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Our Staff

Olivia Nguy

Olivia commenced as the Director of the Foundation in January 2023. She is a passionate advocate and executive leader focused on systemically improving social justice and wellbeing outcomes for individuals and communities. Drawing upon her qualifications in social work, social policy and business, Olivia brings to the Foundation a wealth of senior and executive leadership experience across for purpose organisations. Immediately prior to joining the Foundation, Olivia was Chief Executive Officer of Detour House, where she led the delivery of crisis accommodation, outreach and alcohol and other drug residential services for women and girls experiencing homelessness. Olivia has also held leadership positions at Western Sydney MRC and Australian Red Cross, focused on program delivery and community development initiatives centred on improving outcomes for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia.

Catriona Mirrlees-Black
Research Director

Catriona joined the Foundation in 2012, swapping a Senior Civil Service role in the UK’s Ministry of Justice Analytical Services Directorate, and a prior role facilitating government-wide analytical collaboration at HM Treasury, for the sunnier climes of Sydney. After many years providing policy advice, leading analytical teams and analytical contract management, the Foundation rekindled her love for hands-on research design and analysis, drawing on her qualifications in psychology and law and previous experience running the British Crime Survey, as well as victim, offending, policing, and sentencing research roles at the UK Home Office and Metropolitan Police Service. She spent her first years at the Foundation wrangling the Data Digest Online, a tool to process and disseminate data from disparate NSW legal assistance provider data systems. She went on to develop the Foundation’s data resources to support the 2015-2020 National Partnership Agreement, including designing the Need for Legal Assistance indicators, which provides a novel method for comparing potential demand for legal assistance across geographical areas. Her data wrangling continued when she led the first comprehensive analysis of NSW court and tribunal data. More recently she has completed a review of the value of Victoria Legal Aid’s telephone information services, and undertaken analysis of NSW Legal Aid’s client service data to inform collaborative planning and to understand the pathways clients follow to grant of aid applications.

Delphine Bellerose
Principal Researcher

Delphine has been at the Foundation for four years, joining us on completion of her previous research on children’s rights in the digital age at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University and her contribution to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2017 report. She was born and educated in France and has the delightful accent to prove it. Initially focusing on political studies, her subsequent methodological training has included both advanced qualitative and quantitative studies. She is experienced in survey design and analysis, workshop design, research synthesis, policy analysis and research management. She has applied these skills in leading the Foundation’s work analysing administrative data for the National Aboriginal Legal Service and Australia-wide Community Legal Centres, as well as in the development of the Foundation’s current Legal Needs Dashboard. Delphine also provides ongoing analytical support to the NSW Cooperative Legal Service Delivery program.

Dr Kerryn Butler
Principal Researcher

Kerryn joined the Foundation in early 2020 from a distinguished career in public health examining the social and public health implications of access to services, particularly for vulnerable populations. She was previously lead researcher of a state-wide evaluation of the Drug and Alcohol Hospital Consultation Liaison service. Her many skills include national surveillance survey design and analysis, research design including evaluation, randomised controlled studies/trials, and mixed methods studies. Kerryn also has extensive experience in research management, project management; and student mentoring. Despite her relatively short time at the Foundation she has already got to grips with the unique challenges of the justice sector, leading a review of Extended Legal Assistance services for Legal Aid NSW and undertaking a review of the research literature on improving coronial court experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Maria Karras
Senior Research Fellow

Maria is by far our longest serving researcher, with over 20 years working in one of the manifestations of the Foundation. She started her career as a Behavioural Scientist at the NSW State Government. She has expertise in the full range of social research methods, including the use of experimental and observational designs, systematic reviews in addition to commonly used qualitative and quantitative methods such as in-depth interviews and surveys. She is also trained in various psychometric tools, and – perhaps explaining her long service at the Foundation – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Her projects have included research into the legal needs of people with a mental illness, a national survey of the aspirations and destinations of law graduates and an experimental study of legal negotiation. More recently, Maria has co-authored reports regarding the effectiveness of community legal education, a process evaluation of the Legal Aid NSW Domestic Violence Unit and an examination of the legal needs of single parents.

Dr Terry Beed
Senior Research Fellow

Terry has had a long involvement with the Foundation, including a three-year period serving on the Board of Governors chairing its Research Committee. As a Senior Manager at KPMG he was tasked to establish the Civil Justice Research Centre at the Law Foundation in 1989, the forerunner of the research function of the present day Foundation. Today, Terry continues to provide advice and analysis to the Foundation on matters of research strategy and forward planning. This has included reviewing the Foundation’s research publications and co-authoring a number of its research reports such as The NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal: An analysis of clients, matters and determinations (2011). He also advised the Foundation in the design of its groundbreaking LAW Survey and the development of data tools that assist legal assistance services in planning and delivering their services. Terry brings a wealth of applied social science research and management experience to the Foundation, including as the head of the University of Sydney Sample Survey Centre and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Sydney. His academic teaching, research and published works are primarily in the fields of survey research, opinion polling, socio-legal research, survey quality assurance, business ethics and regulation. More recently, he established the Centre for Survey Quality Assurance and was appointed independent survey quality assurance auditor for Australian and New Zealand television and radio broadcasters, newspaper and magazine publishers, and served as independent code of ethics reviewer for the Australian Association of National Advertisers and the Association of Market and Social Research Organisations.