Herworld (Singapore) - - NEWS -

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.

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