Dr Penny Carruthers

Started at UWA: 1987

Making law education engaging and inspiring

I love sharing my knowledge and appreciation of the law with students and, in turn, learning from students with all that they bring to the classroom. I love working in a collegiate environment and researching with outstanding scholars. I like the energy and enthusiasm of students and their unique and, sometimes, idiosyncratic views.Penny Carruthers


Penny Carruthers is a lecturer, researcher and Deputy Head of Learning and Teaching at UWA’s Law School. Passionate about teaching and property law research, she has taught and researched in property, land law, equity, trusts and legal education. Her research strengths are the Torrens system of land title registration, equitable doctrines and principles relating to land, and property law teaching.

Her property research feeds into teaching to inspire and engage students learning the law, and she is a keen promoter of broader learning experiences for students, including legal internship and exchange opportunities.


  • BA, BJuris, LLB, LLM (UWA)


Ms Carruthers strives to teach with clarity in an engaging, challenging, interactive and welcoming environment. She is interested in student participation and the dynamic environment which student contributions result in.

Her teaching includes the following:

Contributed to the development of the Juris Doctor, including introducing the Equity and Diversity pathway, 2011–2017

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Australian Award for University Teaching, Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, 2016

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UWA Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2016

Nomination for Blackstone Society Law Teacher of the Year, 2010


Teaching Property Law in a Changing World

This project aims to assess current practices in the teaching of property law in Australian universities via a survey of Australian property law teachers, with a view to identifying what changes may need to be implemented to ensure our teaching in this area accords with national and international standards, technological developments and changing legal practice. This project builds on an earlier survey conducted in 2011 by Penny and her co-researchers, Professor Natalie Skead and Dr Kate Galloway. 


Gavel and legal documentation

Legal documents

Restoring sight: Equity’s role in unravelling arrangements made in once-loving relationships that become unloving

When we are in love we throw caution to the wind and risk entering into contracts and arrangements that are not in our best interests. When we stop loving, we may regret our past conduct and decisions. We may wish to seek ‘justice’ and undo arrangements that were made when we were immersed in our loving relationship. In this project, Penny and Professor Skead analyse a number of equitable principles that have been invoked to unravel arrangements made by parties to a loving relationship that has become unloving, with the ultimate aim of answering the question: how effective is equity in restoring sight in once-loving relationships that have become unloving?

The Torrens System Principle of Immediate Indefeasibility: Is it ‘Fit for Purpose’ for the 21st Century’?

Laws governing the ownership and transfer of interests in land are critically important to society. With this in mind, all Australian jurisdictions have adopted a system of land title registration known as the Torrens system. In the vast majority of land dealings, the Torrens system operates effectively and ensures both security of title for registered proprietors and security of transaction for purchasers seeking to obtain a registered title to land. On occasion, however, disputes regarding title to land arise and the Torrens principle of immediate indefeasibility is applied to resolve these disputes. This project aims to examine the continued effectiveness of this principle in the unfolding 21st century.

Legal documents


  • Australian Award for University Teaching, Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, 2016
  • UWA Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2016
  • UWA Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (Sustained Excellence), 2010
  • Nomination for Blackstone Society Law Teacher of the Year, 2010
  • UniJobs Lecturer of the Year UWA (one of the top 10 for UWA), 2009
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, 1991
  • Nomination for Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2005, 1998 

Related research hub

Contact Ms Penny Carruthers