One of Australia’s most pre-eminent judges, High Court Justice the Honourable Justice Stephen Gageler, has highlighted the importance and long-term value of the research produced by Australian legal academics.
Speaking at the launch of the ANU College of Law’s Research Collaboration, Justice Gageler, said the judiciary relied heavily on the research outputs of legal scholars, or the Academy, in their day-to-day work.
“We read what those in the Academy produce. Judges regularly look at Australian legal periodicals – we are generally aware of what is produced by the Academy, and while we may not study it immediately, we will certainly look at it when presented with an issue.
“This is particularly important for research into issues that are not immediately in the public interest – and in doing so, the scholars involved create an invaluable reference point for when the issue inevitably does arise,” Justice Gageler said.
In addition to expanding the nation’s body of legal knowledge, Justice Gageler said the research being undertaken by law schools such as the ANU presented a valuable opportunity to highlight the increasing intersections between law and other fields.
“There is great opportunity for the Academy to add to the sum of legal understanding, and build connections between other disciplines and law.
“Economics, psychology and statistics are good examples – judges are generally not good at picking these apart, or understanding their interaction with law, unless they translated by academics and shown how they impact legal issues,” Justice Gageler said.
Dean of the ANU College of Law, Professor Stephen Bottomley, said he was encouraged by the recognition of the value – at both theoretical and practical levels – of the research being done by in the College.
“At ANU, research into the law in all of its dimensions has a long and very distinguished history, reflected by our profile as one of the world’s top ranked law school, and the reputation we hold among Australia’s legal community.
“Our research covers the full spectrum of legal issues – from private to public law, domestic to international law, law in books to law in action – and is marked by strong connections and collaborations with stakeholders in the academic, professional and policy communities.
“The launch of the ANU College of Law Research Collaboration acknowledges these achievements, but also provides a foundation for ensuring our research continues to respond to the changing legal, social and political environments of the 21st century,” Professor Bottomley said.
BY TIM GRAINGER