Dr Benjamin Hayward has had a long association with Deakin, first as a student and then as a lecturer. He received the Deakin Young Alumni of the Year Award for outstanding service and achievement in 2011, which recognised his commitment to research and teaching in the School of Law.
Career path and highlights
Before joining Deakin as a lecturer, Dr Hayward worked at a prominent Melbourne law firm. His research on international commercial law has been published in leading Australian and international journals. He teaches a number of undergraduate and postgraduate units at Deakin, and completed his PhD in the area of international commercial arbitration in 2015.
Dr Hayward took part in an international legal research collaborative project run by the prestigious Vis Moot Alumni Association, and achieved excellent results in Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moots in Hong Kong and Vienna. He was a speaker at the MAA Peter Schlechtriem CISG Conference in Hong Kong in 2014, and Global and Regional Trends and Perspectives for the Philippines in Manila in 2013.
Q&A with Benjamin Hayward
What were some of the memorable experiences you had at Deakin?
Being a student in the Deakin Law School taught me a number of things, which still stick with me today. First and foremost, the importance of attention to detail. My lecturers were instrumental in helping me to understand that in the law, detail matters - even details that might seem extremely small at first blush - and I carry that attention to detail through into my own teaching and research work today. My study at Deakin taught me to appreciate that there is so much variability in the law, both as to differences between the disciplines of law, and differences in the environments in which law students might end up working. And it taught me the importance of personal networks - many of my former classmates are now my contemporaries, and I really enjoy keeping up to date with their work and achievements.
Did you learn anything from your Deakin studies to take directly to the workforce?
I took my experiences as a participant in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (the ‘Vis Moot’), as an undergraduate student, directly into the workforce in three ways. First, it taught me how to think like a lawyer – to critically engage with evidence, and with a complicated body of laws and rules, and to identify arguments and counter-arguments that would form the basis of putting forward a client’s case (or giving advice). Secondly, it led to me taking on the role of Vis Moot Coach for the Deakin Law School, when joining the School as a member of academic staff. And thirdly, it exposed me to three areas of the law – private international law, the international sale of goods, and international commercial arbitration – that have now become areas of focus for my academic research. All three areas feature in my recently-published (January 2017) book with Oxford University Press, Conflict of Laws and Arbitral Discretion – The Closest Connection Test.
What are your career highlights?
Establishing a track record of research publications as a member of academic staff at the Deakin Law School, in particular, publishing Conflict of Laws and Arbitral Discretion – The Closest Connection Test with Oxford University Press in January 2017. This has also included publishing in a range of prestigious national and international journals. Another highlight would be coaching the Deakin Law School’s Vis Moot teams to a grand final appearance in Hong Kong in 2010, and then to win the Vienna rounds in 2014. Being able to present on areas of my research expertise within Australia, and internationally, including at the Sixth Annual MAA Peter Schlechtriem CISG Conference (themed ‘Growing the CISG’) in Hong Kong, and at the Workshop on UNCITRAL Texts (themed ‘Global and Regional Trends, and Perspectives for the Philippines’) in Manila. Finally, contributing to the legal education of thousands of Deakin Law School students over the time that I have worked with the School.
Can you give any advice to our current students?
The most important piece of advice I could give to current Deakin students – within the Deakin Law School or otherwise – is to fully commit to your studies, to work hard, and to avoid taking shortcuts. There is a lot to gain from a university education, and that does include learning outside of the classroom as well as inside the classroom – but you take from your studies what you put into them. Make the most of the opportunity – and you’ll be glad that you did after you are done!