"Professor Bird was a very nurturing influence and that was precisely what I needed. Getting my PhD from Southern Cross Uni was absolutely essential to my future."

Associate Professor Alan Berman

Doctor of Philosophy (Laws)

Research matters at the School of Law and Justice

Group Three books in a pile, all written by SCU authors

The School of Law and Justice is committed to an intellectually vibrant and conceptually rigorous research environment, one that fosters globally recognised scholarship that is critical, innovative, interdisciplinary and socially relevant at local and international levels.

We are a place of progressive thinking and critical thought leadership, a home of Legal Cultures.

Legal Cultures embraces three distinct clusters of research strength:

  1. Ecological Jurisprudence
  2. Law and Humanities
  3. Critical Legalities

Ecological Jurisprudence is driven by an ethos, a culture, that places the Earth at the heart of the law. In understanding the interconnectedness of law, place and life, as well as the urgency of de-centering the abstract and embracing the contextual, our scholars in Ecological Jurisprudence are leaders in their (green) fields.

Whether it’s the study of environmental justice; the rights of nature; the ontologies of legal personhood; the narratives of climate change, climate protest and activism; or climate change law and policy, our scholars push the boundaries of critical theory and eco-legal practice.

Members of our Ecological Jurisprudence research node include:

  • Associate Professor Nicole Rogers, founder and co-leader of the internationally-recognised Wild Law Judgment project.
  • Dr Alessandro Pelizzon, one of the founding members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and an UN-recognised leader in Earth Jurisprudence
  • Dr Evgeny Guglyuvatyy, a specialist in climate change law and policy, including taxation and forest policy
  • Mr Aidan Ricketts, a prominent activism academic and embedded social movement action researcher.

In our Law and Humanities research node, the zeitgeist, the cultural spirit of our (disruptive) times, finds its intellectual home. Our scholars explore the rich cultural intersections of law and literature, law and film, law and popular culture, critical and cultural legal history, the narratives of decolonisation, literary theory, and the philosophies of jurisprudence.

Our Law and Humanities cluster includes:

  • Professor William MacNeil esteemed jurisprude and cultural legal scholar
  • Professor Bee Chen Goh, a noted mediation expert and scholar of Sino-legal studies
  • Dr Rohan Price, the leading legal historian of the colonial Far East.
  • Associate Professor Nicole Rogers, pioneer of interdisciplinary climate studies encompassing law, fiction and the performance of protest.

Polemos, Journal of Law, Literature and Culture is the journal of record of our Law and Humanities cluster. An exciting collaboration between the School of Law and Justice, the Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Straniere at the University of Verona, and the Berlin-based publishing house, De Gruyter, Polemos is an internationally peer-refereed journal devoted to the interdisciplinary study of law and culture. A journal with its antipodean home in the cultural milieu of Southern Cross University’s School of Law and Justice, the Managing Editors of Polemos are Professor William MacNeil (SCU) and Professor Daniela Carpi (Verona).

In the Critical Legalities research node, our scholars are theorists and practitioners of the critical, the radical and the subversive other. Re-conceptualising property, place, race, whiteness, the colony, the corporation, the constitution, the workplace and more, our legal and societal institutions, indeed our understandings of law, are forged anew in the crucible of Critical Legalities. 

Our distinguished personnel includes:

  • Professor John Page, diverse property theorist and scholar of public property/space
  • Associate Professor Jennifer Nielsen, a leading scholar of social justice, inclusion and critical race theory
  • Dr Tom Round, noted constitutionalist
  • Dr John Orr, an expert in the university corporation.

Aligning with the Critical Legalities research node, Legalities, the Journal of the Law and Society of Australia and New Zealand is the flagship journal of the School of Law and Justice. As the official house organ of the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ), and published by Edinburgh University Press, Legalities is the only dedicated socio-legal journal in Australasia and the Pacific. Managing Editors are Dr Trish Luker (LSAANZ President and Senior Lecturer at UTS), Ahonuku-Associate Professor Carwyn Jones (Victoria University Wellington), and Professor John Page (SCU).

