Professor Tamara Walsh has degrees in both Law and Social Work, and her interest is in social welfare law. Her research studies examine the impact of the law on vulnerable people including children and young people, people experiencing homelessness, people on low incomes, people with disabilities, mothers and carers. Most of her studies are sociolegal and empirical in nature, and she draws on human rights discourse and social exclusion theory to explore the influence that the law has on complex social problems. Her research has spanned 15 years and has been widely published, both in Australia and internationally.
In 2008, Tamara designed and established the UQ Pro Bono Centre, along with Dr Paul O'Shea and Prof Ross Grantham. The UQ Pro Bono Centre facilitates student and staff participation in pro bono legal activities, particularly public interest research and law reform. It is now a flagship program of the Law School. In 2010, Tamara established the Manning Street Project, a joint initiative between the TC Beirne School of Law and Caxton Legal Centre, which engages students in action-research on a volunteer basis to contribute to the law reform activities of the community legal sector.
In 2016, Tamara established the UQ Deaths in Custody Project, which she runs in partnership with a team of pro bono law students and IT staff. This Project monitors deaths in custody across Australia, and administers a public website which is an important resource for researchers, coroners and members of the public: www.deaths-in-custody.project.uq.edu.au.
Tamara is currently the lead researcher of the ARC Linkage project 'The criminalisation of poverty and homelessness: A national study' (2017-2019). She is also completing a project on the impacts of the child protection and youth justice systems on vulnerable young people, and she has been instrumental in the proposed establishment of a Community Justice Centre in southeast Queensland.
Tamara undertakes pro bono legal practice in the area of child protection, and she lectures in human rights law and constitutional law.