Meet Fiona Martin

Taxation law expert Professor Fiona Martin is an ex-solicitor for the High Court of Australia and an award-winning teacher and researcher.

When asked why taxation is important, Professor Fiona Martin has a pure and simple response.

“Without taxation, governments cannot exist. There are no funds to sustain public infrastructure such as roads and schools. ‘Tax is the price we pay for a civilised society’,” she says, quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes. 

The cultivation of a civilised society may well be Professor Martin’s career raison d’être. Her internationally recognised expertise and research focuses on how taxation law relates to charities and interacts with human rights and traditional landowners. She has also published works on legal education, the governance of legal structures and social entrepreneurs.

Professor Martin has been awarded prestigious research grants, including two Australian Research Council Grants. She has also been awarded several university teaching awards including the QUT Vice-Chancellors Award and being a finalist in the eminent Prime Minister’s National Awards.

Prior to her career in academia, Professor Martin's industry experience spanned across both the private and government spheres of legal practice. She worked for private law firms and for the Commonwealth Attorney-General in high level taxation law litigation work. 

“A career highlight was being recognised as an expert in my role as an academic, both as a teacher and a law expert. I was made professor a few years ago and feel that this demonstrates that my work is appreciated by my students and UNSW,” she says.

Professor Martin has developed online and computer-based education tools to assist students in understanding taxation law and legal problem solving and has published extensively in the legal education area. 

She is particularly focused on adaptive e-learning software such as SmartSparrow. The software provides student learning feedback to improve academic approaches to teaching and learning. 

In 2020, Professor Martin will be teaching online courses in taxation law. The ex-solicitor enjoys teaching taxation law because she finds the topics interesting and challenging. 

“Taxation law combines legal analysis with statutory interpretation. It is practical, but, because of its overarching impact it is also complex. To understand taxation law, you must also understand many other areas of law such as company law, the law of trusts and property law,” she says. 

Professor Martin says she looks forward to engaging with students online and guiding them through the materials. Her key advice to students is to work hard and read constantly.

“Tax is complex, so students need to be hard working and constantly read and revise the material that they must work with. Once they achieve this, then it is a matter of applying the theory to practical situations. This is very satisfying,” she says. 

Visit Fiona Martin’s biography for more information on her career and achievements, or watch her BusinessThink interview on the tax liabilities for crowdfunding.