Associate Professor Liesel Spencer

Associate Professor Liesel Spencer

Associate Professor,
School of Law


Dr Liesel Spencer joined the School of Law at WSU in 2007.  Her research interests are in public health law and food systems governance, focussing on regulation of food security. Liesel’s most recent research project made a comparative law and legal geographical analysis of the food security and public health impacts of Australia’s place-based income management trial, and the US suite of food welfare law and policy.  She is currently writing a book on law and food security.  She has also published research on the public and environmental health implications of urban agriculture, and on aspects of local government law as public health regulation.  Liesel is admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of New South Wales (but is not currently practising).  She is a first-year teaching specialist and the recipient of multiple student-selected teaching awards, and has taught, convened and written curriculum for the subjects Torts Law, Public Health Law, Comparative Law, Introduction to Law, Professional Responsibilty and Legal Ethics, and Civil Procedure; and has also taught Legal Analysis and Critique, Criminal Law, Law Foundation, and Law of Business Organisations. 

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Spencer.


  • PhD University of Sydney
  • GDLP University of Western Sydney
  • BALAWS University of Western Sydney

Professional Memberships

  • Food Governance Node, Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney Law School, University of Sydney (2016 - 2018)
  • Roll of Legal Practitioners, Supreme Court of New South Wales (2013 - 2014)
  • Institute of Australian Geographers (2014 - 2014)


  • Lecturer of the Year, Campbelltown Campus (LSA) 2011-10-01
  • Lecturer of the Year, Campbelltown Campus (LSA) 2013-10-01
  • Lecturer of the Year, Campbelltown Campus (LSA) 2016-10-01
  • Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) Publication Award ECR 2019-11-21


  • Comparative law
  • Food systems and law
  • Legal geography
  • Public health law
  • Urban agriculture

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • School of Law


  • School of Law Workload Committee
  • Research and Higher Degrees by Research Committee
  • Teaching and Learning Committee


Phone: (02) 4620 3773
(02) 4620 3773
Location: 22.1.46

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 200006 Introduction to Law, 2012
  • 200008 Torts Law, 2014
  • 200010 Criminal Law, 2014
  • 200017 Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure, 2011
  • 200020 Professional Responsibility and Legal Ethics, 2007
  • 200702 Public Health Law, 2020
  • LAWS1009 Legal Analysis and Critique, 2022
  • LAWS3011 Comparative Law: Legal Systems of the World, 2022


Chapters in Books

  • Spencer, L. (2020), 'Keeping up appearances : conflicting values in state opposition to growing food in public ', Urban Food Democracy and Governance in North and South, Palgrave Macmillan 9783030171865.
  • Spencer, L. (2020), 'Comparative legal geography : context and place in "legal transplants"', Legal Geography: Perspectives and Methods, Routledge 9781138387379.
  • Spencer, L. (2016), 'Urban agriculture in Cuba : alternative legal structures, crisis and change', Balanced Urban Development: Options and Strategies for Liveable Cities, Springer 9783319281100.
  • Newlyn, D. and Spencer, L. (2012), 'Vodcasting in tandem with annotated exemplars to improve student performance', Canadian Legal Education Annual Review = Revue de l'Enseignement du Droit au Canada, Thomson Reuters Canada 9780779850303.

Journal Articles

  • Spencer, L. (2023), '[In Press] Late to the table : Australian law and policy on food security', Alternative Law Journal, .
  • Gregory-Wilson, R., Gregory-Wilson, R., Spencer, L., Handsley, E. and Raeburn, T. (2022), 'Infant removal from birth parents : how does health information impact court decisions? : a scoping review', Collegian, vol 29, no 3 , pp 379 - 389.
  • Spencer, L. (2018), 'Place-based income management legislation : impacts on food security', Flinders Law Journal, vol 20, no 1 .
  • Spencer, L. (2017), 'Selective paternalism in Australian social security law', Alternative Law Journal, vol 42, no 4 , pp 267 - 272.
  • Spencer, L. (2015), 'Obstacles to the promotion of public health by local government in New South Wales', The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, vol 5, no 3 , pp 35 - 42.
  • Spencer, L. (2014), 'Local government planning law and urban design for active living', The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, vol 4, no 4 , pp 13 - 23.
  • Spencer, L. (2014), 'Farming the city : urban agriculture, planning law and food consumption choices', Alternative Law Journal, vol 39, no 2 , pp 120 - 124.
  • Spencer, L. and Newlyn, D. (2013), 'Using exemplars to communicate criteria and standards and improve students' performance in assessment', Ubiquitous Learning, vol 5, no 1 , pp 37 - 48.
  • Spencer, L. and Seymour, E. (2013), 'Reading law : motivating digital natives to ?do the reading'', Legal Education Review, vol 23, no 1 , pp 177 - 200.
  • Spencer, L. (2012), 'Motivating law students to 'do the reading' before class : appropriate extrinsic and intrinsic motivational tools', Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association (JALTA), vol 5, no 1-2 .
  • Spencer, L. (2012), 'Integrating food security into local government law, policy and planning : using local government legal structures to build community resilience to food insecurity', Food Studies, vol 2, no 1 .
  • Newlyn, D., Juriansz, J. and Spencer, L. (2012), 'Using exemplars to improve student performance in a contracts law research essay', International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, vol 19, no 2 , pp 83 - 94.
  • Newlyn, D. and Spencer, L. (2010), 'Improving student performance in interdisciplinary law unit assessment by providing annotated exemplars', Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, vol Vol 3, no No 1 & 2 , pp 67 - 75.
  • Newlyn, D. and Spencer, L. (2009), 'Using Exemplars in an Interdisciplinary Law Unit: Listening to the student's voices', Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, vol 2, no 1 & 2 , pp 121 - 133.
  • Newlyn, D. and Spencer, L. (2008), 'Intertester Reliability: Reporting on Assessment Methods in Interdisciplinary Units', JALTA - Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, vol 1, no 1-2 , pp 255 - 273.

Other Publications

  • 2022, 'Submission to the House Standing Committee on Agriculture Inquiry into Food Security in Australia', Report

Law and food security.

Public health law and food welfare in Australia and the USA.

Income management and in-kind welfare as public health regulation.

Urban agriculture and planning law.

Critical comparative law and comparative legal geography.

Motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic, to encourage law students to complete set reading prior to class.

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Spencer.


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Looking Past the Courtroom: How Might Decision Making Practices Related to Contact Orders be Improved for Infants in Out of Home Care
Field of Research:

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