by Professor Rosalind Croucher, President, Australian Law Reform Commission*, 31 October 2012 at the Sydney Law School 2013 Postgraduate Conference—Stability and Transformation.
The process of research and writing, of the kind that all research students are engaged in, is akin to jousting with demons. There are other metaphors one might use—gazing at oceans, walking through mud. But they are about the same thing: how you work through a research process and end up with a finished product. It is about finding stability in your endeavours and transforming them into an argument sustained over the period of candidature. In this presentation Professor Croucher will draw parallels between the way the ALRC works through a law reform project, and academic research and writing more generally. She will also comment on how academic researchers can add value to law reform in a really meaningful, ‘impactful’ way.
Thank you, Madam Dean (Professor Joellen Riley) for your kind introduction—and Jenny Kaldor for inviting me to talk today.
Before we begin the proceedings, I, too, would like to acknowledge and pay my respects to the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.
It is truly lovely to be at Sydney University on All Hallow’s Eve as the jacarandas blossom. It must be exam time! How well I remember all the many examinations I sat in the Great Hall, under the angels, hoping they might fall on my head—what a fine excuse that would have been!
I thought in my brief presentation today I would focus particularly on the process of writing, as there are great parallels in what you are doing and what we do at the ALRC—and also what I have done in my own writing career.
What a feast you have before you over the next two days! Use it as an opportunity to listen and observe. If it is not your subject area, all the better. Being a ‘cold’ critical observer enables you to see how arguments hang together. Watch each other critically and constructively over the next days. Being able to present your ideas in sessions of these kinds is a wonderful proving process—both as to the structure of your own, and each other’s argument, and also as to the way you do so. I have always firmly believed that speaking your work goes through a different channel in your brain from the writing process. It is where you feel the gaps in your own argument and structure.
The process of writing
I am going to start with a quick quiz. (And a warning – a mixed metaphor alert. I am known for it, and prone to it, so apologies in advance!) Do you feel bogged down? Lost in a fog? Can’t see the forest for the trees? Well, I’ve got news for you: this is normal.
The process of research and writing, of the kind that all research students are engaged in, is akin to jousting with demons. There are other metaphors one might use—gazing at oceans, walking through mud. But they are about the same thing: how you work through a research process and end up with a finished product.
Here I will draw parallels between how we, at the ALRC, work through a law reform project, and academic research and writing more generally.
Anyone involved in academic writing, whether in the university context or in government, must learn how to write. This can be (is) quite a painful process—and the first critical message is ‘practise, practise, practise’.
I learned my craft through researching and writing in the broad general area of history and property law. (And I am still learning!) My undergraduate thesis at the University of Sydney was an historical one; my doctoral research was in legal history, or more specifically testamentary freedom, as a story of conflicted and necessarily balanced ideas—the idea of family and that of property. The PhD (at UNSW) took me ten years, around a full-time academic appointment and two children, among other things. I did a lot of jousting!
There are several important ingredients in successful writing—and a successful ‘output’ (and if you have difficulty at times remembering the difference between an ‘outcome’ and an ‘output’, just remember that an output is ‘something you can drop on your foot’). First, a conceptual framework. Second, its style. Third, a rigorous editing process. I guess you would all be nodding your head about each of these.
Professor Bryan Horrigan, now Dean of Law of Monash University, compiled a wonderfully witty primer on legal research, called ‘Horror’s Hints’, that he wrote while at QUT, published in 2000. Hint #2, ‘Pardon Me, Your Conceptual Framework is Showing (And check in your intellectual baggage at the desk)’ correctly begins by stating:
All pieces of legal writing have an underlying conceptual framework, whether the person realises it or not. … So, whether you articulate it or not, your writing both reflects and is shaped by some underlying theories about the nature of law and legal argument, on one hand, and how your particular area of study works, on the other.
The conceptual framework of academic writing involves understanding, and interrogating, different theoretical perspectives, and anchoring the argument within an appropriately justified critical approach—what Horrigan referred to as ‘justification, justification, justification’; and jousting with demons is part of this.
Law reform writing, too, must ‘own’ a conceptual framework. We generally speak in terms of ‘framing principles’, but the idea is the same: that conclusions must be developed and tested against a conceptual framework which is explained, anchored in appropriate literature or research, and justified; and which is then used as the basis of evaluation of the ideas that eventually translate their way into recommendations for reform.
