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Meet our research team

Victoria Law Foundation's highly-skilled research team have many years of experience in legal research.

Professor Nigel J. Balmer, Research Director

Nigel joined the VLF in December 2018 as its inaugural Research Director. He has been conducting empirical research for over twenty years and is expert in the application of social science and modern quantitative methods to explore how the public understand and interact with the law.

Nigel’s research includes work on the role of law in everyday life; attitudes to justice; public experience of and response to legal issues; the interaction between legal and health problems; and design of legal services and legal aid. He is best known for his work on legal need surveys around the world, including recent guidance supporting global access to justice initiatives under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.

Nigel is also Professor of Law and Social Statistics at University College London.

Dr Hugh M. McDonald, Principal Researcher

Hugh joined the Foundation in September 2019 as Principal Researcher.

He previously worked at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, on several landmark access to justice and legal need projects.

Throughout his career, he has worked closely with legal aid commissions, community legal centres, state and federal governments, giving him a deep understanding of legal institutions and access to justice issues throughout Australia.

Dr Jozica Kutin, Senior Researcher

Jozica joined the Foundation in August 2020 as Senior Researcher.

Jozica completed her PhD in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT and has a Masters in Forensic Psychology from Monash University. Her research focusses on (preventing) economic abuse in young adult relationships, and development of relationship-based financial capabilities and financial wellbeing.

Jozica has worked across industry and community organisations developing or evaluating financial abuse and financial capability resources. Drawing on her background in forensic psychology she has worked in asthma epidemiology, prisons, forensic psychiatry, and drug and alcohol services. Jozica’s work at the Foundation will utilise her experience in financial and legal capability.

Tenielle Hagland, Research Coordinator

Tenielle joined the Foundation in 2015 and has a strong background in the community legal world. She has coordinated our work with the profession on improving communication through our plain language and Better Information programs as well as providing plain language workshops to law students.

As Research Coordinator, she works across all research activity, and has a lead role in the development of the Research Network.

Clare Kennedy, Research Communications

Clare joined the VLF in January 2017 as the Foundation’s legal writer and editor, managing the Foundation’s publications and producing legal content.

Clare joins the research team as a communications and content specialist. She brings a legal background, and extensive content and production experience to the role.

Contact our research team