Peta Spyrou

Dr Peta Spyrou


Adelaide Law School

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

I have an academic interest in research topics affecting structurally vulnerable members of society. I typically consider these issues from socio-legal perspectives and primarily focus on disability rights. This interest has led me to work with the South Australian Law Reform Institute on its supported decision making reference which commenced in March 2024. Further, my doctoral research, which was conferred in May 2023, explores how three equality bodies in Australia attempt to resolve the disability discrimination complaints of primary and secondary students with disability-related challenging behaviour. My interest and involvement in the disability community has been developed through my previous industry experience as a support worker.

I have teaching experience in compulsory and elective subjects in law, across both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Before academia, I worked at the Parliament of South Australia, first as a Research Officer to two standing committees of the House of Assembly, and then later as the Legal Research Officer in the Parliament Research Library.

I have a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree from the University of South Australia, graduating with First Class Honours. I completed my GDLP with the Law Society of South Australia, and have been admitted to the Supreme Court of South Australia as a legal practitioner. I also have experience as a Director of Equality Lawyers – a law firm based in Adelaide, specialising in providing legal advice to people with disabilities and their supporters. I held this role from 2021 to late 2023.

Peta is an emerging expert in disability discrimination, education policy, and dispute resolution. Her PhD, conferred in May 2023, explores how students with disability-related challenging behaviours experience educational settings and the associated complaint processes when issues arise. Peta uses empirical evidence to cast new light on these otherwise confidential complaint pathways and partnered with four external bodies to undertake this work. Peta was also the recipient of the unique and competitively awarded Equal Opportunity Commission Scholarship.

In 2022, Peta was a finalist in the University of Adelaide's Three-Minute Thesis final. You can view her in action below.


  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2019 Spyrou, E. L. (2019). Considering the Provision of Growth Attenuation Treatment to Profoundly Disabled Children in Light of the Family Court’s Welfare Jurisdiction. Journal of Law and Medicine, 26(4), 874-895.
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2024 Spyrou, E. (2024). Disability Discrimination in Education Investigating the ADR Experiences of Parents and Practitioners. In NA. Western Sydney University Parramatta City Campus.
    2023 Spyrou, E. (2023). Disability Discrimination in Education. In NA. Utrecht.
    2022 Spyrou, E. (2022). Disability Discrimination Education. In NA. Monash Law School.
  • Report for External Bodies

    Year Citation
    2024 Koch, C., Grenfell, L., Spyrou, P., Hill, L., & Owens, R. (2024). Submission on the Inquiry into the potential for a Human Rights Act for South Australia.
    2024 Spyrou, E. (2024). Submission on the Inquiry into the potential for a Human Rights Act for South Australia..
  • Theses

    Year Citation
    2023 Spyrou, E. (2023). Disability Discrimination in Education: A Mixed-Methods Study Examining Complaints about Compulsory-Aged SA & Vic Students with Disability-Related Challenging Behaviour. (PhD Thesis).
  • Internet Publications

    Year Citation
    2023 Spyrou, P. (2023). School Autism Policy a Good Start but Must Try Harder. Indaily.
    2022 Spyrou, E. (2022). Unpacking the Disability Discrimination Redress Models for South Australian and Victorian Students Living with Disability-Related Challenging Behaviours. The Bulletin, The Law Society of South Australia.
    2021 Spyrou, E. (2021). One year after the death of Ann Marie Smith, people living with disabilities are still waiting for meaningful change. ABC Religion & Ethics.

In 2023, Peta led a research team with funding received the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law, and Economics Early Career Research Leadership grant ($5,000). The project considered the views of stakeholders involved in conciliation processes relating to disability discrimination in education complaints.

In support of her PhD research, Peta received the following grants:

  • Equal Opportunity Commission Scholarship (2018 - 2022);
  • Zelling Gray Supplementary Scholarship (2019, 2020, 2021) ($15,000);
  • Ian Wilson Liberal Supplementary Scholarship - Category A (2021) ($5,000).

Teaching philosophy  

As an emerging expert in disability discrimination, education policy, and dispute resolution, Peta is deeply intrigued by the intersection of these critical areas. This academic expertise, together with her industry experience as a former support worker, informs her teaching approach. Peta achieves this by creating inclusive environments for diverse learners, providing an opportunity for all students to actively engage in their studies.

Prizes and awards

Peta was shortlisted for the 2023 University Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the category of An Enhanced Student Experience. In this same year, Peta received the 2023 Faculty of Arts, Business, Law, and Economics Teaching and Learning Prize for Individual Teacher (Early Career).

Current courses

Peta currently teaches into the following courses at the University of Adelaide:

LAW 3501 Dispute Resolution and Ethics

LAW 2512 Family Law

LAW 1501 Foundations of Law

LAW 1100 Introduction to Law

Previous courses 

Peta has previously taught into the following courses at the University of Adelaide:

LAW 3509 Anti Discrimination and Equality Law

  • Position: Lecturer
  • Phone: 83131993
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Ligertwood, floor Second Floor
  • Room: 211
  • Org Unit: Adelaide Law School

Connect With Me
External Profiles