YOUR BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO AN EPIC ROAD TRIP
You’ll have the freedom to go wherever you want. Four women tell you how to do it right.
“Over the years, I have grown more confident and have learnt to speak my mind when I think it is necessary.” - TARA MARIA DAVENPORT
TARA DAVENPORT Instructor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore One of Tara’s earliest childhood memories was of visiting her father’s shipping company at International Plaza, where she would see photographs of small ships named after her, such as Tara Maria I or Tara Tiffany. When her father passed away, the then 24-year-old stepped in to help manage the company, before moving on to practise shipping law.
Tara had always been interested in international law, and decided to combine it with her other passion, maritime law, by becoming a researcher specialising in the Law of the Sea, which is the law governing the rights and obligations of nations in the oceans. She is currently working on her Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) at Yale Law School.
What are the most interesting aspects of oceans and maritime law that intrigue you?
I am interested in how governments and states have devised international law and regulations governing ocean space, which – as you know – is a unique environment. States have always treated the oceans like property that can be owned, and the rst three hundred years of the development of the Law of the Sea was deciding ownership of the oceans and the resources within.
Over the last 50 years, there has been an increasing focus on protecting the marine environment, and this has had a huge impact on the international framework governing the oceans. One of the most interesting aspects is the use of the law to resolve problems that occur in the oceans.
What are some maritime disputes that you are currently interested in and researching?
The South China Sea disputes are particularly fascinating to me because they bring together a mix of law, history, geopolitics and geography, and also because the disputes have a great impact on the South-east Asian region. I am also interested in the disputes between China, Japan and Korea in the East China Sea. My current research is on the regime governing deep sea mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
What qualities does a person need to possess to be an academic?
You need to have a lot of self-discipline and motivation because the deadlines you set are mostly your own.
How do you juggle family and work?
I have great family support in the form of a very handson husband, and my mum who helps out with my three children. I was lucky to have understanding bosses at my old rm who appreciated my need to be home at a certain time, allowed me to take my work home and were more exible with their deadlines.
What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career in maritime law?
You do not always have to go down the tried-andtested route of getting a training contract at a law rm immediately after graduation. Don’t be afraid to explore different avenues, like joining a shipping company or government agency that deals with maritime issues, or even doing research in maritime law at a research institute. These opportunities will give you more practical, hands-on experience that will equip you to deal with all the multi-faceted issues that arise in practice.