Staff Snapshot: Steven Freeland

Steven Freeland, School of Law
Steven Freeland teaches International Criminal Law, Commercial Aspects of Space Law, Public International Law and Human Rights Law. While he is based on Parramatta campus, he has taught space law and international law in Australia and around the world, has provided assistance to the United Nations as well as the Australian and other governments on various international and space-law-related issues, has previously worked with judges of the International Criminal Court in The Hague and, amongst other appointments, is a Director of the International Institute of Space Law based in Paris.

Find out more about Steven and his work in his Staff Snapshot below...

When did you start working at the University?
I joined Western as a lecturer in the School of Law in 2002 after a previous 20-year career as an international commercial lawyer and then an investment banker. Over the following seven years I was fortunate to be successful in several applications for promotion, and became Professor of International Law in 2010. I have introduced a number of international law units into the School of Law program, and encourage colleagues to develop their international law expertise.

Describe your current role:
Apart from teaching and researching, I am privileged to regularly be asked to work with various agencies of the United Nations, for various governments, NGOs, industry and professional organisations. I have also been appointed to represent Australia at a number of UN and other inter-governmental conferences.

What's the best thing about your job?
It is an absolute privilege being a university academic. It embraces the best of all worlds – dealing with enquiring and amazing student minds, working together with excellent colleagues (many of whom are friends), collaborating on research projects with some incredible academics across many countries, and engaging with the broader community at a national and international level. I also love the freedom to express my views openly and without restriction, and feel that an important part of my job is to communicate on important issues with a wide range of people, particularly through public speeches and via the media.

What do you love most about working at the University?
Many things, but above all the students. We have such an interesting, enthusiastic and diverse range of students – so many of them have interesting stories to tell and their different perspectives make for excellent discussions on contemporary international law issues during seminars. I have given guest lectures at many universities in Australia and overseas and really believe that our students are amongst the most appreciative, inquisitive and challenging audiences anywhere. They certainly keep us all on our toes.

What are you going to be working on in the next 12 months?
I have a large report to write for the Australian government that is due at the end of August. That will keep me here until then. After that for the remainder of this year, I have some teaching obligations but will also be travelling to New Zealand (where I am also assisting the Government there), speaking in Mexico at a large conference, heading a workshop of collaborators from 15 countries (the beginnings of a three-year collaborative research project) in Montreal, and working with the UN at research workshops dealing with crimes against the environment during warfare. I am also honoured to have ongoing roles as a Visiting Professor at universities in Copenhagen, Vienna and Toulouse, and will be spending time at each of those institutions on a number of other research-related projects.