Kate Seear

Assoc Professor

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Personal profile


Kate is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2016-2019), practising solicitor, Associate Professor in Law and the Academic Director of the Springvale Monash Legal Service, Australia's largest clinical site. 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 three books, numerous articles and technical reports.
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 Outer Sanctum Podcast, a pioneering all-female podcast that explore the social, cultural 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:
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 research into: clinical legal education in Australia, Australian drug courts, compulsory drug detention in China, the regulation of raw milk and child abuse in Australia.

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 → …


  • 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 2018

Authentic advice for authentic problems? Legal information in Australian classroom drug education

Farrugia, A., Seear, K. & Fraser, S. 2018 In : Addiction Research and Theory. 26, 3, p. 193-204 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Emergent publics of alcohol and other drug policymaking

Fraser, S., Valentine, K. & Seear, K. 2018 In : Critical Policy Studies. 12, 1, p. 61-81 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Euthanasia for what? Attending to the role of stigma in addiction-related ‘intractable suffering’ and ‘incurability’

Seear, K. & Fraser, S. 1 Jul 2018 In : Addiction. 113, 7, p. 1181-1182 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / Debate

'Intoxication' and Australian Criminal Law: Implications for Addressing Alcohol and Other Drug-Related Harms and Risks

Quilter, J., McNamara, L., Seear, K. & Room, R. May 2018 Canberra ACT Australia: Criminology Research Advisory Council. 96 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report

Open Access

The significance of 'intoxication' in Australian criminal law

Quilter, J., Luke, M., Seear, K. & Room, R. May 2018 In : Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice. 546, p. 1-16 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Activities 2013 2014

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

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

Seear, K. L. (Member)
1 Jan 2014

Activity: Membership of an advisory panel/policy group/ board

Member - Clinical Advisory Board, Monash Faculty of Law

Seear, K. L. (Member)
29 Aug 2014

Activity: Submissions to industry or govt committees, commissions and inquiries

Adjunct Research Fellow - National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University

Seear, K. L. (Member)
4 Aug 2014

Activity: Submissions to industry or govt committees, commissions and inquiries

Asia-Pacific Science, Technology and Society Network (External organisation)

Seear, K. L. (Member)
2 Sep 2013

Activity: Membership of an advisory panel/policy group/ board