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CALD Statement on Australian Law’s Systemic Discrimination and Structural Bias Against First Nations Peoples

By | First Nations Peoples

The Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) condemns the systemic discrimination that permeates the Australian legal system with respect to First Nations peoples. Structural, unconscious or explicit bias manifests itself in the on-going deaths in custody of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and is directly attributable to the criminal justice system’s pervasive police brutality, persistent want of care, and repeated failures to follow process or, even, the dictates of common humanity.

Without limiting the possibility of other actions and as a first response, CALD calls upon all Australian governments – both state and federal – to implement all of the 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, as well as the recommendations of other relevant reports.  Further, CALD urges all Australian law schools to work in partnership with First Nations peoples to give priority to the creation of culturally competent and culturally safe courses and programs.  In so doing, CALD acknowledges the part that Australian legal education has played in supporting, either tacitly or openly, the law’s systemic discrimination and structural bias against First Nations peoples.  At the same time, CALD affirms the positive contribution Australian law schools can, should and will make, in full partnership with First Nations peoples, in exposing, critiquing and remedying all forms of institutionalised injustice.

CALD unequivocally endorses its commitment to a legal system free of systemic discrimination and structural bias.

For context to this Statement, please refer to https://cald.asn.au/first-nations-peoples/.

Congratulations to the Australian Legal Research Award Winners!

By | ALRA

It is with great admiration and pleasure that we announce the winners of the inaugural Australian Legal Research Awards!  Following the virtual ceremony this evening that was attended by almost 90 academics from all over Australia, here are the winners in each category:

Article/Chapter (ECR) Award

Article/Chapter (General) Award

Book Award

Non-Traditional Research Output Award

PhD Award

Lifetime Achievement Legal Research Medal

Thank you to everyone that submitted an application in the 2020 round of the Australian Legal Research Awards – a total of 149 applications and nominations were received.  Our most deepest gratitude also to the 52 academics from the many Australian law schools that participated as chairs and members of the various assessment panels.

Invitation to register for the Australian Legal Research Awards Virtual Ceremony

By | Uncategorised

We are very pleased to announce that registration for the Australian Legal Research Awards Virtual Ceremony is now open – please register here!

The ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday 17 November 2020, 6.00-7.40pm (AEDT).  The Zoom link will be sent to registrants closer to the event date.  Please note that the event will be recorded and made available for online viewing.

Join us as we celebrate the shortlisted applicants and announce the winners in the following categories:

  • PhD Award
  • Non-Traditional Research Output Award
  • Article/Chapter (ECR) Award
  • Article Chapter (General) Award
  • Book Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Legal Research Medal

We look forward to seeing you at the ceremony!

Australian Legal Research Awards – Shortlisted Applicants for the Book Award

By | ALRA

It is with great pleasure that we announce the following shortlisted applicants in the Book Award category:

  • Professor Katherine Biber (University of Technology, Sydney) for her book In Crime’s Archive: The Cultural Afterlife of Evidence
  • Associate Professor Melissa Crouch (UNSW Sydney) for her book The Constitution of Myanmar: A Contextual Analysis
  • Professor Desmond Manderson FAAL, FASSA, FRSC (Australian National University) for his book Danse Macabre: Temporalities of Law in the Visual Arts
  • Professor Benjamin Richardson (University of Tasmania) for his book The Art of Environmental Law: Governing with Aesthetics
  • Associate Professor Nicole Rogers (Southern Cross University) for her book Law, Fiction and Activism in a Time of Climate Change
  • Dr Marc Trabsky (La Trobe University) for his book Law and the Dead: Technology, Relations and Institutions

We look forward to announcing the winners in all of the Australian Legal Research Award categories at our online awards ceremony on the evening of Tuesday 17 November 2020 (AEDT), details of which will follow shortly.

