Professor Brian Simpson

Professor - School of Law

Brian Simpson

Phone: +61 2 6773 3708



Professor Brian Simpson joined UNE in 2006 from the School of Law at Keele University in the United Kingdom. He previously held positions at Monash, La Trobe, James Cook and Flinders Universities. His research interests span interdisciplinary approaches to law in various aspects. He is recognised internationally for his expertise in children’s rights, especially where they intersect with sexuality and new technologies. He has a special interest in the manner that law constructs online identities and social memories, and he has also published on law’s relationship with the culture of tourism and the regulation of urban space particularly as it affects children, young people and other marginalised groups.

Professor Simpson taught law to social work students for over 20 years in both Australia and the UK. He was a member of the team which established the Bachelor of Social Work degree at UNE and which received the Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Award in 2008 for interdisciplinary collaboration for the design of that degree. He taught units on law for Social Work, and Juvenile Justice and Child Protection into that program until 2013.

He also has a longstanding interest in clinical legal education especially as it relates to practising law for social justice and has been involved in many community legal centres over his career. For example, he volunteered for many years in the 1980s at Nunawading Community Legal Centre in suburban Melbourne and while at James Cook University in 1990 he helped to establish the Townsville Community Legal Centre which was then the first community legal centre North of Brisbane. At UNE he established the unit 'Street Law Clinic' in 2011, which was then only the second street law unit in an Australian University.

Brian is also a co-convenor of the IT Law and Cyberspace stream at the UK Socio-Legal Studies Association annual conference. He regularly edits the special issue of the journal Information and Communications Technology which follows this conference.

Professor Simpson is responsible for the teaching of Family Law and coordinates and teaches in the first-year unit Introduction to Legal System and Methods.


BA, LLB, LLM (Monash) PhD (La Trobe) Grad. Dip. Regional and Urban Planning, M. Regional and Urban Planning (Uni SA), Australian Lawyer, PIA (Assoc.)

Teaching Areas

LAW100: Introduction to Legal System and Methods.

LAW370/LLM570: Family law



Brian Simpson (2018) Young People, Social Media and the Law (Routledge, Oxford and New York)

Anthony Marinac, Brian Simpson, Caroline Hart, Rhianna Chisholm, Jennifer Neilsen, Michael Brogan (2018) Learning Law (Cambridge University Press)

Brian Simpson & Cheryl Simpson (2011) From Heritage to Terrorism: Regulating Tourism in an Age of Uncertainty (Routledge, Glasshouse, Oxford)

Brian Simpson (2004) Children and Television (London and New York, Continuum Books).

Chapters in books

Brian Simpson (2017) Re-written judgment - ‘RCB as Litigation Guardian of EKV, CEV, CIV and LRV v the Honourable Justice Colin James Forrest’ in Helen Stalford, Kathryn Hollingsworth and Stephen Gilmore (eds) Rewriting Children’s Rights Judgments: From Academic Vision to New Practice (London, Bloomsbury, Hart), pp. 495-503.

Simpson, B. (2015) ‘Memorialising the Dead Child: Confronting Lost Childhoods’ in K. Malecka and R. Gibbs (eds) And Death Shall Have Dominion: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Dying, Caregivers, Death, Mourning and the Bereaved (Oxford, Inter-Disciplinary Press), pp.157-166.

Simpson, B. (2015) ‘Sexting, Digital Dissent and Narratives of Innocence – Controlling the Child’s Body’ in Sampson Lee Blair, Patricia Neff Claster, Samuel M. Claster (eds) Sociological Studies of Children and Youth: Vol 19: Technology and Youth: Growing Up in a Digital World (Emerald Publishing), pp. 315-349.

B. Simpson (2011) 'The Facebook Family: Information and Communication Technology Redrafting the Rules of Participation in Family Life in H. Greif, L. Hjorth, A. Lasén and C. Lobert-Maris (eds) Cultures of Participation: Media Practices, Politics and Literacy (Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 2011), pp.181-94.

