Eugene is a legal scholar and historian whose research investigates the reproduction of class and race through the criminal law and its procedure, the law of evidence and labour law. His book, By What Authority? Criminal Law in Colonial NSW, 1788-1861 (2018) explores the evolution and reform of Australian criminal and labour law through the emergence of modern social movements and legal institutions. His recent research revisits these themes in a contemporary context, negotiating possibilities for industrial and social democracy by challenging a neoliberal rule of law.
Eugene has practised criminal and employment law for over a decade. He is the Vice-President of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) and book review editor for the international journal, Law & History. He teaches criminal law and procedure, labour law and Australian constitutional law.
- Vice-President, New South Wales Council of Civil Liberties (NSWCCL)
- Chair of the Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Police Powers Action Group, New South Wales Council of Civil Liberties (NSWCCL)
- Book Review Editor, Law & History (academic journal)
Can supervise: YES
- Criminal law and procedure
- Law and history
- Labour law
- Social theory
- Constitutional law
- Constitutional law
- Criminal law and procedure
- Labour law
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2018, By What Authority? Criminal law in colonial New South Wales, 1788-1861, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2020, 'Coercive Investigation of Corporate Crime: What investigators say', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol. 43, no. 1.
This study investigates the use of coercive investigation powers in the context of corporate crime, based on a series of interviews with former Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) enforcement officials and corporate lawyers. It argues that ASIC's powers are well equipped to investigate corporate crime but that ASIC rarely exercises these powers. In this respect, the article draws similar conclusions to the recent Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, but delves further, revealing how coercive powers are used and why they are seldom exercised in corporate criminal investigations. In accounting for this institutional failure, this study implicates a neoliberal agenda of deregulation and austerity that has permitted the regulator to be 'captured' by wealthy and powerful regulatees. The analysis is informed by a critical regulation approach to corporate crime that explains corporate or 'white collar' crime and its enforcement through a sociological lens: as a result of unequal social relationships, primarily that of social class, that create disparities in legal and political power.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2020, 'Equity fines for corporate crime: why they should be back on the legislative agenda', Alternative Law Journal�, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 101-106.
Corporate crime causes significant social and environmental harm and its sentencing is frequently ineffective due to the ability of corporations to pass-on monetary fines to stakeholders such as workers and consumers. This article investigates the notion of equity fines or share dilution as an alternative corporate punishment that avoids the pitfalls of conventional monetary fines while acting as a significant deterrent to corporate offending. It does so by responding to the last official Australian critique of this punishment, in light of a recent attempt by the Scottish legislature to implement equity fines in that jurisdiction.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2020, 'Measuring and demonstrating the operation of silence rights in the summary jurisdiction of NSW', Law Society of New South Wales Journal, vol. February 2020, no. 63.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2020, 'Regulating the automation of employment through redundancy law: a comparative policy approach', Australian Journal of Labour Law, vol. 32, no. 3.
This article investigates redundancy law as a policy option for regulating the rapid increase in the automation of employment and automation-led unemployment predicted to occur within the Global North by the mid twenty-first century. It critically examines these predictions before contextualising redundancy law as a policy strategy within a resurgent literature on full employment and the importance of work to human social development. The paper then embarks on a substantive discussion of the current legal framework surrounding Australian redundancy law and its shortcomings. The focus here includes the definition of redundancy, the amount of redundancy compensation and the labour market coverage of current redundancy law. In response, three reforms are proposed, to: (i) amend the statutory conception of redundancy by reviving the former legal distinction between intentional and unintentional redundancies; (ii) increase the amount of redundancy pay; and (iii) extend the coverage of redundancy protections to precarious workers. These proposals are informed by the evolution of Australian redundancy law in statute and industrial tribunals and courts between the 1960s and 80s, as well as German policy responses to automation in the automotive industry in the 1980s and 90s.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2020, 'Silence Matters: A survey of the right to silence in the summary jurisdiction of New South Wales', International Journal of Evidence and Proof, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 121-141.View/Download from: Publisher's site
There is a scant existing literature on the relationship between the right to silence and its effect on securing prosecutions in Australia and comparable jurisdictions. Existing research has downplayed its significance, resulting in various 'law and order' interventions seeking to limit the operation of silence rights - first by the Thatcher and Major Governments in the UK in the early 1990s and recently, the O'Farrell and Baird Governments in New South Wales. This study is the largest of its kind, surveying over 350 files from three separate Legal Aid offices to empirically assess the frequency of the use of silence rights by criminal defendants and the effect of these rights on conviction within the summary jurisdiction of NSW. Contrary to the opinion of the existing literature, the findings of this study show that the use of silence rights, (the privilege against self-incrimination, in particular) does indeed matter for criminal defendants and the outcome of prosecutions. In fact, the exercise of the right to silence has a very strong relationship with rates of conviction as well as the mitigation of criminal sentencing. In making these findings, this study also illustrates how the right to silence and its legislative restriction impact more significantly upon marginalised social groups, overrepresented among the subjects of criminal law, within the summary jurisdiction.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2020, 'The State and Capital: Lessons from the first Australian banking royal commission, 1935-1937', Griffith Law Review.
