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Personal profile


Kate is a practising solicitor, Associate Professor in Law and the Academic Director of the Springvale Monash Legal Service. She was an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow from 2016-2019. Kate has a multidisciplinary background (sociology, gender studies and the law). Her research is socio-legal and empirical in nature and typically explores connections between law, health, gender and the body. Her particular interests are in the sociology of law and the ethics of legal practice, the intersections between harm reduction and the law, and alcohol, other drugs and the law. Before commencing with Monash University, Kate was a Research Fellow in the Social Studies of Addiction Concepts program at the National Drug Research Institute (where she retains an adjunct role). 

Successful grants

Kate is the recipient of numerous competitive grants and tenders. Recent examples include:
  • Addiction in the Australian legal system: A sociological analysis - Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship ($323,000) (2016-2018) (Ref: DE160100134) 


  • Understanding performance and image enhancing drug injecting in Australia (with Prof Suzanne Fraser and Prof David Moore) - Australian Research Council Discovery Project ($472,500) (2017-2019) (Ref: DP170100302)


  • Reducing stigma and discrimination for people experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use (with Prof Alison Ritter and Dr Kari Lancaster) - Queensland Mental Health Commission ($150,000) (2016-2017)


  • Knowledges of 'intoxication' and Australian criminal law: Implications for addressing alcohol and other drug-related harms and risks (with A/Prof Julia Quilter, Prof Luke McNamara and Prof Robin Room) - Australian Institute of Criminology ($70,000) (2015)


  • Intervention, prevention and punishment: Authenticity and capacity in mandated treatment (with Dr Claire Spivakovsky, Dr Adrian Carter and Prof Wayne Hall) - Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia ($9,000) (2016) 
Research Profile
Kate is particularly interested in the ethical aspects and implications of particular approaches to representing vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalised populations. Her work also explores the connections between law, legal practise and stigma. Much of Kate's work examines how different legal strategies and approaches - including the use of language - may operate to stigmatise people who use drugs, as well as the opportunities for reducing stigma through more sensitive and client-oriented models of practice. Kate brings these concerns and passions to her work as a clinical supervisor in the Faculty's program of clinical legal education. Kate is the author of four books, numerous articles and technical reports, and has been invited to provide advice on drug law reform to Australian governments and organisations across Australia, as well as in Canada.
Awards and prizes
Kate is a two-time winner (2018 and 2016) of the Faculty of Law's Dean's Award for Research Impact (Economic and Social). On both occasions, she was recognised for her role in directly shaping reform of Australian drug laws. In both years, she was shortlisted for the Vice Chancellor's (university-wide) award for Research Impact (Economic and Social). 
In 2015, she was the recipient of the Faculty of Law's Early Career Researcher of the year award, and was shortlisted for the Vice Chancellor's (university-wide) award for Early Career Researcher of the year. She is the recipient of several other awards and prizes, including teaching awards and commendations. Kate has also been funded and commissioned to produce research by various organisations, including government departments.
In the media 
Kate is a regular media commentator. In her spare time, she is one-sixth of the multi award-winning Outer Sanctum Podcast, a pioneering all-female podcast that explores the social, cultural, legal and political aspects of sport. You can read more about the vital role the podcast played in exposing the links between violence towards women and language in the Eddie McGuire/Caroline Wilson saga here:
In 2018, the podcast won the Australian Football Media Association Award for "best coverage of the AFLW". In 2019, they won the Sport Australia award for "best depiction of inclusive sport". Sport Australia is Australia's primary national sports administration and advisory agency of the Australian government. It plays a central leadership role in the development and operation of the Australian sports system.
Supervision of Higher Degree by Research students
Kate is open to inquiries from students who may be contemplating higher degree research, including students interested in:
  • socio-legal research
  • empirical legal research
  • clinical legal education
  • alcohol, other drugs and the law
  • harm reduction and the law
  • stigma and the law
  • feminism and the law
She is currently supervising students undertaking a range of research projects including ones focussing on: concepts of addiction in the criminal law; alternative dispute resolution and clinical legal education in Australia; clinical legal education and wellbeing; Australian drug courts; and stigma and health care for people who use drugs.

Monash teaching commitment

4328 Professional Practice

Research interests

Alcohol and other drugs, addiction and the law, harm reduction, drugs and sport, gender and the law, feminist theory, empirical legal research.

Clinical activities

Kate is the Academic Director of the Springvale Monash Legal Service, Australia's largest clinic site.

External positions

Adjunct, National Drug Research Institute

1 Aug 2014 → …

Research area keywords

  • Addiction
  • alcohol
  • drugs and the law
  • Drugs in sport
  • Gender and the law
  • Law and Social Change
  • Law and Society
  • Legal education/Practical legal training
  • Harm reduction

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2008 2020

Research Output 2007 2020

Law, Drugs and the Making of Addiction

Seear, K., 2020, 1st ed. Abingdon UK: Routledge. 182 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

A ‘messenger of sex’? Making testosterone matter in motivations for anabolic-androgenic steroid injecting

Fomiatti, R., Latham, J. R., Fraser, S., Moore, D., Seear, K. & Aitken, C., 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Health Sociology Review. 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Criminal Justice Responses Relating to Personal Use and Possession of Illicit Drugs: the Reach of Australian Drug Diversion Programs and Barriers and Facilitators to Expansion

Hughes, C., Seear, K., Ritter, A. & Mazerolle, L., May 2019, Sydney NSW Australia: National Drug and Alcohol Reseach Center, University of NSW. 99 p. (Drug Policy Modelling Program Monograph Series)

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned ReportResearch

Open Access

Dignity during work-integrated learning: what does it mean for supervisors and students?

King, O., Davis, C., Clemans, A., Coles, J., Crampton, P., Jacobs, N., McKeown, T., Morphet, J., Seear, K. & Rees, C., 14 Aug 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Studies in Higher Education. 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Do law clinics need trigger warnings? Philosophical pedagogical and practical concerns

Seear, K. L., 2019, In : Legal Education Review. 29, 1, 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access


Dean's Award for Excellence in Research Impact (Economic and Social)

Kate Seear (Recipient), 13 Aug 2019

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Dean's Award for Excellence in Research Impact (Economic and Social)

Kate Seear (Recipient), 12 Jun 2018

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Dean's Award for Excellence in Research Impact (Economic and Social)

Kate Seear (Recipient), 26 Jul 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2013 2019

  • 2 Submissions to industry or govt committees, commissions and inquiries
  • 2 Membership of an advisory panel/policy group/ board
  • 1 Contribution to conference
  • 1 Public event

Brain Control: The Impact of Neuroscience on Law and Privacy

Jamie Walvisch (Producer), Adrian Carter (Producer), Kate Seear (Producer)
4 Dec 2019

Activity: Community Talks, Presentations, Exhibitions and EventsPublic event

Neuroscience and Society 2019

Jamie Walvisch (Organiser), Adrian Carter (Organiser), Kate Seear (Organiser)
3 Dec 20194 Dec 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference

Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association (External organisation)

Kate Seear (Member)
1 Jan 2014

Activity: Industry, Government and Philanthropy Engagement and PartnershipsMembership of an advisory panel/policy group/ board

Member - Clinical Advisory Board, Monash Faculty of Law

Kate Seear (Member)
29 Aug 2014

Activity: External Academic EngagementSubmissions to industry or govt committees, commissions and inquiries

Adjunct Research Fellow - National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University

Kate Seear (Member)
4 Aug 2014

Activity: External Academic EngagementSubmissions to industry or govt committees, commissions and inquiries