B. Simpson (2009) '"The Scourge of Residential Streets": The Legal (Mis)construction of Street Racing as Anti-Social Behaviour' in J. Ormrod and B. Wheaton (eds) On the Edge: Leisure, Consumption and the Representation of Adventure Sports (LSA Publication, No. 104, Brighton, UK), pp.71-94

B. Simpson (2009) 'Competing for the City: Child Friendly Cities, Children's Rights and Tourism' in S. Fleming (ed) Leisure and Tourism: International Perspectives on Cultural Practice (LSA Publication, No. 106, Brighton, UK), pp.139-153

B. Simpson (2008) 'Child Poverty, Homelessness and the Exploitation of Children' in G. Monahan & L. Young (eds) Children and the Law in Australia (LexisNexis), pp.122-145.

B. Simpson (2008) 'Health, Housing and Social Security' in G. Monahan & L. Young (eds) Children and the Law in Australia (LexisNexis), pp. 256-275.

B. Simpson & C. Simpson (2007) 'The End of Tourism, the Beginning of Law' in P. Burns and M. Novelli (eds) Tourism and Politics: Local frameworks and global realities' (Pergamon/Elsevier, Advances in Tourism Research Series) pp.369-387


Brian Simpson ‘Algorithms or advocacy: does the legal profession have a future in a digital world?’ (2016) 25(1) Information and Communications Technology Law 50-61.

B. Simpson (2014) 'Tracking children, constructing fear: GPS and the manufacture of family safety' Vol 24 (3) Information & Communications Technology Law 273-285.

B. Simpson (2013) 'Challenging childhood, challenging children: Children's rights and sexting', Sexualities Vol 16, Nos 5 and 6, 690-709

B. Simpson (2011) 'Sexualising the child: the strange case of Bill Henson, his 'absolutely revolting images' and the law of childhood innocence' Sexualities Vol 14 No 3, pp. 290-311.

B. Simpson (2011) 'What happens online stays online? Virtual punishment in the real world' Information and Communications Technology Law, Vol 20, No. 1, pp.3-17.

B. Simpson (2010) 'Constructing childhood sexuality in teacher-student sexual relationships' Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol 22 No 3 310-327.

B. Simpson (2009) 'Controlling fantasy in cyberspace: cartoons, imagination and child pornography'  Information and Communications Technology Law, Vol.18 No.3 255-271.

Entry in Encyclopedia

Brian Simpson ‘Sexting’ in George Rotzer (ed) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology Online (eISBN: 9781405124331), (Wiley, August, 2016)

Other Publications

Brian Simpson & Lisa Collingwood (2018) 27(2) ‘Law Automation and Shifting Values’ Information & Communications Technology Law 221-222 (Editorial)

Brian Simpson & Maria Murphy (2016) 25 (1) ‘Technological challenges and opportunities: the future of law’ Information & Communications Technology Law 1-3 (Editorial).

Brian Simpson & Maria Murphy (2014) 23 (3) ‘Cyber-privacy or cyber-surveillance? Legal responses to fear in cyberspace’ 23(3) Information & Communications Technology Law 189-191 (Editorial).

Conference Papers

‘Reconstructing truth online: fake news, real names and viral evidence’ Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK) Annual Conference, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, 27 – 29 March, 2018

‘Is Children's Digital Citizenship a Digital Straitjacket?’ Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK) Annual Conference, Newcastle University, United Kingdom, 5 – 7 April, 2017

‘Robots, Intimacy and the Law' Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK) Annual Conference, University of Lancaster, United Kingdom, 5 – 7 April, 2016

B. Simpson 'Religion and the Construction of the Law of Childhood Sexuality in Australia' Academy of Social Sciences in Australia workshop at La Trobe University, Melbourne, 30 September – 1 October, 2013.

''Memorialising Childhood Abuse and Maltreatment: Viewing the Past in Changed Times' Law and Society Association (US) Annual Conference, Boston, May 30- June 2, 2013

'Challenging Childhood, Challenging Children: Children's Rights Online' invited seminar paper,  ESRC Seminar Series: 'Digital Policy: Connectivity, Creativity and Rights' 18 November, 2011, University of Leicester, UK

'Social networking, inappropriate conduct and making friends: constructing online identities within teacher and student relationships in the age of Facebook' Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK) Annual Conference, University of Sussex, Brighton, 12 - 14 April 2011.