This research group addresses current-day legal and policy issues facing the community, legal profession, government, and regulators – specifically related to Victoria and Australia.

Our criminology research is cutting edge, and is placing Victoria as a leader in these areas:

  • social welfare
  • law
  • correctional institutions
  • cyber security
  • money laundering
  • national and transnational crime
  • policing
  • regulatory design and development.

We also undertake research to better understand the interconnectedness between law and criminology, through exploring the issues contemporary societies face, and important safety, justice and equity challenges that criminological knowledge can help solve. 

Research aims

The research group's focus is on world-class research to provide real-world outcomes for the community and government. Through partnerships and collaborations, the work of our dynamic and enthusiastic research community benefits the whole university, as well as industry and the community.

Our research is committed to evidence-based legal scholarship, which at its core breaks new ground and contributes broadly to a law reform agenda across a number of legal arenas. In this context it supports the wider research agenda of Victoria University in:

  • creating effective teaching and learning for diverse populations
  • enhancing an evidence base for public policy debate and decision making.

Our specialised areas of research focus on state, national, transnational and international:

  • analysis of legislation in the criminal, corporate and civil arenas
  • analysis of legal policy and regulation across criminal, corporate, civil, public law, international law, human rights arenas and countering violent extremism
  • analysis of jurisprudence relating to the above arenas
  • evidence based empirical research across a broad array of contemporary legal issues
  • contributions to wider debates around the political, economic and social dimension of law and legal practice.

Research areas

Our research areas include:

  • Social Justice and Inclusion – specifically access to justice and law-reform ethics
  • Values & leadership – specifically, regulation, integrity and governance
  • Migration and mobility technology-enabled decision support
  • Governance research.

Victoria University is a national leader in migration and citizenship law.

We have more than 35 years’ experience in migration and citizenship legal research and teaching law, allowing us to contribute to government law reform in the area.

We also investigate citizenship and immigration, and their impacts on social cohesion and national identity.

We operate to inform state and national law-reform programs, providing submissions and research in areas of:

  • migration
  • commercial (trade and banking finance, tax)
  • technology 
  • criminology (sentencing, youth justice, cyber security, and money laundering).

More importantly we have a strong focus on justice in, and for:

  • the Indigenous community
  • prevention of violence against women through sport
  • feminist criminology
  • CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design)
  • scholarship of teaching and learning in criminology, and youth justice
  • refugees and asylum seekers
  • border securitisation and crimes across borders
  • state and corporate crime
  • critical criminology
  • gendered violence
  • gender and feminist studies.

VU prides itself on its research in regulation reform, comparing international and national laws that will inform government, community, industry and non-government organisations.

This research extends to criminology, along with national and international commercial governance.

Our research in technology covers areas such as economic and human-rights issues related to:

  • data protection/privacy
  • cyber security
  • national and transnational banking - finance.

Community engagement

We take pride in providing a place for students from all over Victoria and Australia to have access to our research. Engaging the community of Melbourne’s west is a high priority, so as everyone can benefit from the work we undertake. We are open to exploring engagement and partnership opportunities with CALD communities.

Read about this approach:

We understand multicultural Victoria and Australia, and our research opportunities provide for all. We have had students contribute to our research from all over the world from Asia, Middle East, Europe, North and South America, and Africa.

Annually, we hold a research event, to showcase our law and justice research from across the world, looking and contemporary issues in technology, criminology, trade, investment, finance, tax and criminal law.


Law and justice researchers have access to a range of specialist research facilities. These include:

  •  Queens Street Campus
  •  world-class law library
  •  access to other VU campuses
  • other university libraries across Australia.

VU's facilities at the Queens Street Campus allow our researchers and students to conduct research into important societal issues related to local, national and international law and policy.

Our people

The Law, Justice and Criminology group has a dedicated team undertaking national and international research.

As a collective, staff have strong connections to government, the legal profession, scholars and industry across Australia and internationally.

We are well placed to highlight the west of Melbourne within the national and international framework and agenda. This work will assist in resolving local issues, which translate into state and national solutions.

The Institute has more than 18 researchers, some of whom are research-only and some of whom are academic staff of the university whose research aligns with the institute.


VU First Year College®


  • Associate Professor Darryl Coulthard
  • Dr Ruth Liston
  • Dr Brandy Cochrane
  • Dr Robert Walters

Partners & collaborators

The institute has secured an extensive network of high-profile partners and research collaborators, who provide ongoing support and distinction to the important work we undertake.

  • Courts – Magistrates, County, Supreme and Federal
  • Government – State and Commonwealth law enforcement agencies (e.g. Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, New South Wales Police) Environment Agencies, Agriculture Departments, Australian Border Force (Customs and Quarantine)
  • Regulators Policy Development – State and Commonwealth Department of Justice, Attorney General’s Office, Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Legal Profession – Barristers, Solicitors and state legal Associations and Organisations (.e.g. Law Institute Victoria)
  • Australian Universities – Law and Criminology – RMIT, Latrobe, University Queensland International partners & collaborators
  • Judiciary – International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court
  • World Leading Law Schools – Oxford, Harvard, Melbourne, Australian National University
  • World Leading Criminology Schools – Harvard, Cambridge

  • United Nations
  • International Law Commission
  • International Organization for Migration
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

  • WEstjustice
  • Victoria Legal Aid
  • Victoria Police
  • State Trustees
  • Young Workers Victoria
  • Magistrates Court of Victoria
  • County Court of Victoria
  • Supreme Court of Victoria (Court of Appeal)
  • Department of Justice, Victoria
  • Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority
  • Migration Institute of Australia
  • Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, New Zealand
  • University of Waikato, New Zealand
  • FCG Legal Pty Ltd, Lawyers
  • Rob Stary Lawyers
  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Council of Legal Education
  • Society of Notaries of Victoria.

Contact us

ISILC Research
Victoria University
PO Box 14428
Melbourne  VIC  8001

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 3 9919 2685