Philip Lionel Sharp Memorial Prize : Students : The University of Western Australia


Philip Lionel Sharp Memorial Prize

Further Information

W/Prof Peter Handford
Winthrop Professor


Telephone: 6488 2958


The Philip Lionel Sharp Memorial Prize in Law was established in memory of the late Philip Lionel Sharp QC, a distinguished Perth practitioner who specialized in personal injury actions. The prize consists of the annual income of the prize fund after capitalization in accordance with Senate policy. The value of the prize in 2014 was $1,345.  Under the prize conditions, the Selection Committee may decide not to award the prize in a particular year if there is no entry of sufficient merit.

The prize is open to students enrolled in the University of Western Australia for the degree of Bachelor of Laws, and those who have completed the requirements for that degree within the previous 12 months.

The prize for 2016 will be awarded for an essay on the following topic:

Australian law requires that in order for liability to exist for negligently caused mental harm the plaintiff must be able to show that he or she has suffered a recognised psychiatric illness. Is this a rational requirement? Argue the case either FOR or AGAINST the extension of the law to recognise liability for all forms of negligently caused emotional distress.

Essays must be submitted to the Law School Support Office by 5 pm on Wednesday 31 August 2016. The essay should be marked for the attention of Winthrop Professor P R Handford.

This topic is one of the essay topics set for Advanced Torts Law in 2016. Students submitting an answer on this topic for assessment in that unit must comply with the rules governing essays in that unit (see the document on the unit website on LMS), including submitting the essay by 12.00 midday on Friday 3 June 2016. Students will have their essays marked by the end of June, and may if they wish submit a revised version of the essay as an entry for the prize. Students who are writing the essay for the purpose of the prize alone may submit a draft essay to Professor Handford by Friday 3 June 2016, and the essay will be returned with comments.

Students thinking of submitting an entry for this prize are encouraged to consider the possibility of enrolling in the unit Supervised Research 1 in 2016 and, expanding their essay into a dissertation which complies with the requirements for this unit (an 8,000 word dissertation on a topic approved and supervised by an academic staff member of the Law School, to be submitted on the last day of the semester of enrolment or such other date as the Dean may decide).

Application of law school policies

The Law School policy on academic dishonesty and other policies set out on the Law School website apply to this essay. Students should ensure they are familiar with the details of these policies.

Requirements as to length, format and style

The essay must comply with the requirements as to style, length and formatting set out below.

The essay should adopt the usual formalities of formal legal writing and should include appropriate headings, footnotes and a bibliography. The bibliography should list books, journal articles and other secondary sources relied on, but should not include cases or statutes.

Students should note and follow the Law School’s policy on the use of inclusive language (see the Law School website).

Importance will be attached to consistency in referencing style. The style rules set out in the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University, 3rd ed 2010), or any earlier edition of this publication, are an appropriate model.

The essay may be less than but must not exceed 9 pages in length (including footnotes but excluding the bibliography)

The essay must:

  • be legibly and clearly typewritten or printed;
  • be on A4 paper;
  • be on one side of the paper only, with margins of 2.5cms on the left and right hand sides, and at the top and bottom, of each sheet;
  • the text must be printed or typed in type-face not smaller than 12-point Times New Roman, with normal character spacing, and in 1.5 spacing;
  • the footnotes can be in type not smaller than 10-point, and can be in single spacing.

Entrants should state their name, student number and contact details on the title page.