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"Professor Hepburn uses the historical development of equity and trusts in the correct manner".

Professor Samantha Hepburn of the Deakin Law School (DLS) has received high commendation for the latest edition of her book Principles of Equity and Trusts.

In a review by the Queensland Law Reporter, the recently-published 5th edition was noted as outstanding amongst a range of similar publications:

‘…Professor Hepburn uses the historical development of equity and trusts in the correct manner; that is to give shape and content to existing principle rather than set it up as some hitherto undiscovered doctrine which is inconsistent with modern pronouncements … The work of Professor Hepburn contains a readily comprehensible discussion of the historical origins of equitable doctrine and its relationship to the common law. This provides a useful background for the following discussion of the modern principles. The discussion of modern principle in this book is detailed (with “pin-point” referencing to all of the important modern authorities) and extremely well referenced and, yet, explained in relatively uncomplicated style.  No doubt this latter aspect arises from the fact that Professor Hepburn is an outstanding teacher and has honed her unique ability to convey complex principles in an orderly and understandable manner,’ states the review.

Prof. Hepburn teaches and researches in the area of property, land, mining, energy and environmental law and has strong research interest in unconventional gas regulation in Australia. Currently she is examining the regulatory development of carbon capture sequestration both in Australia and abroad.

With the first edition of the book coming out in 1997, the book aimed to be a text that could be utilised by both student and practitioner while also integrating academic analysis of evolving industry developments, says Prof Hepburn.

‘My motivation has been my strong love of equity jurisprudence and my desire to pass this enthusiasm on to a wider audience.’

The book’s foreword, by the Honourable Justice Geoffrey Nettle of the High Court of Australia, says: ‘Competence in equity requires an informed understanding of its origins and its consequent ethical quality, the subsequent course of its historical development and, resultantly, the extent of its capacity for flexibility.’

Prof. Hepburn says it was an honour to have Hon. Nettle’s contribution.

‘I am very pleased to think that the book might be employed to assist numerous students and practitioners in learning about the origins of the equity jurisdiction and its capabilities in the quest for broader justice.’

The review applauds Prof. Hepburn’s ‘readily comprehensible’ discussion of equitable doctrine and its relationship to common law – an aspect of the law that Prof. Hepburn says is crucial for law students and practitioners to understand.

‘Equity serves as the bridge between the world of strict law, precedent and legislation and is constantly progressing law because in the endless creative power of life no two fact situations are ever identical, only more or less similar,’ she explains.

Prof. Hepburn says that while she enjoys writing about an area of the law that she has taught and researched for many years it remains challenging.

‘Writing this type of text is demanding because each edition represents a significant progression of the former and demands analytical and research focus,’ she explains.  ‘But it’s important for academia to continue preparing high-quality student and practitioner texts as this is a crucial component of academic teaching, research and social contribution.’

2017 brings new projects and publications for Prof. Hepburn. In April, her extensive research article examining the public interest responsibilities of the state with respect to communities impacted by onshore resource development will be published in the Pace Environmental Law Journal (New York). 

‘I am also currently preparing the 4th edition of my Australian Property Law book with Lexis Nexis - which is a significant project – as well as finalising an article examining the digitalisation of real property law and the shift in cyberspace culture for the forthcoming themed UNSW Law Journal,’ she adds.

As a lecturer within the DLS, Prof. Hepburn says she appreciates the opportunity to share her knowledge with Deakin’s law students.

‘Teaching is both rewarding and demanding - and it is something that I take very seriously. It is an honour and a privilege to be in a position where I can assist and influence the progression of young and developing law students. I never take that for granted.’