Research and scholarship in public law is a fundamental facet of healthy, democratic government. A defining feature of public law is the conflict between many of its foundational values. Here in Australia we expect the government to be powerful enough to intervene and facilitate ‘the good life’ for all members of our community, and yet constrained in that power so that it does not intrude unwarranted into the free enjoyment of our individual lives. By evaluating and critiquing the operation of government institutions, and reassessing and challenging the theory upon which our constitutional system rests, public law research provides important foundations from which those within the government structure can assess the operation of its institutions in the constantly evolving contemporary landscape. Public scholarship also provides an important pathway for greater public participation in government, beyond the ballot box.
The University of Adelaide Law School has a proud tradition of research and scholarship in public law. Scholars within the law school have been actively engaged across many areas. We have made submissions to government and parliamentary inquiries, conducted Australian Research Council grants, edited leading national journals, and regularly attend national and international conferences in the field. We have written widely, publishing monographs, edited volumes, textbooks, and individual pieces in high quality journals. The Law School’s academics contribute regularly to public debates through the media and other public fora. We have research interests that span Australian constitutional law, administrative law, international law, comparative public law, legal history, legal theory and human rights law. More specifically, our recent research has included scholarship on the High Court of Australia, federalism, indigenous legal rights, post-conflict justice, water management in the Australian federation, employment law and anti-discrimination, immigration and refugee law, the role of government lawyers in the constitutional system, the power of eminent domain, judicial power and security, and access to government information.
It is an exciting time to be a public law scholar at the University of Adelaide. In 2012, the Law School is welcoming many new faces, including several public law scholars who will add their knowledge and expertise to an already established and dynamic community. Our public law research community has generated a number of successful PhD completions in recent times, and currently includes several inspiring and enthusiastic post-graduate research students. A full list of the scholars in the public law school community, and links to their biographical information, is accessible through the Law School’s website: http://www.law.adelaide.edu.au/about/staff/
This blog has been created for a number of reasons. Its primary intention is to provide updates on the work of the public law research community at the Law School. It will showcase new scholarship, providing a forum for our academics to explain the underlying purpose of their research, the broader context of the research, and, of course, provide access to the research itself. The Law School is also active in making submissions to government and parliamentary inquiries; these submissions will be made available through the blog, providing a central space from which to access our contributions to current debates across the country.
We will also be using the blog to post our explanations of, and views on, recent events, including new cases, legislation and policies, and upcoming court challenges. In this way, the blog will provide an access point to commentary from expert scholars in the field for the public, government officials, and our academic colleagues.
Finally, we envisage the blog will be updated regularly with information on upcoming events in the public law arena, including lectures, seminars, conferences, public debates and other fora and visiting scholars. Both the Australian Association of Constitutional Law and the Australian Institute of Administrative Law have active South Australian chapters and our academics have a strong history of working closely with these groups hosting seminars and conferences. We will also blog about recent events that we might have attended that have provided new insights or perspectives into public law problems.
Views expressed on this blog are of individual academics, and not endorsed by the University.