Ben is a Lecturer in Law at The University of Sydney, a J.S.D. candidate at Columbia Law School, and a Ph.D. (Economics) candidate at The Australian National University (ANU). His research interests are in the areas of trusts and estates, contracts, restitution and unjust enrichment, conflict of laws, game theory, and behavioral law and economics.
Before coming to Columbia, Ben served as judicial clerk to Justice G.C. Lindsay of the Supreme Court of New South Wales while on leave from undergraduate studies (2012-13). He had also worked as a judicial clerk at the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory (2013-14), a sessional academic at the ANU (2014-16) and an advisor at the Australian Prime Minister’s department (2015).
Ben completed the LL.M. at Columbia (2015-16) and undergraduate degrees at the ANU (2008-13). He specialized in mathematical economics, civil procedure and commercial law.
Ben is a loyal member of the Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History. He has published in legal history and helped organize legal history tutorials for members and friends of the Society.
Project Working Title: “Mental Capacity in Private Law”
As baby boomers in major common law jurisdictions enter retirement with a higher life expectancy and more wealth than any generation before them, courts and legislatures are increasingly pressed to resolve complex disputes over the properties of elderly people. Empirical research consistently reveals widespread financial abuse against the elderly, both by their family members and by strangers. Mental and physical decline can make it difficult or impractical for an elderly person to safeguard her own financial interests. While her family members and friends may provide assistance, they also may be swayed by their own expectations for their inheritance. At the same time, disability rights activists and law reformers seek to modernise traditional protective institutions with the stated purposes of promoting autonomy, reducing paternalism and preventing discrimination. How best to balance the demands of autonomy and dignity on the one hand, and protection and safeguarding on the other hand, is now squarely in issue. The time is ripe for an analysis of those protective institutions that are deeply ingrained in private law, especially in contract law, fiduciary law, and the law of restitution and unjust enrichment. Using behavioral-economic and historical approaches, this dissertation undertakes that analysis.
Updated July 5, 2018