Personal profile


Esther Erlings is a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie Law School and a member of two Macquarie consilience centres; Lifespan Health and Wellbeing, and Smart Green Cities.

Esther’s research concentrates on family and health law, human rights (especially of children, older people, and minorities) and tort law (mostly within institutional contexts), with the occasional outing to aspects of trade law. She is particularly interested in decision-making ability, expressed as both internal ability (capacity or competence), and external ability. The latter includes, for example, access to decision-making under substitute decision-making regimes like parental responsibility or adult guardianship, as well as access to dispute resolution processes such as courts or mediation.

At present, Esther is working on direct parent-child mediation, restrictive practices/deprivation of liberty of persons under guardianship in (aged) care facilities, and child-friendly cities.

Esther sits on the Management Committee of the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ), is the book review editor for the Journal of Law, Religion and State, and holds membership of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), Asian Law and Society Association (ALSA - lifetime member) and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

Prior to joining Macquarie, Esther worked at Flinders University (South Australia) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


As this profile page is still under construction and research information unavailable, please find below a selection of projects and publications.


  • Blue and Green with Warming Stripes: Experiences of Sustainable Child Friendly Cities in the Greater Sydney Area (Smart Green Cities). Together with Prof Maria Kangas and A/Prof Paul Beggs.
  • Mandatory Voluntary Assisted Dying Training for Doctors (Tender, Department for Health and Wellbeing, SA). Together with Dr Caroline Phelan (Project lead), Dr Deirdre Morgan, Dr Koshila Kumar, Dr Michael Zhou and A/Prof Grant Davies.
  • ‘To Detain… A Protected Person’: Understanding and Addressing the Implications of The Public Advocate v C, B for the South Australian Legal System and Care Providers (The Law Foundation of South Australia Inc.). Together with A/Prof Laura Grenfell.
  • But Can They “Participate Effectively”? – A Qualitative Study of Children’s Competence Determinations in Parent-Child Mediation (Flinders University).


  • Religious Rights within the Family: From Coerced Manifestation to Dispute Resolution in France, England and Hong Kong (Routledge UK, 2019 (online); 2020 (hardback); 2021 (paperback))


  • Prosit to Prosecco! On Sparkling Wine and Geographical Indications (2023) 48(3) Monash University Law Review. Co-authored with Jessica Pater.
  • Hong Kong Boarding School Applications, High Conflict Divorce and Strategic Diversion: Is ‘Sending Child J Abroad’ the Solution? (2022) 34(1) Child and Family Law Quarterly 61-80.
  • Disentangling the Laws of Consent, Guardianship and Restrictive Practices (2022) 44(2) The Bulletin 22-25. Co-authored with Laura Grenfell.
  • False Imprisonment in Locked Wards: The Public Advocate v C, B [2019] SASCFC 58 (2019) 21(2) Flinders Law Journal 109-120.
  • Don’t Ask, Do(n’t) Tell: Homeschooling in Hong Kong. Asian Journal of Law and Society (2019) 6(2) Asian Journal of Law and Society 307-319.
  • Is Anything Left of Children’s Rights? - How Parental Responsibility Erodes Children’s Rights under English Law (2016) 24(3) The International Journal of Children’s Rights 624-656.
  • A City Fit for Children: Mapping and Analysis of Child Friendly Cities Initiatives (2016) CUHK Centre for Rights and Justice Occasional Paper Series, Paper No. 5, 1-60. Co-authored with Loretta Chan, Suguru Mizunoya and Htet Thiha Zaw.
  • ‘The Government Did Not Refer to It’: SAS v France and Ordre Public at the European Court of Human Rights (2015) 16(2) Melbourne Journal of International Law 587-608.



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