Australian Legal Research Awards – Shortlisted Applicants

By | ALRA

It is with great pleasure that we announce the following shortlisted applicants in the Article/Chapter (ECR) Award category:

  • Dr Fady Aoun (The University of Sydney) for the article entitled Whitewashing Australia’s History of Stigmatising Trade Marks and Commercial Imagery
  • Associate Professor Alysia Blackham (The University of Melbourne) for the article entitled Reconceiving Judicial Office through a Labour Law Lens
  • Dr Lisa Crawford (UNSW Sydney) for the article entitled The Rule of Law in an Age of Statutes
  • Ms Jacinta Dharmananda (The University of Western Australia) for the article entitled Drafting Statutes and Statutory Interpretation: Express or Assumed Rules?
  • Dr Ntina Tzouvala (Australian National University [and The University of Melbourne at the time of application]) for the chapter entitled “And the Laws are Rude … Crude and Uncertain”:  Extraterritoriality and the Emergence of Territorialised Statehood in Siam.

We look forward to announcing the shortlisted applicants in the Book Award category in the very near future.

Australian Legal Research Awards – Shortlisted Applicants

By | ALRA

Thank you to all applicants for their effort and engagement in the Australian Legal Research Awards 2020.  It is with great pleasure that we announce the shortlisted applicants in the following award categories:

Article/Chapter (General) Award

  • Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh (The University of Queensland) for the article entitled The Inherent Jurisdiction of Courts and the Fair Trial
  • Mrs Susanna Dechent (Curtin University) for the article entitled Asylum Seeker Children in Nauru: Australia’s International Human Rights Obligations and Operational Realities
  • Professor Michael Legg (UNSW Sydney) for the article entitled Finality and Fairness in Australian Class Action Settlements
  • Professor Pauline Ridge (Australian National University) for the article entitled Challenging Conceptions of Accessory Liability in Private Law
  • Professor Lisa Young (Murdoch University) for the article entitled Mature Minors and Parenting Disputes in Australia: Engaging with the Debate on Best Interests v Autonomy
  • Professor Simon Young (University of Southern Queensland) for the article entitled The Increments of Justice: Exploring the Outer Reach of Akikba’s Edge Towards Native Title ‘Ownership’

Non-Traditional Research Output Award

  • Dr Michael Grewcock and Dr Vicki Sentas (UNSW Sydney) for their report entitled Rethinking Strip Searches by NSW Police
  • Dr Trish Luker (University of Technology Sydney) for her podcast entitled Reading The Signs
  • Associate Professor Stella Tarrant (The University of Western Australia) for her report entitled Transforming Legal Understandings of Intimate Partner Violence

PhD Award

  • Mr Tim Bowley (The University of Sydney) for his thesis entitled The Importance of Context: The Nature of Australian Shareholder Activism and its Regulatory Implications
  • Dr Marie Hadley (UNSW Sydney) for her thesis entitled The Politics of Cultural Appropriation Claims and Law Reform
  • Dr Jessica Hudson (UNSW Sydney) for her thesis entitled Assuring the Express Trust: The So-called Beneficiary’s Proprietary Claim
  • Dr Brad Jessup (Australian National University) for his thesis entitled A New Justice for Australian Environmental Law
  • Dr Amanda Sapienza (The University of Sydney) for her thesis entitled Principle v Practice: Judicial Review of Non-Statutory Executive Action in Australia

Publication of the shortlisted applicants for the Article/Chapter (ECR) Award and Book Award categories will be made available in the near future.

Winners of all categories, including the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Legal Research Medal, will be announced at the ALRA Award Ceremony to be held as an online event on the evening of Tuesday 17 November 2020 (AEDST).  To register your interest to attend the ceremony, please contact Vi Kacevska.

CALD Statement on the High Court’s investigation into sexual harassment

By | Press Release

The Council of Australian Law Deans notes the statement issued by The Hon. Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia on 22 June 2020.  The Council welcomes the steps the Chief Justice and the Court have adopted to support associates working at the Court.  These steps should enable young law graduates, seeking the opportunity to work at the High Court, to be confident that the Court will be a safe and respectful work environment.  The Council agrees with the Chief Justice that sexual harassment has no place in any workplace, and encourages all within the legal profession to ensure that safe workplaces are provided.

