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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.

To find out about opportunities to get involved, see our Facebook page for LRSJ

Director

Matthew Zagor

Contact

lrsj@anu.edu.au

Research themes

  • Criminal law
  • Human Rights Law and Policy 2
  • Indigenous Peoples and the Law
  • Law and Social Justice
  • Law, Governance and Development
  • Private Law

About LRSJ

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 Associate Professor Matthew Zagor.

Research themes

  • Criminal Law
  • Human Rights Law and Policy
  • Indigenous Peoples and the Law
  • Law and Social Justice
  • Law, Governance and Development
  • Private Law
  • The Legal Profession
 

An active approach to studying law

This guide 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.

News

ANU LRSJ students involved in the OPCAT report

Students from The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law recently met with Shane Rattenbury MLA, ACT Minister for Justice, to deliver a report on the ACT’s implementation of the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

Protesters attend a black lives matter rally in Melbourne

COVID-19 has affected every segment of society, with the law being no exception. From enforced lockdowns of public housing compounds to Supreme Court battles to prohibit protests, it is prudent to consider how the pandemic has influenced the rule of law.

Gender Identity and Sexuality Moot

The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law will host Australia’s first gender identity and sexuality moot in October 2020, with former High Court of Australia judge, The Honourable Michael Kirby AC, CMG (HonLLD '14), named as one of the judges for the moot’s final.

Bella Rollinson and Hannah Swedlund, ANU Gender Identity + Sexuality Law Moot champions

On 13 October, we were thrilled to host the final of the ANU Gender Identity + Sexuality Law Moot, the first competition of its kind in Australia. Sponsored by Resolution Institute, the virtual competition was a great success and valuable learning experience for students from nearly a dozen law schools across Australia and New Zealand.

Charlotte Michalowski and Andrew Ray

When Charlotte Michalowski and Andrew Ray were encouraged by one of their lecturers to make a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, The Australian National University (ANU) law students didn’t hesitate to answer the challenge.

Events


to ----- Phillipa Weeks Staff Library, ANU College of Law, Building 7, Room 7.4.1., 6 Fellows Road, Acton
Join Associate Professor Matthew Zagor and The Hon Justice Monika Schmidt AM as they discuss law reform in the courts.

to ----- Online via Zoom Webinar
Where can your law degree from ANU take you? Let our alumni give you an idea in this panel discussion.

to ----- Online via Zoom Webinar
Join our expert panel as we discuss how our laws protect our national landmarks, conserve vulnerable ecosystems and safeguard our species amid an extinction emergency.

to ----- Online via Zoom Webinar
Law Reform and Social Justice (LRSJ) has invited three national experts to share their views on the adequacy of existing legal regimes, and the relationship between the extractive industries, Indigenous communities, and the law.

to ----- Online via Zoom
Join the Law Reform and Social Justice (LRSJ) annual launch and recruitment drive to hear from our director, Associate Professor Matthew Zagor, our student leaders to learn about how to get involved.

Law internships

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.

To discuss possible internships, please contact Matthew Zagor, Director of the LRSJ Program.

Law Internship course

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:

  • poverty
  • 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

Law Reform

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

ACT Law Reform Advisory Council

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

LRAC Links