Emerita Professor Rosemary Owens

Emerita Professor Rosemary Owens
 Position Emerita Professor
 Org Unit Adelaide Law School
 Email rosemary.owens@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5723
 Location Floor/Room 4 17 ,  Ligertwood Building ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Emerita Professor Rosemary Owens, AO was formerly Dame Roma Mitchell Chair of Law (2008-2015) and served as Dean of Law (2007 - 2011). Professor Owens was appointed as an Officer in the Oder of Australia in January 2014 for her distinguished service to the law, as an academic and administrator, to international and national labour organizations, and to women. Professor Owens is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.


    Professor Owens’ field of research expertise lies in the area of ‘the law of work’, which includes international labour law; employment, labour and industrial relations law; and anti-discrimination law. She also researches and teaches at both post-graduate and undergraduate levels in arbitration law, constitutional law, and feminist- and socio-legal theory.


    Acknowledged internationally as a leader in her field, Professor Owens has held many significant appointments during her academic career. In 2010 she was appointed to the International Labour Organisation’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR), which comprises 20 leading experts from around the world appointed on the basis of their independence and integrity as well knowledge of their discipline. Professor Owens is also currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Australian Journal of Labour Law, and was previously its Editor (2003-2007). She is an active member of the Australian Labour Lawyers Association and has been a member of the National Executive.


    Professor Owens has also held a number of appointments with government and non-government organizations. She has served as the Chair of the South Australian Government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Work/Life Balance, and as a board member of several statutory corporations, including the SA Water Corporation and the West Beach Trust. Since the early 1990s she has been associated with the Working Women’s Centre in  Adelaide, and during that time she has participated as both Chair and Member of its Board of Management.  

  • Qualifications

    BA(Hons); Dip Ed; LLB (Hons) (Adelaide)

  • Teaching Interests

    Undergraduate Courses

    The Law of Work
    International Labour Law

    Australian Constitutional Law

    Postgraduate Courses

    The Law of Work in the New Economy
    Globalisation and the Legal Regulation of Work

    Research Supervision

    Honours Dissertation
    Master of Laws (Research)
    Master of Compatrative Law (Dissertation)


  • Research Interests

    The Law of Work including International Labour Law
    Anti-discrimination Law
    Australian Constitutional Law

    In her research work Professor Rosemary Owens focuses primarily on the Law of Work (including employment, labour and anti-discrimination law), but she also has strong interests in public law especially constitutional law.

    Professor Owens has published extensively on legal issues relating to non-standard and precarious forms of work and the participation of women in the labour market. She is particularly interested in the legal construction of women at work in both international and national legal systems, and in the development and protection of social and economic rights in the global era.

    In 2009 she was a rapporteur to The World Congress of International Association of Labour Law and Social Security Law. In 2004 she convened, with Prof Judy Fudge of Osgoode Hall Law School, a workshop on "Precarious Work, Women and the New Economy: The Challenge to Legal Norms" at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Onati, Spain. This project brought together academics from the Universities of Cambridge, Kent, and Oxford in the UK; Cornell, UCLA and Yale in the USA; Toronto, York and Quebec in Canada; Utrecht in Netherlands; Lund in Sweden; and Griffith and Adelaide in Australia.

    Rosemary Owens is a member of INTELL, and she is also an associate of the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law, The University of Melbourne.

  • Publications

    Selected Publications


    The Law of Work, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2011) pp i-xlix and 1- 696 (co-authored with Joellen Riley and Jill Murray) (First edition, 2007 (with Joellen Riley)).

     Precarious Work, Women and the New Economy: The Challenge to Legal Norms (Hart Publishing, Oxford UK and Portland Oregon, 2006) pp i-xxx, 1-401 (co-edited with Judy Fudge).

    Intention in Law and Philosophy (Ashgate Dartmouth, Aldershot UK, 2001) ppi-xxiv, 1- 377 (co-edited with Ngaire Naffine and John Williams).

    Sexing The Subject Of Law (Sweet and Maxwell Ltd, London UK, and LBC Information Services, Sydney Australia, 1997) pp i-xxix, 1-299 (co-edited with Ngaire Naffine).

     Articles and Book Chapters

    'Unfinished Constitutional Business: Building a National System to Regulate Work' (2010) 22 AJLL 258.

    'The Safety Net: Labour Standards in the New Era' in A Forsyth and A Stewart (eds) fair Work: The New Workplace Laws and the Legacy of Work Choices (Federation Press, Sydney 2009) pp40-74 (with Jill Murray).

    'Working Precariously: The Safety Net after Work Choices' (2006) 9 AJLL 161

    'Reproducing Law's Worker: Regulatory Tensions in the Pursuit of "Population, Participation and Productivity"' in Christopher Arup, Peter Gahan, John Howe, Richard Johnstone, Richard Mitchell, and Anthony O'Donnell (eds) Labour Law and Labour Market Regulation: Essays on the Construction, Constitution and Regulation of Labour Markets and Work Relationships (Federation Press, Sydney, 2006), pp 410-431.

    "Engendering Flexibility in a World of Precarious Work" in Judy Fudge and Rosemary Owens (eds) Precarious Work, Women and the New Economy: The Challenge to Legal Norms (Hart Publishing, Oxford UK and Portland Oregon, 2006), pp329-352.

    "Precarious Work, Women and the New Economy: The Challenge to Legal Norms" in Judy Fudge and Rosemary Owens (eds) Precarious Work, Women and the New Economy: The Challenge to Legal Norms Hart Publishing, Oxford UK and Portland Oregon USA, 2006) pp3-27 (Co-author: Judy Fudge).

    "Taking Leave: Work and Family in Australian Law and Policy" in Joanne Conaghan and Kerry Rittich (eds) Labour Law, Work, and Family: Critical and Comparative Perspectives (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005), pp237-259.


    Experience or Exploitation: The Nature, Prevalence and Regulation of Unpaid Work Experience in Australia (Co-author: Andrew Stewart)

  • Professional Associations

    International Network of Transformative Employment and Labour Lawyers (INTELL)

    The Centre of Labour and Employment Relations Law at the University of Melbourne - Associate

    Australian Labour Law Association - Member

    Australian Association of Constitutional Lawyers - Member

    The Law Society of South Australia - Member

    Industrial Relations Society of South Australia (Inc)- Member

  • Community Engagement

    Management Committee of the Working Women's Centre (SA) Inc - Deputy Member

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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 12 Feb 2019

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