Professor Julia Rowena Tolmie

LLB (Hons), The University of Auckland; LLM, The University of Harvard. Admitted as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand and a solicitor in NSW, Australia.

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Professor Julia Tolmie currently teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Law and Policy and Women and the Law at The University of Auckland. Prior to her appointment at the University of Auckland in 1999 she lectured in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney for ten years.

Professor Tolmie researches in criminal law, family law and feminist legal jurisprudence. A theme throughout her research has been how the law understands, constructs and responds to precarity - particularly in the lives of women.

She served as chair of the New Zealand Family Violence Death Review Committee from December 2011-2016, deputy chair in 2017, and as a member of the New Zealand Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Family Violence in 2013. She was the academic member of the District Court Judges Education Committee in 2015-2017. She was the inaugural Shirley Greenberg International Visiting Scholar at The University of Ottawa in 2016 and a distinguished visiting scholar with the Gender and Family Violence Research Program at the University of Monash in 2018. She served on the expert panel for several references of the New Zealand Law Commission in 2015 and has provided peer review on multiple reports for government and non-government organisations on matters relating to criminal law and family violence over the years. She was the editor of the Law School’s alumni magazine – Eden Crescent – from 2003 to 2014 and has served on the editorial board of the Sydney Law Review and Current Issues in Criminal Justice.

Professor Julia Tolmie also has an interest in the fine arts and a practice as a painter and sculptor. Although she is New Zealand born of English/Scottish heritage, her extended family closely links her to the beautiful island of Samoa.

Research | Current


Teaching | Current

At The University of Auckland: Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Law, Criminal Law and Policy, Women and the Law, and Intellectual Property.


At The University of Sydney: Criminal Law, Company Law, Evidence, Criminology and Family Law.

Areas of expertise

Professor Julia Tolmie’s main research interests are in criminal law, family law and women and the law. Particular research topics within these general areas have included: the defence of battered women on homicide charges, party liability, the criminal defences of intoxication, provocation and self-defence, the criminal duty to protect, the concealment of birth, care and contact arrangements in the context of family law, police negligence in family violence cases and civil action, fathers rights groups in Australia, and corporate social responsibility.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Tolmie, J. R. (2018). Coercive control: To criminalize or not to criminalize?. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 18 (1), 50-66. 10.1177/1748895817746712
  • Tolmie, J. (2018). Considering Victim Safety When Sentencing Intimate Partner Violence Offenders. In K. Fitz-Gibbon, S. Walklate, J. Maher, J. McCulloch (Eds.) Intimate Partner Violence, Risk and Security: Securing Women's Lives in a Global World (pp. 199-215). Routledge.
  • Tolmie, J., Smith, R., Short, J., Wilson, D., & Sach, J. (2018). Social Entrapment: A Realistic Understanding of the Criminal Offending of Primary Victims of Intimate Partner Violence. New Zealand Law Review, 2018 (2), 181-217. Related URL.
  • Quince, K., & Tolmie, J. (2017). Police v Kawiti. In E. McDonald, R. Powell, M. Stephens, R. Hunter (Eds.) Feminist judgments of Aotearoa New Zealand: Te Rino, a two-stranded rope (pp. 489-496). Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing. Related URL.
  • Wilson, D., Smith, R., Tolmie, J., & de Haan, I. (2015). Becoming better helpers: Rethinking language to move beyond simplistic responses to women experiencing intimate partner violence. Policy Quarterly, 11 (1), 25-31.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Irene De Haan
  • Tolmie, J. (2014). Uncertainty and potential overreach in the New Zealand common purpose doctrine. New Zealand Universities Law Review, 26 (2), 441-469.
  • Sheehy, E., Stubbs, J., & Tolmie, J. (2014). Securing fair outcomes for battered women charged with homicide: Analysing defence lawyering in R. v. Falls. Melbourne University Law Review, 38 (2), 666-708.
  • Sheehy, E., Stubbs, J., & Tolmie, J. R. (2012). Defences to Homicide for Battered Women: A comparative analysis of laws in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Sydney Law Review, 34 (3), 467-492. Related URL.

Contact details

Primary office location

1-11 SHORT STREET - Bldg 810
Level 7, Room 701
New Zealand