For example, the Age Barriers inquiry that I led had the following framing principles:
- system stability;
- system coherence; and
At the ALRC we do a lot of writing. Each inquiry generally produces two consultation documents, an Issues Paper and a Discussion Paper, and a final report. Each is written by a team. So we have not only the individual jousting but a collective joust. We have to rise to the challenges of joint-authored publications and maintain the quality of the whole product. We also have to keep to a rigorous schedule, usually only being allowed about 12 months for an inquiry.
Adopting a ‘house style’ is so much more than a citation guide, although of course it is essential to have one of those. The Australian Guide to Legal Citation, produced by Melbourne University Law Review, provides the basic rules for citing material in footnotes, but our Style Guide is much more comprehensive—where the delicately nuanced differences between an ‘en-dash’, ‘em-dash’ and a hyphen are carefully explained, and so on. (Do you know when hyphens should be used in adjectival usage? We are revisiting that now in relation to ‘decision making’ in the Disability Inquiry).
Our ‘house style’ is evolving. Being reflective about style has parallels to thinking about conceptual frameworks. To paraphrase Horror’s Hint # 2, not only do all pieces of legal writing have an underlying conceptual framework, whether the person doing the writing realises or acknowledges it or not, all pieces of legal writing reflect a particular style. Media and journalism students learn about such things; academic lawyers, perhaps not.
We challenge ourselves on style; and others do too. Let me give an example from the Budget hearings of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee on Wednesday 23 May 2012. Senator Brandis SC, then shadow Attorney-General, challenged me about the Privacy report—the end of a very large inquiry that concluded in 2008 in the large, three-volume report, For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice (2008). It was a landmark, comprehensive and impressive report. Senator Brandis commented however that, while the ALRC does ‘wonderful work of the very highest standard’, we were ‘over-capitalising’ that research.
The privacy report of a few years ago was nearly 2,700 pages long. I am not aware of anyone—academic, government body, think tank; any institution in the world—that has produced a 2,700-page document about privacy. Do you have a view, or would you entertain the view, that perhaps, if the commission, without diminution of the quality of its output, were to produce shorter and less discursive reports, it might actually be able to do more useful work because it could engage in a greater number of inquiries?
We then had a bit of an interchange about the report. I said that if the scope of the inquiry, as defined by the Terms of Reference, were large, the report was also likely to be large. I noted that the earlier Privacy report, overseen by Michael Kirby as Chairman, was also large—2,000 pages. Conversely, if the scope were narrower, then the report itself may be shorter, because to answer the Terms of Reference may not need 3,000 pages.
But I was also able to point to some changes in our style over the past three years. What I was talking about was a reflective analysis of our writing—rather like we all do (or should do) as researchers, teachers and as academic writers. For example, at the ALRC we have been focusing upon exactly how we want to communicate in the light of our particular audiences—and we have several. There is the Government—policy advisers to politicians; departmental staff; and Ministers and politicians more broadly. There is the legal profession—lawyers and the Courts; community legal centres and those engaging in the arguments of law. There is the general public, who may consult our reports for answers and also seek to engage in the reform process itself by making submissions to our Issues Papers and Discussion Papers. And there is the audience of the future—law reform reports contribute to legal history in providing a distilled snapshot of the law at a particular moment in time. Each serves a different purpose and need to be written accordingly.
The style of ALRC reports that were being written at the time I joined the Commission reflected what is described as the ‘narrative’ style. Neil James, the Executive Director of the Plain English Foundation, says of this style that it
uses the information-gathering process itself to structure a document, tracing the writer’s journey from setting the scene, deciding on methods for investigation, conducting research, summarising findings, drawing conclusions and (finally) framing recommendations.
This is, as James says, a ‘logical architecture that mirrors the scientific method’. It is therefore often found in technical and scientific writing. It is also found in the academy—and certainly was the prevailing style in law reform writing. In such contexts it was built upon the proposition that the research itself, the evidence base, needed to be fully exposed and interrogated, as much as the conclusions themselves. Hence you might headings like the ones described by James: Background; Methods; Research; Findings; Conclusion; Recommendation. Headings in ALRC reports like ‘Introduction’, ‘Background’, ‘Submissions and consultations’, ‘ALRC views’ all mirrored this scientific style.
But the narrative style can, in a word, be boring. Today’s readers do not want to be bored. Today’s readers need to be able to know the answers in a digestible form that they can remember. A basic rule in writing is that you are communicating. Your audience(s) need to want to listen, or read your message.
Concerns over not reaching our audience(s) have led us to adopt a different way of writing, but still with an acute consciousness of the need to set out the evidence base upon which our conclusions are justified and also of the role that our reports play as contributions to legal history more broadly. It is an ongoing project.
