The Laws of Australia, Thomson Reuters’ legal encyclopaedia, is edited by a team of legally trained editors here in our Pyrmont, Sydney office. Today we talk to Legal Editor Ruth Moraes about her legal studies, work background, and experiences working on The Laws of Australia.
How long have you worked at The Laws of Australia?
Ruth: I worked at TLA a little over a year before going to Rome to study for one year. I returned to TLA in September 2014.
What was your background before joining The Laws of Australia team?
Ruth: I worked as a Policy and Projects Officer for a small Registered Training Organisation for two years.
What was your favourite subject at law school? Why?
Ruth: I really enjoyed Public Law because I liked seeing the interplay between the government and its citizens and how government powers are conferred and restrained. My favourite elective was International Law because I liked learning about different countries and all the different ways they can interact with each other such as through diplomacy, trade and conflict.
What do you enjoy most about working at The Laws of Australia?
Ruth: In terms of the work, I really enjoy correcting things to make sure what is said is true and accurate. I like it when sometimes we have to be a “detective” to find the right piece of information or the original source. I am also lucky that I get to work with intelligent, professional and caring people.
What interesting facts have you learnt as an editor?
Ruth: There are so many interesting things you learn in this job. I like keeping an eye out for new and interesting words or rediscovering the original meaning of words we now use in a completely different context. For example, while working on 34.3 “Shipping”, I learned that “respondentia” is the practice of making the cargo on board a ship a security for the repayment of a loan. A “bottomry bond” is a contract where the owner of a ship pledged the keel or bottom as security for a loan to meet unforeseen needs on a voyage. A “hypothecation” is used to secure a loan over property but is different from mortgages and pledges. Today, we usually use the word “pilot” to refer to someone flying a plane but it originally referred to someone steering a ship in or out of a harbor or through difficult waters.
What is the most interesting Subtitle you have worked on?
Ruth: The most interesting Subtitle I worked on was 34.3 “Shipping”. I had no idea there were so many different aspects to shipping law, such as registration, mortgages (or personal property security interests as they are now called), regulation of marine pollution, towing, pilotage, wreck and salvage. Many of the laws regarding shipping were outdated and were being overhauled, so the Subtitle required a lot of changes.
What other interests do you have outside of The Laws of Australia?
Ruth: Watching an entertaining movie, walking or jogging, arts and crafts and playing the flute.
How do you like to unwind after a day at work?
Ruth: I like to curl up with a good book. At the moment I am re-reading The Lord of the Rings.
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