Neoliberalism has failed to deliver basic social needs of work and subsistence. Two key strategies designed to overcome this failure are a jobs guarantee and a universal basic income. Although each is buttressed by well-developed bodies of literature, a wide-ranging and rigorous comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each in the context of contemporary Australian society is lacking. This article will compare the performance of each idea across a number of indicators, including effects on employment levels, the wage structure, inflation, funding and the environment, before concluding with some observations about institutional durability and reproducibility. As a result of this analysis, we conclude that a jobs guarantee has more to offer contemporary Australian society.
In this 2019 electoral year, a federal Morrison Liberal Government was returned to
power with little in the way of an industrial agenda. It failed to implement its key
legislation, which mainly included reform to union governance and changes to religious
freedom in the workplace. Meanwhile, the state governments, particularly the Victorian
Andrews Labor Government, reviewed a swathe of labour law, including wage theft,
industrial manslaughter, owner–driver legislation and workers' compensation laws and
implemented a host of progressive changes. This year has also seen the continuation of
a key policy trend, observable at both state and federal levels of government, towards
regulation of aspects of industrial relations by the state that were once exclusively the
province of employers and trade unions through a twentieth-century system of conciliation
© 2019, Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. It has been a quiet year like last year for the passing of federal industrial legislation (due to a number of factors, including the political turmoil of the federal coalition government and their lack of an overall labour law reform agenda). This article examines key federal industrial legislative developments including the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth). The article identifies that the federal Act contains much weaker compliance measures than the counterpart New South Wales legislation also passed in 2018 – the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW). Also, although the Coalition government has attempted to continue to prosecute its case for further union governance measures, this agenda has been less successful than in previous years, with key government Bills not yet passed by the Parliament. The stagnation in the federal Parliament continues to motivate certain State Parliaments to address worker exploitation, and the article goes on to examine key State industrial legislation passed in 2018 including the Victorian labour hire licensing statute. In light of the continuing dominant position of the federal Labor opposition in opinion polls and an impending federal election in 2019, the article concludes by briefly considering the federal Labor opposition's agenda for industrial legislation.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2019, 'Regulation Theory and Australian Capitalism - Book Review', Capital and Class, vol. 44, no. 1.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2019, 'Resistance and Reform: Shared relationships and common interests among the subjects of criminal law in colonial New South Wales', Australia and New Zealand Law and History E-Journal, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 25-57.
Convict history, labour history and Indigenous history provide colonial historians with abundant evidence for charting and analysing the development of both Australian democracy and the coercive Australian state. These histories often focus on one or two subaltern social groups, to the exclusion of others, or, in some cases, on the conflicts between them. This article examines this historiography before introducing a new approach to the study of Australian colonial legal history which explores
the commonalities shared by marginalised peoples, arising from a combination of class and 'race' dynamics. It does so specifically by analysing the social processes and patterns of resistance involved in the emergence of democratic majoritarian reform to criminal law throughout the period 1788 to 1861 — a subject of recent legal historical scholarship. Explored here is the notion of shared relationships and common interests as a theoretical device that deepens existing postcolonial understandings of who comprised the major subjects of colonial criminal law and the role they played in challenging and reforming it.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2018, 'Regulating executive salaries and reducing pay disparities: Is pay disclosure the answer?', Journal of Australian Political Economy, vol. 2018, no. 81, pp. 95-120.
