PROFILE

Professor Elise Bant

Started at UWA: 2020

Homecoming professor of private law and commercial regulation 

I have always formed my research projects out of my teaching. I find that it is only when tested against sharp and enquiring student minds that the fallacies in the law – and in my developing theories – are truly exposed!Professor Elise Bant

Professor Elise Bant is a teacher and researcher of private law and commercial regulation at the UWA Law School. She is passionate about developing a more just system of private law, where ‘like’ cases are treated alike and on a principled basis. Her scholarship speaks to judges and legislators, regulators and the profession, who are at the front line in applying and developing the law. 

Professor Bant currently teaches the Juris Doctor elective subject of ‘Unjust Enrichment’ at the UWA Law School. She also teaches a Master’s level subject ‘Commercial Applications of Equity’ in the Melbourne Law Masters at the University of Melbourne. Her discipline research strengths include unjust enrichment and restitution law, contract and consumer law, property, equity and trusts, economic torts and remedies. 

A UWA alumna, Professor Bant commenced her studies at UWA as an Arts student from 1987 – 1992 majoring in Politics and Law. During this time, Professor Bant considered a career path as a diplomat, but quickly developed a keen interest in core private law areas such as contract and trust. Upon graduation, she joined Australian law firm, Freehill, Hollingdale & Page, she later returned to UWA as a casual tutor in Constitutional Law and, following this, as a full-time lecturer at the UWA Law School until 2005. 

During 1997-1998, Professor Bant studied at Oxford University under Professor Peter Birks, who was influential in inspiring her chosen career in academia and a “life of wrestling with some of the most fascinating, complex and challenging legal issues of our time”. After later completing her Doctor of Philosophy at Oxford University, Professor Bant joined the University of Melbourne Law School in 2008 to take up an appointment as an Associate Professor, before her promotion to Professor in 2012. Professor Bant has finally returned home to ‘close the loop’ and restarted at UWA at the start of 2020. 

The human cost of unchecked corporate and commercial misconduct and the need to find better legal mechanisms to deter and remedy wrongdoings, as exemplified in The Financial Services Royal Commission, has inspired Professor Bants’ ARC-funded projects on unconscionable conduct in commerce and the challenges of holding corporations responsible for that wrongdoing. 

Professor Bant currently plays an integral role in the UWA research cluster, the Obligations Hub. As her research develops she will connect with the UWA Modern Slavery Research Cluster (MSRC), Government Regulation Hub, Centre for Social Impact and the UWA Public Policy Institute. 

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts – Bachelor of Legislative Law (Honours) (BA LLB), The University of Western Australia
  • Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), University of Oxford 
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Law), University of Oxford 

External positions:

  • Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Law School
  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Law
  • Member of the advisory panel to the Australian Law Reform Commission review of Corporate Criminal Liability, 2019-2020 
  • Editor, Journal of Equity

Awards

Future Fellowship to examine corporate liability for serious commercial misconduct (2020).

Publication of PhD thesis on Change of Position Defence with Hart Publishing, influential in the development of law in Australian and other Common Law jurisdictions (2009).

ARC-funded research projects with Professors Michael Bryan and Jeannie Paterson (2010-current).

Teaching and supervisor opportunities

I am constantly learning. The law is fascinating and challenging. And what I do matters. If I can make a small but real contribution to a better legal system, for the benefit of those subject to it, I will consider my professional life a success!Professor Elise Bant

Research projects

Unravelling corporate fraud

This project aims to reform the ancient laws of common law and equitable fraud that underpin commercial regulation in Australia. These laws are vital to supporting a fair and efficient economy, but have failed to evolve to address the rise of corporate actors. Drawing upon a collaborative network of experts, this project intends to develop models of liability that address and overcome the existing ‘state of mind’ and ‘attribution’ hurdles to holding corporations liable for fraudulent conduct. The intended outcome is a road map for comprehensive judicial and legislative law reform, which should offer significant legal, economic and social benefits by supporting more just, effective and efficient regulation of corporate fraud. 

Developing a Rational Law of Misleading Conduct

This project aims to investigate and promote the reform of the currently confused, conflicting and costly laws of misleading conduct. Such laws are critical to maintaining a fair and efficient market economy, yet have become a mess of disparate statutory and general law rules. In that context, the project proposes a novel, integrated analysis to support the development of a rational law of misleading conduct. The planned outcomes include a rigorous taxonomy of the existing law that will inform an innovative model for judicial and legislative law reform in Australia and overseas. This work should offer significant legal, economic and social benefits by promoting more just, effective and efficient regulation of misleading conduct.

Funding


2018–2022

Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant 180100932 

  • Grant for ‘Developing a rational law of misleading conduct’ with Professor Jeannie Paterson, Melbourne Law School, $271,467. 

2014-2020

Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship

  • Grant for ‘Unravelling Corporate Fraud: re-purposing ancient laws for modern times’, $919,150. 

2014–2016

Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant DP140100767

  • Grant for ‘Remedies under the Australian Consumer Law and the Common Law: Evolution and Revolution’ with Professor Jeannie Paterson, Melbourne Law School, $244,690. 

 

 

Contact Professor Elise Bant

Professor Bant welcomes emails from prospective PhD students interested in research topics on Private Law.

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Research repository

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