 

Professor Lesley Hitchens GAICD
Chair, Council of Australian Law Deans

25 June 2020

 

 

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For media inquiries, contact the CALD Executive Coordinator at vi.kacevska@unimelb.edu.au or 0438 422 919.

The Council of Australian Deans is the peak body for all Australian university law schools. The Deans of all Australian law schools are members of the Council.

CALD Statement on the Australian Government’s proposed changes to the fee structure for legal education

By | Press Release

The Council of Australian Law Deans is deeply concerned about the Government’s proposed changes to Higher Education funding announced on 19 June 2020.  The changes will impact significantly on the cost of undergraduate legal education in public universities.  Under the proposed changes the Government will reduce its contribution to legal education from $2,237 to $1,100, whilst the student contribution will increase by 28%, from $11,355 to $14,500 for a student place.

The significant increase in student fees puts at serious risk access to legal education for young people who are socially and economically disadvantaged, who come from culturally diverse backgrounds, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.  Diversity is crucial for the development and operation of law.  Diversity improves understanding of the operation of the rule of law and the legal justice system for those who have not traditionally had a voice.  Increasing the cost of legal education increases the barriers for those who have the potential to enrich the legal profession and improve legal outcomes.  It will narrow the range of representation within the profession.

The Council cautions against assumptions that legal employment is highly paid, thereby justifying higher fees.  Legal practice occupies a broad spectrum of practice both in size, and practice type.  A solicitor’s income in a large commercial firm is not a benchmark for incomes in other areas of practice.  And a significant proportion of law graduates do not enter the legal profession at all.

The Council questions the reasoning of the Government in its proposed restructure.  The Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, stated in his speech to the National Press Club that the Government and student contributions would address the misalignment between the contribution cost and the cost of teaching a degree.  The changes across the disciplines do not align with this objective, and do not explain why the law student contribution increases by 28%.  The Minister advises students to reduce the cost of their degree by “embracing diversity” and “not think about their education as a siloed degree”.  Australian law students have long embraced diversity by studying a combined or double degree, enhancing each degree by the knowledge and skills of the other.  The double degree is a feature unique to Australian higher education and conveys a clear advantage in a global employment market.  Many double degree graduates pursue careers outside the legal profession, taking advantage of their legal education to enhance their expertise in other fields.  However, the proposed fee changes will make undertaking a double degree more challenging for students wanting to include law in their program.

The Government’s proposed changes send a signal that undervalues legal knowledge and skills, and the humanities and social sciences more broadly.  An important component of legal education is an emphasis on employability skills.  Communication skills, expertise in analytical and problem-solving, critical thinking and an ability to synthesise complex information are essential skills for practising lawyers and those pursuing graduate employment in other areas of business and political life.  Employment rates for law demonstrate the ongoing recognition of the value of a law degree.  86.8% of undergraduate law students had employment within four months of completing their degree, consistent with national averages (Graduate Outcomes Survey, 2019).

The Council recognises the importance of the STEM disciplines and the need to support STEM.  However, the Council is disappointed that this should occur at the expense of the humanities and social sciences.  Arbitrary funding decisions to drive employment outcomes neglects the broader role all disciplines have to enrich the nation and its citizens beyond the economic.  Moreover, the approach lacks foresight.  Australia faces complex challenges including a changing demographic, uncertainly about its international relationships, and the impact of technology.  These challenges will not be solved by single disciplinary approaches; they require multidisciplinary insight whereby disciplinary experts across STEM, the humanities, and the social sciences bring together their knowledge and skills to create technical solutions that are balanced by ethical and equitable considerations.

The Council would welcome an opportunity to consider these changes with the Government to ensure that they do not put at risk access to legal education and the role of legal education in the broader community.

 

Professor Lesley Hitchens GAICD
Chair, Council of Australian Law Deans

22 June 2020

 

For media inquiries, contact the CALD Executive Coordinator at vi.kacevska@unimelb.edu.au or 0438 422 919.