So, we have been trying a few things.
The first step in changing style was to adopt the practice of producing a summary document to accompany each major installation of our inquiry progress. My object here was, quite simply, to meet complaints such as those reflected in Senator Brandis’s remarks as to the ‘size’ of the Privacy report. It meant, quite simply, that the message was being missed. The Privacy report contained an excellent Executive Summary, providing the telescoped message for the entire, massive, report. But it was included at pages 103–129 of the first volume—if you found it. There was a press release—good communication practice—but there was nothing in between this one-pager and the three volume report.
It was very obvious to me that something else was needed. The message was lost. History may well have judged us well, but if we lose our immediate audience we run the risk of being accused of irrelevance, unresponsiveness, inflexibility, and whatever other accusation that leads to a reduction in funding (‘overcapitalising the research’?). The summary reports have to satisfy one simple practical principle: that they will fit in a briefcase and be capable of being read on a plane between Sydney and Canberra. For the intermediate processes, our consultation documents can be printed off easily and our stakeholders can get into our way of thinking quickly—and respond without wasting time wading through stuff they are likely to know anyway. (And because we no longer provide hard copy documents as a matter of course, stakeholders can only be expected to print off a much shorter document for themselves—say around 50–60 pages).
I was reassured in this approach when I went back to Michael Kirby’s collection of essays published in 1983,Reform the Law, which included his reflections on the ‘Australian style’ of law reform. He described the development of the ‘brief discussion paper’ as ‘aimed to secure the involvement of non-lawyers’:
Brevity is a discipline that does not always come easily to lawyers, including law reformers. The traditional working paper was often too long, too complex and too boring to secure the very aim in target, namely widespread consultation. For this reason, the Australian Law Reform Commission, and lately some of the State commissions in Australia, have produced, in addition to detailed papers, short discussion papers and pamphlet summaries of interim proposals. These state briefly the policy issues being posed for professional and public comment.
And where Kirby used cassette tapes to convey messages, the ALRC has adopted the use of their contemporary equivalent: ‘podcasts’. The object is the same: effective communication and audience engagement. Kirby also recognised that, ‘in promoting community debate and professional acceptance of the needs of reform’, the role of the ALRC ‘may be a more lasting and pervasive contribution to law reform in Australia than any particular project’. In short, law reform inquiries have a far bigger role than the individual reports they produce.
For the final reports the writing issue is a different one. There the audience is multi-layered. For any implementation of our recommendations, policy makers need to feel reassured, and understand, that we have an appropriate evidence base to support all the propositions and ideas that we advance. We also have to meet the test of history. The responsibility here, in a final report, is that the presentation of the law, in the particular slice that we are given in our Terms of Reference, is precise and anchored in excellent research.
As a legal historian at heart, I need to feel confident that each of our reports is contributing to legal history. In my own research, I have drawn from the work of others in this domain. The great reports of the Real Property Commissioners from 1829–1833 in the UK were enormously helpful to me in my own doctoral research. (As an aside I should mention that the catalyst towards institutional law reform work of this kind was the writings of Jeremy Bentham. As Sir William Holdsworth remarked, ‘Bentham was the first English lawyer to think out a comprehensive set of philosophical principles upon which reforms in the law ought to be made’.Lord Chancellor Henry Brougham considered that ‘the age of law reform and the age of Jeremy Bentham are one and the same’. He is, in many senses, the father of modern law reform.)
Unlike a research degree, however, at the ALRC we do not have to present the results of a literature review in quite the same way. We do not have to prove, by footnoting, in a bibliography or otherwise, that we have read everything that has been written on a particular subject (although we usually do as part of thorough research). But we do need to be able to defend that we have provided an accurate summary of things as they are, referring to the research of others—and all their footnotes—without having to traverse every skerrick of the academic literature on our subjects ad nauseam. Our conclusions, and our exposition, have to be defensible before the court of history—and Parliament.
In reviewing the submissions and consultations the reports also provide a snapshot of opinion on the issues being considered—again providing a fabulous contribution to legal history, located within their particular social context at a given time.
What messages might these observations suggest about writing style for today’s audience?
