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Law reform re-imagined: ALRC president to deliver 2015 Michael Kirby Lecture


Anne-Louise Brown
6 July 2015

When she speaks at this year’s Michael Kirby Lecture, president of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), Professor Rosalind Croucher, will explore the notion of ‘re-imagining’ law and how law reform can be ‘seen’ through different lenses.

As she explains, her aim is to measure the impact law reform has not just through official data, but in more intangible ways.

“So much has been written, importantly and well, about law reform commissions, their independence, their statutory basis, their structure and their work,” Professor Croucher AM said.

“But I want to ‘look through the looking-glass’ and see how law reform reflects the contributions of so many and that its ‘impact’ has to be seen in ways not measurable simply in implementation tables and statistics.”

This year marks the ninth Southern Cross University Michael Kirby Lecture , with Professor Croucher the keynote speaker.

Appointed to the ALRC in 2007 and elected president in 2009, Professor Croucher has had a distinguished career as a law educator and has authored nine books.

As president, Professor Croucher has been commissioner-in-charge of eight law reform inquiries, including client legal privilege, secrecy laws, family violence and disability laws.

In 2014 she was made a Member of the Order of Australian for service to the law as an academic and in her capacity as ALRC president.

An initiative of the School of Law and Justice, the lecture series is named after iconic former High Court judge, the Honourable Michael Kirby, who is a human rights activist and was Australia’s longest serving judge. He was also an inaugural member of the ALRC.

“Michael Kirby’s standing as a true champion of human rights is legendary,” Professor Croucher said.

“The ALRC works against a backdrop of rights and liberties, as set out in our constituting Act from the very first. We have to ensure that, as far as practicable, our law reform proposals are consistent with the Articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“So while our focus is the work under Terms of Reference from the Attorney-General of the day, we are directed in this way to be mindful of rights and liberties.

“The challenge for lawmakers, and law reformers alike, is to ensure that laws both protect the nation and protect the rights and liberties of citizens.”

Professor Bee Chen Goh of the Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice said Professor Croucher’s address at the event was special given the ALRC celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015.

“Professor Croucher has enjoyed a distinguished academic and legal career. She has made vast contributions to Australian law reform work and this year is a milestone year for the ALRC, celebrating its 40th Anniversary,” said Professor Goh.

“The Annual Michael Kirby Lecture Series was inaugurated in 2007 and since then the series has been a significant and integral event in the life of Southern Cross University and the wider community, bringing pre-eminent speakers to the region speaking on human rights-related themes.”

The 2015 Michael Kirby Lecture will be held on Thursday 9 July from 6pm at Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast Campus. It is a free event open to members of the public.
Photo: Professor Rosalind Croucher, President of the ALRC.