Dr Bruce Chen



Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Faculty of Business and Law


BL Deakin Law School


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University, 2020
Master of Laws ( International and Comparative Law), Monash University, 2013


+61 3 924 45945


Bruce Chen is a Senior Lecturer in Deakin Law School.  

Bruce's research and teaching interests are in human rIghts law, public law, and statutory interpretation.

He obtained a PhD from Monash University, researching statutory interpretation using common law rights and freedoms and human rights. 

Bruce has previously worked in several senior legal and legal policy advisory positions within the Victorian public service.  He is passionate about working in government as a potential career pathway for students and new lawyers.

Bruce has worked in the following government roles:

  • Principal Legal Policy Officer, and later Acting Manager, Human Rights Unit, Department of Justice and Community Safety
  • Senior Legal Adviser, Legal Unit, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC)
  • Senior Solicitor, Government and Public Law Branch, Victorian Government Solicitor's Office (VGSO)
  • Solicitor assisting General Counsel, VGSO
  • VGSO team supervisor and advocate, Child Protection Litigation Office, Department of Human Services (secondment)

Bruce had a broad practice base in human rights, particularly the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) (the Charter), public law and statutory interpretation.  He provided advice to the Attorney-General for Victoria, Secretaries to Departments, Commissioners and other public servants.  Bruce was co-coordinator of the Victorian Public Sector Human Rights Network, hosted by VEOHRC.

Prior to this, Bruce was a judge's associate in the Supreme Court of Victoria and to past President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Honourable Justice Kevin Bell AM QC.  He worked with his Honour on a number of early precedential cases on the Charter and across a range of matters (residential tenancies, mental health, anti-discrimination, planning and environment, and FOI).

Bruce has previously taught at La Trobe Law School as a seminar leader/tutor, in a education project team nominated as a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission's Government Award 2018, and as a volunteer tutor for AMES Australia.

Bruce has extensive experience presenting on human rights law and public law, and has provided media commentary on such issues.

Read more on Bruce's profile

Research interests

  • Human Rights Law, particularly bills of rights, civil and political rights
  • Public Law
  • Statutory Interpretation


  • Member, Law Institute of Victoria, Human Rights Committee
  • Member, Law Institute of Victoria
  • Member, Australian Institute of Administrative Law
  • Member, International Society of Public Law (Australia and New Zealand chapter)
  • Member, Human Rights Teachers' Network

Teaching interests

  • Human Rights Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Statutory Interpretation
  • Constitutional Law

Units taught

  • MLL424 - Administrative Law
  • MLL323 - Constitutional Law
  • MLJ701 - Legal Method and Statutory Interpretation

Media appearances

  • Bruce Chen, 'Our Human Rights Still Remain', Herald Sun (Melbourne), 17 September 2020
  • Nicola Berkovic, ‘Civil Liberties have been put at Risk’, The Australian (Sydney), 26 August 2020 (interviewed)
  • Bruce Chen, ‘Andrews is Walking a Fine Line with Victorians’ Trust by Moving to Extend the State of Emergency’, Herald Sun (Melbourne), 25 August 2020
  • Bruce Chen, 'Masks are Fit for Purpose', Herald Sun (Melbourne), 11 August 2020
  • Bruce Chen, ‘Premier to be applauded for pursuing Human Rights Act’, The Courier Mail (Brisbane), 2 November 2016
  • Bruce Chen, ‘The Principle of Legality and Section 32(1) of the Charter: Same Same or Different?’ on AUSPUBLAW (26 October 2016) <https://auspublaw.org/2016/10/same-same-or-different/>


  • Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2021-22)
  • Winner, Emeritus Professor HP Lee Students' Publication Prize, Monash University (2019)
  • Team member, Charter Education Project, shortlisted finalist for Australian Human Rights Commission's Government Award (2018)
  • Runner up, Emeritus Professor HP Lee Students' Publication Prize, Monash University (2016)
  • Australian Postgraduate Award (2016-17)