006) 31(4) Alternative Law Journal 206.

‘Equal Opportunity Exemptions under the Charter of Human Rights’ (2010) 84 Law Institute Journal 58.

‘The Right to Home under the Victorian Charter’ (2010) 35 Alternative Law Journal.

‘Null and Void: Can VCAT Reconsider Its Own Decisions?’ (2014) 88 Law Institute Journal 36.

‘Creation of Tenancy in Public Housing: A Human Rights Perspective’ (2015, forthcoming) Victoria University Law Journal.

Refereed chapters

‘Tenancy’ in The Law Handbook, Fitzroy Legal Service, (2011 & 2012).

‘Residential Tenancy Law’ in Lawyers Practice Manual Victoria, Springvale Legal Services, (2012).

Teaching responsibilities


  • BLB3129 Intellectual Property Law
  • LLW1000 Introduction to Public Law


  • BLO2207 Employment Law
  • BLB4140 Privacy and Media Law
  • BLB4145 Human Rights Law

Postgraduate research students & fellows

Currently supervising three Honours dissertations (two in the area of international human rights law, one in the intellectual property area).

In 2014 Bill supervised an Honours dissertation in the area of comparative media law.

Professional memberships

  • Australasian Law Teachers’ Association
  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Human Rights Tertiary Teachers’ Network

Industry experience

Ten years’ experience in a range of legal roles including as a solicitor, a judge's associate, a government lawyer and as a barrister.

Appearances in the media

3CR Radio 855AM, Rights Talk, 25 February 2010 (discussing housing rights in South Africa and the experience of working for a public interest legal clinic in Johannesburg).

Areas of expertise

  • Administrative law
  • Constitutional law
  • Employment law
  • Human rights law
  • Intellectual property law
  • International law
  • Media law
  • Privacy law
  • Social Justice
  • Statutory interpretation

Contact details

+61 3 9919 1829