First, there is great power in an abstract. It may be required by journals; but it is also a great thing to emulate as practice. Let your readers know, in a nutshell—the 100 words or so commonly allowed for an abstract—what it is that you want to say. We now use ‘Summary’ as our first heading. It does the job of an abstract. It is also an excellent discipline in writing. My colleague at Macquarie University, now Dean of the Law School, Professor Natalie Klein, was exhorted by her doctoral supervisor to write about her thesis as if she were writing three paragraphs to her ‘aunt’—a kind of generic embodiment of ‘everyman’, to make your message clear, and to ensure that you really were able to communicate your argument, your thesis, succinctly. Try it with each other. Limit the words. Speak it out loud.
Second, use headings. I love headings. Not ones that are bland and boring, which convey nothing of their contents, but ones that lead you and entice you into reading. An example: in a section that might typically be headed ‘Background’, in the first chapter of the work we did on the Age Barriers inquiry, I opted for this: ‘The ageing population—a public policy challenge’. Another one that I have been using in introducing the inquiry is a simple question: ‘Why this Inquiry?’
Question marks work a treat here—particularly in sub-headings. For example, in the chapter on superannuation in the Age Barriers report, in the examination of the ‘transition to retirement rules’, we opted for: ‘Transition to Retirement rules: a workforce incentive?’ Questions lead you in. Headings that tell you something of their contents also have this effect. Not every heading is amenable to this style, but use it when you can.
Third, keep your sentences short. We can’t say that we’re always doing this now, but we are working towards a tighter style: clear expression; shorter chapters; concrete expression. The result will be shorter reports. If the sentences aren’t yet all following this rule, they are at least sub-divided reasonably well—and with appropriate punctuation. (Although here I am tempted to recount the offhand remark of one of my most experienced legal officers, reflecting critically upon himself: ‘My punctuation is crap. Full-stop.’)
The central message is to communicate with your audience—and recognise that your audiences may differ for different writings.
‘Writing 101’ is learning about what to cut out—either altogether, or relegated to footnotes. Some of this is about learning when your argument or narrative needs significant pruning. Some of it is because of the exigencies of word-lengths or publishers’ demands. But the end result is the same: a shorter, tighter document with better structured arguments. In other words, ‘edit, edit, edit’. If I were to suggest a rule of thumb here, it would be that it takes, on average, three re-writes to get it right. And it applies to whatever it is you are writing: three goes to achieve a decent draft.
I remember well a seminal moment in writing my first big thesis—my history honours thesis. It was a biography of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (1515–1571), a Renaissance diplomat. He served under several Tudor monarchs, was tried for treason twice—and got off both times. A remarkable fellow! There was a period in the story where a lot was happening, but it was somewhat peripheral to the narrative I was constructing as my thesis. This was the formula I devised: ‘Meanwhile in Scotland, Mary’s reign proceeded by calamities’, followed by a colon and a list of six events, each with a footnote.
At the ALRC we have a good process to achieve the relatively ‘seamless’ look of our co-authored reports. We are, of course, obsessed with expression, where some of the worst sins are mis-placed apostrophes (what Justice Roslyn Atkinson of the Supreme Court of Queensland describes as a ‘decorative apostrophe’). ‘Pam’ is our god—as in Pam Peters, the wise and noble author of The Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage. (We have signed copies at the Commission!).
We ‘buddy read’. The Commissioner reviews everything—often over and over again. I read everything too.(When I mark up chapters for the legal officers I have chosen to use purple: not as aggressive as red, and not as censorious as blue, but a combination of both.) I have described our collective reading process as one of ‘smoothing’, like rough pebbles thrown into a running river, they get smoothed in the process of the tumbling current.
You can follow this practice too—many of you probably do so already. The less you know of the subject matter the better, in a way. (It is that ‘cold’ reading and listening I commended to you in opening my presentation today). You read for flow and structure. The argument really has to hang together for a reader unfamiliar with the subject. Your supervisor will do this for you, but it helps enormously to do this for yourself—with your peers especially.
Law Reform Process, Academic work and Your Career
Academics play an absolutely crucial role in law reform—and in several ways. There is, of course, academic writing. Academic books and journals are frequently cited throughout ALRC reports. Even when not specifically cited, academic writing is a principal means for us quickly to get to grips with the particular landscape under review—and especially its problems. We are, after all, expert generalists. We move from one subject to the next with each inquiry: from family violence, to discovery, to classification, for instance. Academic writing is a crucial plank in our initial literature review of a new area.
The second role is through consultation and serving on expert panels. For each inquiry we establish an Advisory Committee, and/or Advisory Panels, to provide expert sounding boards as we develop our ideas through the iteration of questions, proposals, then recommendations (IP, DP, Report). In addition we may enlist ‘expert readers’; and it is often academics we turn to to provide that assistance.
