Meet our research team

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

Professor Nigel 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 McDonald, Principal Researcher

Hugh joined the Foundation in September 2019 as Principal Researcher and will lead our evaluation work.

For over fifteen years, Hugh has been a senior researcher at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, where he worked on critical projects in access to justice, legal needs and service evaluation.

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 issues throughout Australia.

Cosima McRae, Senior Researcher

Cosima joined the VLF in July 2019 as Senior Researcher in the research team.

Cosi has worked on gender equality and access to justice projects in both academia and the public sector.

She has extensive experience looking at the law through the lens of human rights, particularly gender equality, LGBTIQ rights and Indigenous sovereignty. Most recently Cosi worked on the Independent Review into Victoria Police at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

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 will work across all research activity, and will have 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