Associate Professor Kelley Burton

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Associate Professor Kelley Burton


Teaching areas

  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Evidence

Research areas

  • Criminalisation
  • Criminal law reform
  • Comparative legal theory
  • Evidence
  • Legal education
  • Student engagement
  • Authentic assessment
  • Assessing reflective practice
  • Criterion-referenced assessment
  • Assessing skills


Associate Professor Kelley Burton joined the USC Law School in January 2015. She previously worked as an academic at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Faculty of Law (2000-2014), where she taught 11 undergraduate core law courses spanning across all year levels in the law degree. Her key areas of expertise are criminal law and evidence.

Kelley has numerous publications pertaining to legal education and criminal law including peer reviewed journal articles; book chapters; international and national conference papers; submissions to law reform commissions; text books; and book reviews.

Kelley was a Law Editor for the QUT Law and Justice Journal (2008-2012).

Kelley was the Australasian Law Teachers Association’s Criminal Law Interest Group Convenor (2008-2010).

In 2009, Kelley was the first student to complete a PhD in Law at the University of Southern Queensland. Her Phd thesis was entitled “A Principled Approach to Criminalisation: When Should Making and/or Distributing Visual Recordings be Criminalised?” takes a principled approach to examining the criminalisation of making and/or distributing visual recordings by exploring constructs of privacy, harm, morality, culpability, consent, punishment, social welfare and individual autonomy. This is a contemporary topic given the widespread use of digital cameras, mobile phone cameras, video cameras, web cams, the internet, email, the blogosphere, privacy concerns and shifts in modern culture.

Kelley was a Visiting Professor at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), in Canada, where she taught the course, Privacy and Criminal Law, which she designed around her cutting edge PhD research (2007).

Kelley is the author of three texts on criminal law, which have been designed to provide a thorough grounding on the fundamental principles of criminal law; provide criminal law students in Queensland and Western Australia with instant and worthwhile feedback on how to apply the criminal law to a problem-based questions; encourage critical thinking and drive curiousity about how the criminal law could be continuously improved. The citations of the texts are:

  • Kelley Burton, LexisNexis Questions and Answers: Criminal Law in Queensland and Western Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed, 2015).
  • Kelley Burton, Thomas Crofts and Stella Tarrant, Principles of Criminal Law in Queensland and Western Australia (Thomson Reuters, 2011).
  • Thomas Crofts and Kelley Burton, The Criminal Codes: Commentary and Materials (Thomson Reuters, 6th ed, 2009).

Before becoming a full-time academic, Kelley worked at the Australian Taxation Office, where she specialised in taxation law and privacy laws. In addition, she worked in private practice for large and small Brisbane-based law firms; drafted wills and enduring powers of attorney for the Queensland Public Trust Office; and assisted a barrister-at-law by conducting research and preparing for trial.

Professional memberships

  • Australasian Law Teachers Association (ALTA)
  • Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)
  • Sunshine Coast Law Association (SCLA)
  • Queensland Law Society (QLS)
  • Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR)


  • USC Advance Awards, 2016: AQT award for Advancing Quality Teaching. Awarded to teaching staff and teaching teams who engage students in a quality learning experience by applying rich and engaging teaching approaches that substantially improve students' learning experiences 
  • 2015 One of the Top 10 Most Downloaded Journal Articles on the 10 Year Anniversary of the Journal of Learning Design
  • 2014 CCH-ALTA Best Legal Education Conference Paper
  • 2010 QUT Vice-Chancellor’s Performance Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2009 QUT Faculty of Law Teaching and Learning Achievement Award
  • 2008 QUT Vice-Chancellor’s LEX Achievement Award for the LWB238 Fundamentals of Criminal Law teaching team
  • 2008 QUT Vice-Chancellor’s LEX Survey Achievement Award
  • 2006 QUT Faculty of Law Students’ Voice Award
  • 2005 Best Research Paper at the University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Postgraduate Law Research Colloquium
  • 2004 QUT Faculty of Law Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2003 QUT Faculty of Law Award for the Highest Graduating Grade Point Average in the Master of Laws by coursework
  • 2003 QUT Faculty of Law Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award
  • 2003 QUT Compassionate Pioneer Award
  • 2001 QUT Faculty of Law Achievement in Teaching (Casual Academics) Award

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

  • Criminalisation
  • Criminal law reform
  • Comparative criminal law
  • Evidence
  • Privacy
  • Legal education
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