Dr Tanner commenced his career at Victoria University as a researcher and teacher in 1991 having previously performed the same role at the University of Melbourne.

In 1980 he had been admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia.

Having served articles of clerkship, he established his own firm of solicitors in North Melbourne. During that period he became one of the founders of the North Melbourne Legal Service (NMLS) acting as a voluntary duty solicitor for at the Flemington, Williamstown and Werribee Magistrates Courts and was the NMLS coordinator for a short time prior to signing the Victorian Bar Roll in 1984. In the following year he signed the NSW Bar Roll.

As a barrister, he acted in civil and criminal trials and appeals. Prior to becoming an academic, Dr Tanner was a secondary school teacher at St John's College, Braybrook. In that role, in 1977, he was awarded an Australian Schools Commission Research Grant of $17,770 to 'Analyse the Special Language Needs of LOTE Speaking students at a Victorian Secondary School'. The research for, and the administration of this grant, led to his interest in plain language in the law. His 1977 jointly authored article led to the Law Reform Commission of Victoria being given the task of investigating the usefulness of plain English in legislative drafting.

In July 2016 Dr Tanner retired but was immediately appointed an Honorary Fellow of the College of Law and Justice so he could continue supervising his PhD and other research students.


Book chapters

Tanner, E (2012), 'Globalization and Human Rights; The Mouse that Roared', in J Addicott, Md JHB and T Chowdhury (eds), Globalization International Law and Human Rights, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp. 87-110

Journal articles

Tanner, E (2011), 'Legislating to Communicate: Plain English Guidelines Explicated Using the USA Patriot Act 2001', 1(1) DICTUM, pp. 21-42

Tanner, E (2006), 'Clear Simple and Precise Legislative Drafting: How does an EU Directive Fare?', Statute Law Review, 27(3) pp. 150-175, Online: ISSN 1464-3863; Print ISSN 0144-3593

Tanner, E (2004), 'Clear, Simple and Precise Legislative Drafting: Australian Guidelines Explicated Using an EC Directive', 25(3) Statute Law Review, 150-175: 25(3) (2004): 223-250: ISSN 0144-3593

Tanner, E (2003), 'Communications Strategies: Understanding the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic)', Melbourne University Law Review, 27(1), 139-162:ISSN 0025-8938

Postgraduate research students & fellows

Completions: Three PhDs, one DBA and a Master of Business (by research).

Current supervisions: four PhD students and four LLB (Hons) theses supervisions.

Professional memberships

  • Victorian Bar Association (Academic Division)
  • International Commission of Jurists (Vic)
  • Australasian Law Teachers Association
  • The Australian College of Educators
  • Clarity
  • Amnesty International
  • Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Member of the Australian College of Educators (MACE)

Industry experience

  • Solicitor (3 years)
  • Barrister-at-law (10 years)
  • Secondary School teacher (5 years)
  • Legal academic (25 years)

Areas of expertise

  • criminal law
  • Human rights law
  • Law and linguistics
  • Plain English and legislative drafting
  • Terrorism
Edwin Tanner

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