For reasons of effectiveness, efficiency and equity, Australian law reform should be planned carefully. Academics can and should take the lead in this process. This book collects over 50 discrete law reform recommendations, encapsulated in short, digestible essays written by leading Australian scholars. It emerges from a major conference held at The Australian National University in 2016, which featured intensive discussion among participants from government, practice and the academy. The book is intended to serve as a national focal point for Australian legal innovation. It is divided into six main parts: commercial and corporate law, criminal law and evidence, environmental law, private law, public law, and legal practice and legal education. In addition, Indigenous perspectives on law reform are embedded throughout each part. This collective work—the first of its kind—will be of value to policy makers, media, law reform agencies, academics, practitioners and the judiciary. It provides a bird’s eye view of the current state and the future of law reform in Australia.
Research theme: Law and Social Justice
Author(s): Margaret Thornton
Privatising the Public University: The Case of Law is the first full-length critical study examining the impact of the dramatic reforms that have swept through universities over the last two decades. Drawing on extensive research and interviews in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada, Margaret Thornton considers the impact of the market on students, academics and law schools, documenting how both the curriculum and pedagogical methods have changed. If the passing of the idea of the university is rued, concern usually focuses on the humanities and the natural sciences. In this respect, law has been regarded as privileged because of the virtually unstoppable demand for law places and the willingness of students to pay high fees. And, as this book shows, it is commercial and instrumental forms of legal training that are now favoured, whilst the humanistic, critical, theoretical and social justice aspects of legal knowledge have been corroded. Privatising the Public University will be of considerable interest to legal academics; but it will also be invaluable work for anyone interested in the future of higher education, or, more generally, in the corporatization of culture.
Research theme: Regulatory Law and Policy
Editor(s): Margaret Thornton
This collection of essays arose from a conference held to mark the silver anniversary of the Australian Sex Discrimination Act (1984). The collection has two aims: first; to honour the contributions of both the spirited individuals who valiantly fought for the enactment of the legislation against the odds, and those who championed the new law once it was passed; secondly, to present a stock-take of the Act within the changed socio-political environment of the 21st century. The contributors present clear-eyed appraisals of the legislation, in addition to considering new forms of legal regulation, such as Equality Act, and the significance of a Human Rights Act. The introduction of a proactive model, which would impose positive duties on organisations, is explored as an alternative to the existing individual complaint-based model of legislation. The contributors also pay attention to the international human rights framework, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
Research theme: Law and Gender