Southern Cross University has one of the highest concentrations of legal scholars researching the rights of nature in Australia.

I've just returned from a very quick journey to New York where I was invited to moderate this year the United Nations General Assembly dialogue on harmony with nature.

The harmony with nature program was established as a result of, or pursuant to, the General Assembly Resolution of 2009 that recognised the 22nd of April as International Mother Earth Day.

Mother Earth is the somewhat incorrect translation or approximate translation of an Indian concept the Pacha Mama 'the Divine Feminine'. This is the direct result of a lineage of thought and of legal philosophy that has seen Earth as not a mere collection of resources, not as a mere collection of objects. Earth is seen as the holistic integrated sum of all the ecosystems within which humans exist and upon which humans depend. Then the well-being of the system is paramount to the continuous well-being of all of its members.

A little bit over ten years ago I discovered the emergence of what was then called Earth jurisprudence and is now called by a number of scholars ecological jurisprudence to move beyond the planetary boundary contained in the term Earth. So we can see that this idea of nature conceived as a subject of rights has been emerging in a number of jurisdictions at a pace that makes an ecological jurisprudence the fastest-growing legal movement of the 21st century.

To conceive of nature as a subject is quite a challenging proposition. Who speaks on behalf of nature? Who is capable of representing or even imagining what nature's interests are if they are even conceived of as interest?

Southern Cross University, in particular, the School of Law and Justice has been pursuing the emergence of an ecological jurisprudence for well over a decade. In fact, many colleagues have written extensively or participated in a number of symposia, conferences and so on and so forth on the theme.

The School of Law and Justice has recently identified over 60% of its research outputs as broadly categorised as falling within an ecological jurisprudence which makes us,  although a very small law school, we're the school with the highest concentration of academics actively researching in the field at least in Australia, and likely one of the highest in the world.


Our research supervisors Thought leadership


Pólemos: Journal of Law, Literature and Culture

In early 2019, the School of Law and Justice cemented a collaboration with the University of Verona to sponsor Pólemos: Journal of Law, Literature and Culture, an internationally known peer-refereed journal published by Berlin-based publisher, De Gruyter.

Legalities, the Journal of the Law & Society Association of Australia and New Zealand

The official journal of the Law & Society Association of Australia and New Zealand, it is also the only dedicated socio-legal journal in the Antipodes. In 2019, Legalities succeeded the long-running Southern Cross University Law Review, which was first published in 1997.

Research news

SLJ Research Newsletter issue 4

Issue 4: December 2020

SLJ Research Issue 3

Issue 3: January 2020

SLJ Research Issue 2

Issue 2: November 2018

SLJ Research Issue 1

Issue 1: December 2017

Academic Associations

The School of Law and Justice is actively involved in the academic community and maintains memberships in key associations. These are important for collaboration and for sharing expertise across a broad range of research fields. For example:

  • For more than 50 years, the Australasian Law Academics Association (ALAA) has provided a platform for Australasian law teachers and legal scholars to network, collaborate and share expertise, as well as to contribute to the Association’s special interest groups and academic publications. The School of Law and Justice hosted the 2019 ALAA Annual Conference.
  • The Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) promotes and fosters scholarship broadly focusing on the interactions and intersections between law and society. The School of Law and Justice hosted the LSAANZ 2019 Annual Conference.
  • The Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia (LHAA) is a community of scholars which explores the intersection between law and culture, in all its forms. The School of Law and Justice hosted the 2019 LLHAA 2019 annual conference at the Gold Coast campus.


Contact Us

Professor John Page
Deputy Dean (Research)
T: +61 2 6620 3058
E: lawhdr@scu.edu.au

Contact the School of Law and Justice

Professor William MacNeil BA (Tor), MA (Tor), LLB (Dal), LLM (Lond), JSD (Col)

T: +61 2 6620 3375

E: lawhos@scu.edu.au

Future students

T: 1800 626 481


Current students

T: 1800 005 687

E: lawenquiry@scu.edu.au