Lesley's primary research interests include criminal law and procedure, the law of evidence, legal education and law and emotion theory. Lesley has recently completed a Master of Laws by research at Sydney Law School. The thesis is entitled 'Thinking and Feeling like a Lawyer: Introducing Knowledge about Emotion into Legal Ethics Education'.
Lesley was on the editorial committee of the Alternative Law Journal from 2011-2014.
Lesley primarily teaches Evidence and Criminal Procedure and has taught in Criminal Law, Ethics, Law and Justice and Advocacy in the Practical Legal Training Program. Lesley has also contributed to curriculum review and design in the subjects Ethics and Professional Conduct, Ethics,Law and Justice and Criminal Law.
Lesley is a member of the Faculty Widening Participation committee and is a regular participant in the Year 11 Outreach Program and Experience UTS Day.
- Law and Emotion Theory
- Legal Ethics
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Law of Evidence
- Evidence and Criminal Procedure (Subject coordinator)
- Ethics, Law and Justice
© 2015 The Association of Law Teachers Recently, the debate as to whether ethics should be a compulsory requirement of a law degree was refuelled when the English and Welsh Legal Education Training Review (LETR) recommended that professional ethics should be primarily addressed in vocational Legal Services and Education Training programmes and that learning outcomes in the academic curriculum should include reference to morality and the law, the values supporting the legal system and their connection to the role of lawyers. This debate is also occurring in other jurisdictions. In Australia the debate is focused on the proposal that ethics be removed as a compulsory subject in the law degree. This proposal has raised a concern that law students will be denied the opportunity to develop as ethically competent lawyers. This paper argues for the continuation of ethics as a core component of a law degree and evidences the model used for the teaching of ethics in the law degree at the University of Technology Sydney in support of our argument. The background to the model is examined to highlight the significance of student feedback and ongoing curriculum review, including the alignment of parallel pedagogical factors. This model serves as an example of not only why ethics should be core to a law degree but, in order to provide graduates who are ethical and reflective practitioners, why ethics should be pervasively taught throughout the degree and supported by an introductory and capstone presence.
Townsley, L 2015, 'Returning to presumptions and the erosion of fundamental rights: The Bail Amendment Act 2014 (NSW)', Alternative Law Journal, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 42-45.
This article considers the amendments to the
Bail Act 2013 (NSW) which alter the way bail
decisions are made. The Bail Amendment Bill
2014 (NSW) was passed on 17 September 2014 and
the Bail Amendment Act 2014 (NSW) was assented to
on 25 September 2014.1
This article argues that these
amendments represent the perpetuation of punitive bail
policy which, among other things, effectively reintroduces
a scheme of presumptions against bail. It is further argued
that the government's reaction to a minority of public
opinion coupled with the erosion of the presumption
of innocence and the general right to be at liberty,
demonstrates the recurrence of similar factors which
led to significant and multiple amendments to the Bail
Act 1978 (NSW). The article begins by outlining the
amendments to the Bail Act 1978 which expanded the
list of offences for which there was a presumption against
bail and the circumstances in which these amendments
were made. The enactment of the Bail Act 2013 (NSW)
is then considered with a focus on how the provisions
of this Act simplified the law and restored fundamental
principles in bail decisions. This is followed by a discussion
of the factors which led to the current reforms and
detailed consideration of how the amending Act
reintroduces a scheme of presumptions against bail and
undermines the rights of an accused person
Townsley, L 2015, 'The Bowraville Murders: Were they a coincidence?', Alternative Law Journal, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 243-246.
Townsley, L 2014, 'Thinking Like a Lawyer Ethically: Narrative Intelligence and Emotion', Legal Education Review, vol. 24, no. 1 & 2, pp. 68-92.
Hamer, DA, Anthony, T, Biber, K, Crofts, P, Dennis, I, Douglas, H, Eburn, M, Edmond, G, Farrar, S, Hopkins, A, Kumar, MA, Ligertwood, A, Loughnan, A, Mitchell, T, Palmer, A, San Roque, M & Townsley, L 2014, 'Submission on Exposure Draft: Evidence Amendment (Evidence of Silence) Bill 2012', Sydney Law School Research Paper, no. 14.
In the context of bail, punitive crime policies in NSW have led to a gradual erosion of the presumption in favour of bail, the conflation of bail conditions and penalty and a steady increase in the number of persons being held on remand. Continuing this punitive turn in crime police, the Bail Act 1978 was recently amended in respect of s22A. It is this amendment and the resultantant changes to the configuration of bail that is the subject of this article.
The purpose of this article is to assess the recent reforms to the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) in relation to sexual assault. Two of the main reasons for reform were to increase the reporting of sexual assault and to increase conviction rates. It is not possible to assess the impact of the reforms on these two factors; as such, the article focuses on the legal changes and their predictive impact upon the proof of liability for sexual assault offences. Specifically, it assesses the statutory definition of consent, the expansion of the circumstances whereby consent would be negated or vitiated, and the adoption of an objective fault element. The article also considers, where relevant, the current law on sexual assault in other Australian jurisdictions, as well the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada.
Townsley, L 2007, 'Conceal or Reveal? The Role of Law in Black Collar Crime', Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-35.
This article reconsiders the way in which the State deals with the suppression or concealment of crimes, particularly child sexual abuse, by members of institutions such as churches. There are legal mechanisms available to bring such prosecutions and yet they are not being utilized. This article critically analyses the exemption from prosecution for concealing a serious indictable offence, by members of the clergy under section 316 (4) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW); and that sections relationship to the religious confession privilege under section 217 of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW). The article deconstructs the three major justifications underpinning the legislative provisions. These justifications overlap, but can be isolated under the following headings: history, freedom of religion, and spiritual considerations. I argue that interpretation of section 316 (4) of the Crimes Act 1900 should, at a minimum, be confined to the scope of the religious confession privilege in section 217 of the Evidence Act 1995. Further, I argue that the justifications underpinning the legislative scheme and the assumptions they are based on are untenable in a secular society.
Townsley, L & Dobinson, IR 2007, 'The Not So Ordinary, Reasonable person or the man From Clapham Just Got Off the Bus', Australasian Law Teachers Association : Law and Public Policy: Taming the Unruly Horse?, ALTA, Australasian Law Teachers Association, University of Western Australia, pp. 1-25.
In Crime, Reason and History Alan Norrie argues that criminal law is neither rational nor principled, so that the extraordinary is as much the norm as the ordinary.1 In a subsequent article, Norrie seeks to use the objective test in provocation to demonstrate his point. As Norrie states,2 this has led, in England, to the apparent but somewhat irrational recognition in law of a reasonable glue sniffer,3 reasonable immature person4 and a reasonable obsessive.5 It is possible to add others such as the reasonable battered woman6 and reasonable depressive.7 In referring to the Australian High Court case of Stingel v R,8 Norrie further suggests that this case recognizes the existence of the reasonable erotomaniac.9 While we do not necessarily agree with Norries specific assertions regarding provocation we do agree that role of the reasonable or ordinary person in criminal law is both contentious and problematic.
Townsley, L 2006, 'Setting Learning Objectives', UTS Law Faculty.
This was a staff seminar and was conducted for academics in the Law faculty for the purpose of understanding the process involved in defining, formulating and clarifying subject objectives, aligning graduate attributes to objectives and aligning objectives to assessment.