Through its teaching curriculum, academic research and social justice initiatives, Law Reform and Social Justice at the ANU College of Law provides opportunities for students to explore and interrogate the complex role of law in society, and the part that lawyers play in promoting both change and stability.
Law Reform and Social Justice supports the integration of law reform and the principles of social justice into teaching, research and study across the College. It also facilitates a broad range of student projects, hosts a regular series of events, and produces a guide to legal volunteering in the ACT (448.93 KB) and a regular newsletter.
To find out about opportunites to get involved, see our Facebook page for LRSJ
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The ANU College of law has an explicit commitment to the themes of law reform and social justice as core components for understanding the law.
College academics teach, research and engage across a broad spectrum of social justice topics including: access to justice, due process, civil society, human rights, legal ethics, health justice, transitional justice, Indigenous and refugee justice and youth justice.
The idea of law reform is integral to the study of law at the College with students encouraged in their studies to ask: where does a law come from, what is its purpose, is it working as it should, and how could it be different? Staff at the College integrate the study of law reform into their teaching, conduct research into the need for law reform in particular areas, and contribute their expertise to formal law reform processes.
Student-run projects are a key feature of the work supported by Law Reform and Social Justice. These projects provide a practical outlet for students to use their research skills, and assist students to understand the operation of law in society through community engagement. Students also have the opportunity to interact with academic staff outside of the classroom and work with students in other year cohorts. The projects aim to foster a commitment to social justice and law reform through volunteer activities. All students of the ANU College of Law – undergraduate, JD, and graduate – are welcome to be involved in current projects, and to suggest new activities.
Law Reform and Social Justice holds events with prominent speakers, film screenings, and panels discussing important contemporary issues. These events foster further engagement with the law and expose students to ideas of how they can work within and beyond the legal profession to achieve law reform and social justice.
The Director of Law Reform and Social Justice is Professor Simon Rice OAM.
An active approach to studying law
This guide (448.93 KB) provides law students with information about how to take an active approach to studying law, and useful contacts for legal organisations in Canberra that accept student volunteers.
Molly Townes O'Brien
Mary Spiers Williams
Interns - Law Reform & Social Justice (LRSJ)
In the Media
Simon Rice, Dilan Thampapillai, Margaret Thornton speaks to News.com.au
Simon Rice speaks to ABC RN Background Briefing
Simon Rice quoted in National Indigenous Times
Simon Rice speaks with ABC Radio National
Simon Rice speaks to ABC Radio
Judy Harrison speaks to ABC Kimberley re-broadcast by the National Indigenous Radio Service
- David Marr
Most Australians despise what Pauline Hanson stands for, yet politics in this country is now orbiting around One Nation.
Want to find out more about who ANU Law Reform and Social Justice are, or what we do? Are you interested in joining a project? Do you have ideas you are burning to share with like-minded students? Come along to our Info Session in Week 3!
- Marcelle Burns, University of New England
- Jennifer Nielsen, Southern Cross University
In this paper, we share our reflections on our success in using theory as a practice to challenge the wicked problem of racism in the law classroom.
- Dr Joshua Rosenzweig, Amnesty International
- Professor Terence Halliday, Northwestern University; Regnet, ANU
- Professor Sarah Biddulph, University of Melbourne
- Professor Susan Trevaskes, Griffith University
Four years into the Xi Jinping leadership, it is appropriate to begin assessing the effects of his ‘governing the nation according to the law’ 依法治国 platform.
- Julian McMahon (Reprieve Australia)
Does the death penalty deter crime? What is the scope and nature of Australia’s role in the region? Why has there been a resurgence of the death penalty in the Asia-Pacific?
Projects & clusters
LRSJ student led projectsContact:
Student-run projects are a key feature of the work supported by Law Reform and Social Justice, providing a practical outlet for students to use their research skills, and assist students to understand the operation of the law in society through community engagement.
The following students-run projects are currently supported by Law Reform and Social Justice.
