Dr Jason Harkess is a barrister practising principally in the areas of criminal and administrative law, which includes trial and appellate work. He has held the position of Chief Examiner of the Victorian Bar Entrance Examinations since 2013 and has lectured evidence, administrative law and contracts at Monash University since 2007. He is currently engaged as Principal Examiner for the Law Institute of Victoria’s Criminal Law Specialist Accreditation examination. He has been a member of the Academic Course Appraisal Committee of the Victorian Legal Admissions Board since 2018.
Dr Harkess has considerable experience in the application of administrative law. In 2018, he was appointed by the Commonwealth of Australia to serve a four-year term as a part-time member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in the Migration and Refugee Division. In that capacity, he heard and determined more than 900 appeals against government decisions in relation visa refusals and cancellations of foreign citizens (including asylum seekers) under Australia’s migration and refugee laws. In 2021, he was also appointed by the Victorian state government to serve as a Detention Review Officer under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic), determining challenges made by individuals detained against government decisions to detain them in hotel quarantine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Harkess now regularly appears as counsel in judicial review proceedings in both the Federal and State courts.
Dr Harkess was awarded his doctorate following the completion of an inquiry into the moral implications arising out of anti-competitive cartel conduct, with particular reference to Australia's criminal cartel laws that were introduced by the Trade Practices (Cartel Conduct and Other Measures) Act 2009 (Cth).