Associate Professor Kelley Burton - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Associate Professor Kelley Burton

PhD S.Qld., LLM Qld.UT, GradDipLegalPrac Qld.UT, BBus(Accy)(with Distinction)/LLB(Hons) Qld.UT, Admitted to the legal profession as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2004

  • Associate Professor in Law
+61 7 5456 5259
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Associate Professor Kelley Burton

Associate Professor Kelley Burton joined the School of Law and Criminology in January 2015 and previously worked at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Faculty of Law (2000–2014). Kelley's key areas of expertise are criminal law and evidence.

Kelley was awarded with a prestigious 2017 Australian Award for University Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning valued at $10,000. Kelley has demonstrated leadership in designing innovative resources that demonstrate a strong command of criminal law education and fulfil the future needs of budding lawyers.

Kelley is a member of various university and faculty decision-making bodies including the USC Academic Board; the USC Learning and Teaching Committee.

Kelley has more than 70 publications pertaining to legal education and criminal law including 25 peer reviewed journal articles; book chapters, international and national conference papers; submissions to law reform commissions; books; and book reviews.

Kelley's research has contributed to law reform in Queensland, for example, amendments to the Criminal Code (Qld) in the areas of double jeopardy, accident and provocation; and the introduction of new offences in Criminal Code (Qld) relating to visual recordings.

In 2016, Kelley's 2004 journal article on double jeopardy and her 2015 collaborative submission (co-authors were first year USC law students) to the Australian Law Reform Commission was cited by the Australian Law Reform Commission. Traditional Rights and Freedoms – Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws, Report No. 129 (2016), chapter 8, Fair Trial.

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

  • Kelley Burton, Thomas Crofts and Stella Tarrant, Principles of Criminal Law in Queensland and Western Australia (Thomson Reuters, 2nd ed, 2016)
  • Kelley Burton, LexisNexis Questions and Answers: Criminal Law in Queensland and Western Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed, 2015).
  • Thomas Crofts and Kelley Burton, The Criminal Codes: Commentary and Materials (Thomson Reuters, 6th ed, 2009).

More than 15,000 new copies of Kelley's books have been sold to date, with further dissemination via the large marketing in second-hand student texts, and their inclusion in library collections.

Before becoming a full-time academic, Kelley worked at the Australian Taxation Office, where she specialised in taxation law and privacy laws. She also worked in private practice for large and small 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.


Kelley has won approximately 20 awards for learning and teaching. The three most recent awards are:

  • 2017 Australian Award for University Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
  • 2016 USC Advancing Quality Teaching Award
  • 2015 One of the Top 10 Most Downloaded Journal Articles on the 10 Year Anniversary of the Journal of Learning Design2014 CCH-ALTA Best Legal Education Conference Paper
  • 2014 CCH-Australasian Law Teachers Association Best Legal Education Conference Paper

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

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

Research areas

  • criminalisation
  • criminal law reform
  • evidence
  • legal education
  • authentic assessment
  • assessing reflective practice
  • criterion-referenced assessment
  • assessing critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills

Teaching areas

  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Evidence

Associate Professor Kelley Burton’s specialist areas of knowledge include criminal law, evidence and legal education.

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