In 2017 it was reported that Ahmed Fahour, CEO of Australia Post – a
publicly owned company – earned AUD$10.8 million in a single year. In
2015, he was paid 119 times the annual salary of the average Australia
Post employee ($47,000 per annum). Fahour presided over the
organisation's greatest decline in company turnover, accompanied by
large-scale retrenchments of low-paid workers (Evershed, 2017). Yet as
extravagant as Fahour's pay appears, it is far from the largest executive
remuneration packages paid to CEOs in Australia. In recent years, some
have surpassed $30 million per annum. In the United States (US), CEO
pay can be 300 times that of the average wage within the company
(Mishel and Davis, 2015). Even after a slight 'correction' in CEO pay,
which dipped in Australia during the Global Financial Crisis from an
average of $5.5 million per annum to $4.7 million, David Richardson of
The Australia Institute has recently found that CEO pay is on the rise
again, averaging $5.2 million last financial year (Patty, 2018;
Pay disparities between senior management and workers in the English speaking global metropole – primarily Australia, UK, and the US – have
intensified over the last three decades. At the beginning of the 1980s in
the US, pay ratios ran at about 20:1. Management theorists such as Peter
Drucker first suggested in 1977 that any increase in a 20:1 ratio would
result in 'resentment and falling morale' within companies, eroding the
collective effort and trust upon which business depends (Wartzman,
2011). In the UK and Australia at that time, average pay ratios stood at a modest 15:1. Today, that figure in Australia and the UK is 183:1 (Walker,
2016), while in the US some executives earn 373 times the salary of an
average rank-and-file worker (High Pay Centre [HPC], 2014; AFLCIO,
2015). Meanwhile, corporate regulation implemented since the 1980s
appears to have encouraged, rather than stemmed, pay disparity and
lavish executive remunera...
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, ''Mad' Edwin Withers and the Struggle for Fair Trial Rights in NSW', Law & History, vol. 3, pp. 78-103.
Since the 1980s, a number of fair trial rights and civil liberties have been eroded in Australia, particularly in respect to summary justice and police powers. This article traces the 'bottom-up' origins of some of those rights and liberties in colonial New South Wales. It focuses on the activist Edwin Withers and his interactions with the Parramatta magistracy in the mid 1840s. The Withers example enables us to see how some fair trial rights and civil liberties resulted from community-based social activism, which relied upon the legislature and higher court authority to become law. The importance of these rights - for example, the right to counsel, the right to a fair and impartial tribunal and protection against arbitrary detention - is demonstrated by the very fact that they issued from the working and middle classes and are implicated within wider class relationships involving residents of a local community. Using archival research and qualitative analysis, this article has important implications for Australian legal history in relation to the adoption of the Jervis Acts 1848 (UK), some of the first summary procedure legislation enacted within colonial NSW. The article demonstrates how the fair trial rights campaign at Parramatta resulted in amendment to the adopted Acts in the colony.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2015, 'Customs in Common Across the Seven Seas', law&history, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 202-211.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2013, 'A different inequality: The politics of debate about remote Aboriginal Australia', Australian Aboriginal Studies, vol. 1, pp. 118-120.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2013, 'Mandatory sentencing reinvigorated', The Alternative Law Journal, vol. 38, no. 1.
Schofield-Georgeson, E, Schofield, T, Hepworth, M & Jones, M 2011, 'Health and community services for trafficked women: An exploratory study of policy and practice', Australian Journal of Social Issues, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 391-410.
Schofield-Georgeson, E & Campbell, G 2006, 'Tying aid to the State Building Corporations', Yale Globalist, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 4-5.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2005, 'Fighting the US military: a civil approach', The Human Rights Defender Magazine, vol. 2, pp. 6-7.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, 'Campaign to save the NSW Custody Notification Service: 'Lifeline' for Indigenous People in Custody' in Finlay, SM, Williams, M, McInerney, M, Sweet, M & Ward, M (eds), JustJustice: Tackling the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Croakey, Sydney.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2018, 'Chifley and the Banks: Lessons from the first banking royal commission, 1935-1937', Australia New Zealand Law and History Society Conference 2018, University of Wollongong.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2018, 'Redundancy 4.0: Strategies for Regulating Automation in the 21st Century', Australian Labour Lawyers Association Conference 2018, Gold Coast.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2018, 'Silence Matters: Quantifying the use of the right to silence in the summary jurisdiction of NSW', Australia New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference 2018, University of Melbourne.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2018, 'The Theorisation of Royal Commissions', Commissions of Enquiry Symposium, UTS Law School.
Schofield-Georgeson, E & Sampford, C 2018, 'Paying for a Basic Income: a 'virtuous' problem', Basic Income Earth Network Conference, Oslo, Finland.
Rennert, D, Powell, C, Fuo, O & Sorokin, M 2017, 'Federalism and The Judicial Role - Panel Chair', ICON-S Conference, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2017, 'A New Era of Coercive Industrial Relations for Australia', ICON-S Conference, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2017, 'Federal Constitutional Strategies for the Localisation of Political Power', ICON-S Conference, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2017, 'Human Rights and Criminal Law in NSW', Public Lecture, Law Society of NSW.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, 'Who are the Subjects of Australian Criminal Law: Defining 'Colonised People' in Australian Legal History', Australia & New Zealand Law & History Society Conference, Perth.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2015, 'Powerful Sympathies: Criminal Law Reform and Fair Trial Rights in Colonial New South Wales, 1788-1861', Australia and New Zealand Law & History Society Conference, Adelaide.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2014, ''Mad' Edwin Withers and the Struggle for Fair Trial Rights at Parramatta', Australia and New Zealand Law & History Society Conference, Coffs Harbour.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2013, 'A brief history of the right to silence in New South Wales', Australia and New Zealand Law & History Society Conference, Dunedin.
