Ellen's areas of research interest include government accountability and liability, with a particular focus on the legal and non-legal mechanisms that can be used to hold Australian government officials and entities accountable. She completed her PhD through the ANU, exploring the concepts of accountability deficits and overloads in her thesis. Before moving to academia, Ellen worked for a number of years in private practice as a litigation lawyer at Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Ellen teaches Administrative Law at UTS, and enjoys drawing on her practical experience and research interests in her teaching.
- Government accountability
- Judicial review of administrative and legislative action
- Government liability in tort
- Administrative Law
Rock, E, Weeks, G & Boughey, J 2019, Government Liability: Principles and Remedies, LexisNexis Butterworths, Sydney.
Rock, E 2020, 'Resolving Conflicts at the Interface of Public and Private Law', Australian Law Journal, vol. 94, pp. 381-381.
Boughey, J, Rock, E & Weeks, G 2019, 'Remedies for Government Liability: Beyond Administrative Law', AIAL Forum, vol. 97, pp. 57-74.
Control of government power is traditionally regarded as the province of administrative law. To the extent that other causes of action (such as claims in equity, contract and tort) can be brought against government, such claims are typically treated as a secondary, rather than primary, function of the law. The topic of government liability outside traditional public law parameters is in turn treated as something of a specialist topic, rather than a core area of legal doctrine. Placing the law into spheres of ‘public’ and ‘private’ — and the further subcategorisation of causes of action within those spheres — offers the promise of neat categories that can be deployed to study legal doctrine in the abstract. However, legal practitioners, particularly those involved in litigation, learn quickly that clients are rarely interested in the intricacies of legal doctrine that might be thrown up by their case. Lawyers are interested in the law; clients want to know about outcomes: what remedy they might get, their chances of getting it and what seeking it will cost them. On that reckoning, there are few things as useful for a practitioner to know in detail as the various remedies that might assist their clients. Where the case is one that involves harm occasioned by a government defendant, one unfortunate symptom of academic attraction to ‘public’ and ‘private’ law categories is to obscure the many and varied ways in which the law might respond to that harm.
Approaching legal doctrine through this dichotomous lens is not only a limitation from a practical perspective. Rather than treating government liability as a specialist topic, there is much to be gained from gathering together the various ‘public’ and ‘private’ claims that can be made against government. By adopting a wholesale view of the field of ‘government liability’, we are better able to identify common themes and connections between areas of law. While it is true that the capacity to obtain remedies against gov...
Rock, E 2019, 'Misfeasance in Public Office: A Tort in Tension', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 337-368.
Rock, E & Weeks, G 2018, 'Monetary Awards for Public Law Wrongs: Australia's Resistant Legal Landscape', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 1159-1186.
Rock, E 2017, 'Accountability: A Core Public Law Value?', Australian Journal of Administrative Law, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 189-203.
Rock, E 2018, 'Fault and Accountability in Public Law' in Elliot, M, Varuhas, J & Wilson Stark, S (eds), The Unity of Public Law? Doctrinal, Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives, Hart Publishing, pp. 171-192.
Rock, E 2018, 'Locating the Courts within the Australian Accountability System', The Frontiers of Public Law, University of Melbourne.
Rock, E 2018, 'Misfeasance in Public Office: A Tort of Substance', Obligations IX, University of Melbourne.
Rock, E 2016, 'Accountability in Australian Public Law', 2016 Postgraduate Workshop in Public Law, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales.
Rock, E 2016, 'What were they thinking? The role of fault in public law and accountability as a unifying theme', The Unity of Public Law, Cambridge University.