This project aims to help Kimberley Community Legal Service increase civil law legal help in the Kimberley of Western Australia. The initiatives include the KCLS Hotdesk in Canberra, staffed by ANU law student volunteers.
Faculty Advisors: Judy Harrison, Peter Sutherland, Asmi Woods, Margie Rowe
Ready 4 Recognition is an educational project that provides the community with clear, concise and legally accurate information about the constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples.
The Corporate Power Accountability project aims to cover four principal areas in which corporate law and social justice meet: corruption, labour, human rights, and the environment. We are a research group that empowers the public, increases access to information and raises awareness on issues of corporate accountability.
This project is responsible for maintaining the ACT Human Rights Act Portal that provides researchers and practitioners with an accurate database of case summaries, Hansard, explanatory memoranda, general information and other material relating to the application of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT).
The Police Integrity project documented police accountability measures in place across Australia’s federal and state jurisdictions.
Students involved in the Prison Issues project have the opportunity to engage in law and legal issues with people incarcerated in the Alexander Machonochie Centre.
This project aims to increase the understanding of Canberra school students in the role of the law and legal information and to provide an opportunity for law students to prepare and deliver lesson plans.
Student Leaders: Ashlea Arulanandam, Lauren Dreyar
Established in 2016, this project is currently working on producing a community magazine and doing further legal research.
This project was established in late 2014. Teams of students partner up with local community legal organisations in order to discuss their legal information needs and how our students may be able to help them and their clients. The students then research and produce plain-language legal information to be used by the organisation. A website to collect together this work is currently in progress. We envisage this to be a legal information hub where students contribute articles and factsheets and where we aim to bring together the many sources of legal information on the web. We would welcome any students interested in this project to get in touch with us.
Through the ANU College of Law internship program, students can contribute to the work of a social justice agency of their choice and conduct research that will support the agency's work. Most internships can be undertaken as courses for which students receive credit to their degree, and some provide a unique experience for volunteers.
Internships provide students with unique opportunities to make use of their developing legal skills in areas of need, building on their knowledge and putting it into context.
LRSJ offers internships for later year students, done through the LAWS4230 Internship Program. All LRSJ internships are subject to the course assessment criteria.
Past and current LRSJ interns can be found on our LRSJ People tab. You are also welcome to do your own research and/or consult us regarding an alternative location (local or overseas) or type of work relating to law reform or social justice.
The LRSJ Program at the ANU College of Law takes in two student interns each semester as part of the course LAWS4230: Law Internship.
LRSJ interns will conduct research into current issues in areas of law and social justice, adding to the knowledge base of the Program and enhancing the resources provided through the Program's website.
Areas of research could include:
- discrimination and human rights
- access to justice
- the concerns of the elderly, migrants and refugees, indigenous peoples and/or other disadvantaged groups.
An active approach to studying law - the guide
Law Reform and Social Justice produces this useful guide to legal volunteering in the ACT (448.93 KB)
The idea of law reform is integral to the study of law at the ANU College of Law. We encourage students to ask: Where did a law come from? What is its purpose? Is it working as it should? How could it be different?
Staff integrate the study of law reform into their teaching, conduct research into the need for law reform in particular areas, and contribute their expertise to formal law reform processes
The ANU College of Law collaborates with the ACT Attorney-General's Department to operate the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council (LRAC), based at the ANU College of Law.
The Council’s role is to provide expert advice and recommendations to the ACT Attorney-General on terms of reference dealing with law reform matters referred to it by the Attorney-General.
The Council includes a panel of expert members with a broad range of expertise who are selected by the Attorney-General to serve for a period of up to three years. Members are appointed for their expertise in matters relating to law and legal policy, and not as representatives of an organisation.
Information about LRAC membership is available on their website.
Contact: Dr Tony Foley
- Current Inquiries
- Inquiry on sex and gender diversity
- Issues Paper about Legal Recognition of Sex and Gender Diversity
- Previous inquiries