Dr Smith is a leading legal history scholar. His work has included overseeing the research and publication of an authorised history of the Supreme Court to mark the 175th anniversary of that court in Victoria. He is a regular contributor to scholarship in that area and also a leading insurance historian. His current research is on the history of Solicitors and the Law Institute in Victoria.
As a Monash law undergraduate in the 1970s, he helped found Australia’s first community legal centre, the Springvale Legal Service. With that venture, he became the first clinical legal education academic in Australia. He is also a founding editor of a leading practice text, the Lawyers Practice Manual.
In the 1980s, he was a pioneer in alternative dispute resolution and was the first ombudsman in the Australian financial services sector. Later he was Senior Counsel with a top 500 insurance company and a curator of the nationally significant insurance archive, the Suncorp Insurance Archive, now in the hands of the State Library of Victoria.
In the 2019 Australia Day honours he was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for Significant service to the law particularly in consumer affairs, to higher education, and to history.
Smith, S. (2017) James Seccull: A Tale of Two Families, Elwood, Maverick Publications.
Smith, S. (ed) (2016) Judging for the People: a Social History of the Supreme Court in Victoria 1841-2016 Melbourne, Allen & Unwin.
Smith, S. (2014) Barristers Solicitors Pettifoggers: Profiles in Australian Colonial Legal History, Elwood, Maverick Publications.
Smith, S. (2009) Maverick Litigants: A History of Vexatious Litigants In Australia 1930-2008, Elwood, Maverick Publications.
Book chapters & articles
Smith, S. ‘160 years of the LIV’, (2019) 93 (3) Law Institute Journal, 15.
Smith, S. 'William Meek: Melbourne's First Lawyer' (2017) 88, Victorian Historical Journal, pp.40-68.
Smith, S. (2015) The Springvale Legal Service and the coming of the Community Legal Centre Movement. In Breaking Out: Memories of Melbourne in the 1970s (edited by S. Blackburn) Erskineville, Hale & Iremonger.