Staff Profile:Dr. Lawrence McNamara

Areas of Interest:
Defamation, Media Law, Racial & Religious Hatred, Free Speech, ' Law, Terrorism and the Right to Know'
Research groups / Centres:
  • "Review of Ivan Hare & James Weinstein (eds); Extreme Speech and Democracy" (2009) 2 Journal of Media Law 295-303.
  • "Counter-terrorism Laws and the Media: National Security and the Control of Information" (2009) 5(3) Security Challenges 95-115.
  • "Reporting on Terrorism Cases: From Open Justice to Closed Courts" (2009) 92 Precedent 80-88.
  • "A Matter of Honour" (2009) 38(2) Index on Censorship 80-88
  • "Anti-Terrorism Laws and the Australian Media" (2009) Gazette of Law & Journalism (subscriber access only).
  • "Counter-Terrorism Laws: How They Affect Media Freedom and News Reporting" (2009) 6(1) Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 27-45.
  • "Closure, Caution and the Question of Chilling: How Have Australian Counter-Terrorism Laws Affected the Media?" (2009) 14 Media & Arts Law Review 1-30.
  • Reputation and Defamation (Oxford University Press, 2007).
  • "Salvation and the State: Religious Vilification Laws and Religious Speech" in Adrienne Stone & Katharine Gelber (eds), Hate Speech and Free Speech in Australia (Federation Press, 2007), 145-168.
  • "Taking History to Court: Defamation and Revisionism after the David Irving Trial" in Michel Prum, Marie-Claude Barbier & Bénédicte Deschamps (eds), Killing The Other: Racial, Religious, Ethnic and Homophobic Violence (Routledge-Cavendish/Glasshouse, 2007) 31-42.
  • "Free Speech" in Des Butler & Sharon Rodrick Australian Media Law 3rd Ed (LBC, 2007) 3-25; 2nd Ed (2004) 1-24; 1st ed (1999) 2-22.
  • "Blasphemy" in Peter Radan, Denise Meyerson & Rosalind Croucher (eds), Law and Religion: God, The State and The Common Law (Routledge, 2005), 197-219.
  • "History, Memory and Judgment: Holocaust Denial, The History Wars and Law's Problems with the Past" (2004) 26 Sydney Law Review 353.
  • "Bigotry, Community and the (In)Visibility of Moral Exclusion: Homosexuality and the Capacity to Defame" (2001) 6 Media and Arts Law Review 271.
  • "Sport, Spectators and Traditions of Hatred: Responding to Racist Abuse" (2001) 10 Griffith Law Review 99.
  • "Flexible Delivery and the (Political) Importance of Teaching" (2001) 35 The Law Teacher: The International Journal of Legal Education 198.

View and download publications at SSRN.

Recent conference papers:

  • "Media Freedom and The Right to Know: The Effects of Counter-Terrorism Laws and Cultures", Seminar Series at the Centure for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University, 30 November 2009
  • "'Proxies for the Authorities?' The Use of the Media in the Investigation and Prosecution of Terrorism Offences", Terrorism and Law Expert Roundtable - The Culture of Control, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 6-7 July 2009
  • "Counter-terrorism Laws: How they Affect Media freedom and News Reporting", Journalism Testing Legal Boundaries: Media Laws and Reporting of Arab News, Arab Media Centre, University of Westminster, 20 June 2008
  • "Democracy, Doubt and Fear: Media Freedom and Counter-terrorism Laws in Australia and the UK", SLSA Annual Conference, Manchester University, April 2008
  • "Demons and Democracy: Counter-Terrorism Laws and the Legitimacy of Limits on Media Freedom", Dept of Politics (seminar series), University of Queensland, 3 August 2007; Faculty of Law (seminar series), University of New South Wales, 5 Sept 2007
  • "Censorship in the Media", Annual Assembly of the New South Wales Young Lawyers, Sydney, 3-4 November 2006
  • "Balancing Rights: A Discussion of the Impact of Racial and Religious Vilification Laws", Recognising Difference, Realising Rights: National Conciliators & Legal Officers Conference, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sydney, 28 September 2006
B Ec (Hons) (Monash); LLB (Hons), PhD (Sydney)

Biographical details:

Lawrence came to the Law School at Reading in 2007 after teaching at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, for several years. His research interests lie primarily in the legal regulation of speech, especially as it relates to the media. He is particularly interested in defamation and in racial & religious hate speech, including comparative and historical aspects of these fields. He also researches aspects of sport and law. He is the author of Reputation and Defamation (OUP 2007) which develops a theory of reputation and, in that light, analyses and proposes revisions to the common law tests for what is defamatory. The book was shortlisted for the 2008 Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship.  From 2009-12 Lawrence holds an ESRC/AHRC Fellowship in Ideas and Beliefs. This £309,000 award supports ' Law, Terrorism and the Right to Know', a programme of research that explores how democratic traditions of media freedom can best be balanced against contemporary demands of national and international security. 

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