The third role is by making a submission. Submissions form an important part of the evidence base that informs the development of recommendations. Sadly, academic participation here is not particularly high. In fact it is disappointingly low. Why not get involved in this way? Submissions are cited and quoted throughout ALRC reports. And if your view is found persuasive or helpful in our thinking, then you are having real ‘impact’.
This is an important message and one that may be lost in the current climate about the ‘value’ of particular kinds of legal research. I have often heard of frustration about the way that law research is, or is not, ‘counted’ in the context of annual research reporting and in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) processes. But this is altogether too narrow a focus—and one that neglects the fact that law is aprofessional discipline in an academic context, or vice versa, an academic discipline in a professional context.
Now, let me take that back to you in your own career development, thinking here about academic careers.My advice is to remember that building an academic career is based not just on research but on a range of things, including your teaching and your community and professional engagement. In a professional discipline these are matters that you should take seriously. Writing refereed journal articles is essential in building your research profile, certainly, and they are also an excellent means of getting free feedback from experts in your areas of interest. But textbooks do have value, maybe not in the ‘research’ that is counted for ERA purposes, but they do advance your claim to excellence in teaching. And the same for writing in professional journals or mass media and in making submissions to public inquiries: they have value in advancing your claim in relation to community and professional engagement. You need to address all the criteria on such occasions and don’t neglect your responsibility in being part of a professional discipline.
Does a PhD matter? It was certainly not the norm in the 1960s and 1970s. The benchmark degree was, perhaps, the Oxford BCL. But now the PhD is the degree that ‘goes without saying’. The PhD is the ‘driving licence’ of the academy at large, the ‘stripes on the shoulder’, the EURO or common currency. And with the transformation of law into an academic discipline, the PhD is expected: if not to get in, then certainly to get on in the legal academy. Its absence requires explanation, or demonstration of ‘equivalence’ in other ways. I certainly advise all my young colleagues to undertake doctoral study. For women there is another bonus—being ‘Dr’ transcends your gender.
Of Stability and Transformation in Doctoral Study
In my final comments this morning I want to tie in specifically to the key themes of this two-day conference, ‘Stability’ and ‘Transformation’, and relate this to doctoral study.
Stability in the process is achieved once you understand what is normal. The feeling bogged. The jousts with demons. Here I must share with you my principle of the ‘foetal 48 hours’. It is one that came to me in the management roles I have been in since around 1995. Hard decisions can be very confronting. They have to be. You have to work through them—a lot. Like a thesis. I have generally found that this process leads to an intense period of about two days where I go virtually ‘foetal’ and then, suddenly the clouds part, the weight lifts off the shoulders, and the decision is made. With the doctoral process it may be a number of such periods. And perhaps more than the 48 hour cycle. In the last year, months, of my thesis writing in 1993, my sister took my children away for four days over Easter. I remember it clearly. I even remember what I was wearing! I have a very clear recollection of the sun going up and the sun going down; the sun going up and the sun going down; out of the window in front of my desk. And in that four days I broke the back of the final thinking—especially the crucial final chapter. I could then confidently go back and finish the writing of the first chapter (the one that says what you are going to do, and which, of course, you can only say confidently when you have done it!). It took till November to get it polished up, but that four days nailed it.
Stability is assisted by a few tips:
If you are doing your thesis part-time, as well as maintaining an early career as an academic, you may feel rather overwhelmed with the weight of expectation around you. In my experience a great deal of managing the expectations of yourself and of others is simply prioritising, and understanding what the bounds of ‘normal’ are in undertaking research. If you commit to producing quality work then it has its own pace in some respects. The concentrated research times have to be fitted in around the teaching times. It will always be in patches. This, too, is normal.
It is very difficult during teaching terms to fit in much more than simply keeping up with the demands of teaching—especially if you are committed and conscientious and you haven’t been teaching long. The qualities of commitment and conscientiousness are worthy ones. They will generate quality in your publications as well. So, prioritise. Draw up a plan of what you want to work on first, second, and so on. Keep adding to your list and working on it. One at a time. Often when you are ambitious you feel everyone is doing so much more than you are and you are being left behind. The guilt is always there. At times it verges into panic. This is normal.
My advice after long experience is that these feelings don’t go away. They only get managed. Doing lists and prioritising have worked for me. If you have children, and are undertaking a PhD, and especially if you don’t have the luxury of full-time doctoral study, then things just take longer. Understanding this helps you keep perspective on your own career path. It will just take longer. A central message is really a very simple one: you do not need to do everything at once – just do it well and focus on the horizon.