Schofield-Georgeson, E NSW Government 2019, Submission on behalf of the NSWCCL to the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug 'Ice', Sydney.
Schofield-Georgeson, E Parliament of Australia 2019, Submission to the Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Criminal Code (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019, Sydney.
Schofield-Georgeson, E Australian Parliament 2018, Submission on behalf of the NSWCCL to the Australian Federal Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters Inquiry into Lowering the Voting Age, Sydney.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2018, Submission on behalf of the NSWCCL to the Australian Federal Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters Inquiry into matters relating to Section 44 of the Constitution, Sydney.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2017, Submission on behalf of the NSWCCL to the Australian Parliamentary Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill (2017) (re the custody notification service for Aboriginal people in police custody)., The SenateLegal and Constitutional AffairsLegislation Committee Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Bill 2017 [Provisions], no. Submission 4, Federal Parliament of Australia,.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, Submission on behalf of the NSWCCL to the NSW Law Reform Commission Review of the Guradianship Act 1987 (NSW).
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, Submission on Behalf of the NSWCCL to the NSW Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into Public Interest Disclosure Legislation.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, Submission on behalf of the NSWCCL to the Queensland Legislative Assembly Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee Inquiry into a Human Rights Act for Queensland.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2011, Intersections Between the Law, Religion and Human Rights Project: Literature Review.
Schofield-Georgeson, E & Williams, G NSW Department of Commerce 2007, Submission on behalf of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to the Inquiry into Options for a New National Industrial Relations System, Working Together: Inquiry into Options for a New National Industrial Relations System.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2018, 'Labor's pay policy merely hints at helping low paid workers rather than actually doing it', The Conversation.
Schofield-Georgeson, E & Sampford, C 2018, 'Paying for a Basic Income:a 'virtuous' problem'.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2017, 'By What Authority? Criminal law reform in colonial New South Wales, 1788-1861'.
In colonial New South Wales (NSW) between 1788 and 1861, criminal law was the primary State apparatus through which social relations were conducted. In an era before representative democracy (1857) and during a time of brutal colonisation, the criminal law was, undoubtedly, an implement of coercive colonial power. But criminal law also provided a forum in which social grievances could be heard and against which were made counter-hegemonic claims to fundamental rights and civil liberties.
This thesis proposes that a broad coalition of social groups relied upon the criminal law to democratise their society as well as the law itself, in which they participated either as its subjects, as lawyers or social commentators. In making such a claim, this thesis constructs a new typology specifically designed to describe social relations related to the legal history of the criminal law. It does so by identifying structural relationships between three distinctive social groups who occupied colonial society throughout the period: 'colonised peoples and working-class peoples', 'civic radicals' and 'constitutional radicals'. Accordingly, this thesis examines how various struggles and interventions by these groups eventually led to the reform of criminal law in colonial NSW.
The reform achieved throughout this period made the law fairer, particularly for colonised peoples. But it also ensured the longevity or 'hegemony' of a section of the colonial ruling-class who supported reform. The legacy of this reform has since been carried into the twentieth century where, concerningly, towards its end and at the beginning of the next, efforts have been to dismantle much of the reforms hard-won during the mid- to late-colonial era. Long forgotten are the people for whom that reform exists - those who continue to occupy unequal space, often on the fringes of Australian cities and towns and in the prisons and courts of the Australian criminal justice system.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2017, 'Work Councils could be the future of Australian industrial democracy in an ABCC world', The Conversation.
Peetz, D & Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, 'Restoring the construction watchdog ABCC: experts respond', The Conversation.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, 'ABCC Laws Pass the Senate', ABC Radio National, The World Today,.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2016, 'Corporate-style regulation of unions won't defeat corruption', The Conversation.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2015, 'NSW ditches another protection for Indigenous people in custody', The Conversation.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2014, 'Bikies, unions...and the ABCC? Spinning the policing of work', The Conversation.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2014, 'Criminal Procedure in New South Wales, 1788-1861'.
Schofield-Georgeson, E 2014, 'Fair work or more productivity? Revived ABCC will deliver neither', The Conversation.