Dr Michaela Okninski

Dr Michaela Okninski
 Position Lecturer
 Org Unit Adelaide Law School
 Email michaela.okninski@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 3041
 Location Floor/Room 2 ,  Ligertwood ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    I am an early career researcher at Adelaide Law School, being appointed full-time lecturer in 2021.

    I have a long conntection with the ALS community, commencing as a PhD Candidate in 2015, and Sessional Teacher in 2017. I was awarded my PhD in 2022, where I examined the statutory framework of consent in proposed voluntary assisted dying legislation in South Australia, focusing on protection against undue influence in the consent process.

    I am continuing my research in the voluntary assisted dying space and was appointed to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce, convened by SA Health, in December 2021, and the Education and Training Working Group in February 2022, who are responsible for overseeing the development of mandatory voluntary assisted dying training for medical practitioners.

    I am currently working with the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI), contributing to the five-year reviews of the Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Act 1995 (SA) and the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA), focusing on the statutory definition of 'vulnerable adult' and the interplay coercion, undue influence, and the lack of decision-making capacity have on valid consent under the former legislation. Areas of research under the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA) include care and control orders, restrictive practices, inpatient treatment orders and electro-convulsive therapy.

    Faculty Administrative Roles


    1. Editor - Adelaide Law Review Journal
    2. First Year Coordinator - Adelaide Law School
    3. Academic Integrity Officer - Adelaide Law School



  • Qualifications

    University of Adelaide - PhD (Law) 

    Flinders University - LLB/LP (Hons) 

    Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of Australia

    Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of South Australia


  • Awards & Achievements

    University of Adelaide, Adelaide Law School Dean's Award - Research Award 2022 (Early Career Academic)

    University of Adelaide, Adelaide Law School Dean's Award - SALRI Impact and Engagement Award 2022 (South Australian Law Reform Institute)

    University of Adelaide, Executive Dean Award - First Year Curriculm 2021 (Maeghan Toews, Dr Kerryn Brent and Michaela Okninski)

    Recipient of Faculty of Professions Divisional Scholarship

    Recipient of Australian Government, Department of Education, Research Training Program Scholarship

  • Teaching Interests

    Medical Law and Ethics

    End-of-Life Law

    Tort Law

    Foundations of Law

    Mental Health Law

    Adult Safeguarding

    Voluntary Assisted Dying

    Medical Ethics

    Adelaide Law Review

  • Research Interests

    Voluntary Assisted Dying (Issues with Consent and Conscientious Objection)

    Medical Negligence

    Regulation of the Medical Profession

    Consent to Medical Treatment and Cases of Complex Consent

    Minors and Consent

    Parens Patriae Jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts

    Mental Health Law

    Ageing and Adult Safeguarding

  • Publications


    Michaela Okninski, 'Undue Influence in Euthanasia Laws' (2016) 13(2) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 173

    Michaela Okninski, 'Determining a Child's Best interests when Parents Refuse Medical Treatment-CHAS v Kiszko & Anor [2016] FCWA 19' (2016) 13(3) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 365

    Michaela E. Okninski, ‘Decision-Making For Children Re-visited’ (2016) 13(4) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 467

    Michaela E. Okninski, ‘Best Interests of a Child (Palliative Orders)’ (2017) 14(1) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 19

    Bernadette J. Richards and Michaela E. Okninski, ‘The Best Interests of a Child: A Tragedy in Three Parts: (CAHS V Kiszko & Anor [2016] FCWA 19, CAHS v Kiszko & Anor [2016] FCWA 34 and CAHS v Kiszko & Anor [2016] FCWA 75)’ (2017) 25(1) Medical Law Review 138

    Michaela Estelle Okninski, 'Commentary on Undue Influence Provisions under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act and California's End of Life Option Act' (2017) 25(1) Journal of Law and Medicine 77

    Michaela Estelle Okninski, 'A Comparative Analysis of Voluntariness Safeguards and Review Procedure under Oregon and the Netherlands' Physician Assisted Dying Laws' (2018) 41(1) Dalhousie Law Review 121

    Michaela Estelle Okninski, 'The Catastrophic Consequences of Negligent Misinformation - Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust [2018] UKSC 50' (2019) 16(1) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 13

    Michaela Estelle Okninski, 'Why Death need not be "Reasonably Foreseeable" - The Proposed Legislative Response to Truchon and Gladu v Attorney General (Canada) and Attorney General (Quebec) [2019] QCCS 3792' (2021) 18(1) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 5

    Michaela Estelle Okninski, 'Further Developments Concerning MAID in Canada-Bill C-7 Receives Royal Assent' (2021) 18(2) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 18(3) 371

    Michaela Estelle Okninski, 'Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia—Key Similarities and Points of Difference Concerning Eligibility Criteria in the Individual State Legislation' (2023) Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 

     South Australian Law Reform Institute Reports

    David Plater, Divya Narayan, Anita Brunacci, Holly Nicholls, Jemma Holt, Michaela Okninski, Olga Pandos, Taylor Portelli, Rachael Tan, Kin Tran, Sylvia Villios and John Williams, 'Autonomy and Safeguarding are not Mutually Inconsistent': A Review of the Operation of the Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Act 1995 (SA) (South Australian Law Reform Institute, Adelaide, 2022)


  • Professional Associations

    Member - Law Society of South Australia

    Member - Australasian Law Academics Association 

    Member - Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law

  • Professional Interests

    Voluntary Assisted Dying

    Euthanasia Laws

    Undue Influence

    Medical Negligence

    Medical Law and Ethics

    End-of-Life Law

    Testamentary Capacity

    Medical Treatment - Complex Consent

    Regulation of the Medical Profession

    Mitochondrial Donation (Maeve's Law)


  • Community Engagement

    Director and Secretary - Australiasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (Appointed 2022 - ongoing)

    Member - Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce (SA Health) (2021 - 2023)


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Entry last updated: Monday, 13 Feb 2023

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