Another tool I developed to help me manage this normal ‘horror’ was the mental ‘clutch pedal’. During teaching times, when it was impossible to do anything much other than focus on the teaching, I imagined a clutch pedal, or pause button. The engine would still be running, just not in gear on the doctoral work. But what I learned was that the engine was still running, and the break didn’t hurt at all. I also ‘chunked’ off bits and worked them into articles along the way. This generated publications apart from the thesis and gave me the bonus of free feedback from experts.
The transformation that happens through the doctoral process is a really wonderful one. Apart from my children, the thing I am proudest of is my PhD. The work you do in developing your conceptual framework—of peeling off the layers of the onion; of jousting with demons—is truly enriching. Even last year, nearly 20 years after I had finished my thesis I published an article that was essentially my conceptual framework. That deep conceptual thinking transforms and sustains you—and it lasts a lifetime.
And don’t worry about the demons. You will learn to be a good jouster.
* President, Australian Law Reform Commission; Professor of Law, Macquarie University, on leave for the duration of my appointment at the ALRC.
 Horror’s Hints, 3.
 Horror’s Hints, Hint # 10, 17.
 Grey Areas: Age Barriers to Work in Commonwealth Laws (ALRC DP 78, 2012).
 Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, Estimates, Hansard, 23 May 2012, 47.
 ALRC Report 22, was tabled in December 1983: <www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/privacy-1976-83>.
 Here I should pay particular tribute to Senior Legal Officer, Jared Boorer, who has been instrumental in leading this process within the ALRC.
 N James, Writing at Work: How to write clearly, effectively and professionally (2007), 52.
 I should say, however, that not all headings were like this, but there were enough of them to be indicative of a style that needed a re-think. And the conclusion was always saved in reserve till the end.
 M Kirby, Reform the Law: Essays on the renewal of the Australian legal system, 1983, 58.
 Such as the podcast on 3 March 2012 by Professor Terry Flew Podcast, Commissioner, on the recommendations made in the Classification Review’s Final Report: <www.alrc.gov.au/news-media/2011-2012> at 9 October 2012; and the podcast I did on 17 December 2010 on Indigenous issues and consultation in the Family Violence Inquiry: <www.alrc.gov.au/news-media/family-violence/podcast-indigenous-issues-and-consultation-family-violence-inquiry> at 9 October 2012.
 The work of the Real Property Commissioners was a monumental contribution to law reform. The Commissioners were appointed in 1829 and produced four reports (1829, 1830, 1832 and 1833). The work of the Commissioners is summarised in AWB Simpson, A History of the Land Law, 2nd ed, Oxford 1986, ch xi, ‘The Nineteenth Century Movement for Reform’.
 Holdsworth, History of English Law, vol xiii, 42.
 Brougham, Speeches, ii, 287, cited by Holdsworth, ibid, 42.
 I have a framed picture of Jeremy in my office. He was a great reform champion. One aspect of this was his views in relation to anatomy. The improvement of medical studies needed bodies—and not just those of executed criminals or those ‘resurrected’ by the notorious Resurrection Men of the early 18th century, of which Charles Dickens wrote. Bentham was an advocate of the donation of bodies. Including his own. He left his body to his friend, Dr Southwood Smith, to be dissected as part of a public anatomy lecture—to which invitations were issued. Afterward, the skeleton and head were preserved, the skeleton was padded and Bentham’s clothes added. He is displayed in a wooden cabinet at University College London as his own ‘Auto-icon’. For the 100th and 150th anniversaries of the college, Jeremy was brought to the meeting of the College Council, where he was listed as ‘present but not voting’. Bentham’s head was mummified as part of the auto-icon, but it was not very well done. The head also became the target of student pranks, being ‘nicked’ from time to time. So a wax head was put in its place, with the original stored in a vault. If you can’t pay him a visit in person, at least have a look at the 360° rotatable auto-icon can be seen at: <www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/who/autoicon/Virtual_Auto_Icon>.
 I note that Dr Kieran Tranter of QUT is undertaking some empirical research on the use of published law research by Australian Law Reform Commissions. A preliminary snapshot of this work was presented at the Australasian Law Reform Agencies Conference at the ANU in September 2012.
 Ross Buckley, ‘NOTE: Legal Scholarship for New Law Teachers’ (1997) 8(2) Legal Education Review 181 Buckley examines the process of how and when to undertake a PhD: 191–195. For an early career academic this article is altogether most instructive.