22 November 2011

The history of law and its influence on the development of modern society is the theme of a University of Queensland conference to be held at Brisbane's historic Customs House next month.

Entitled 'Private Law, Public lives,' the 30th Annual Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society (ALZLHS) will be attended by some of the world's foremost legal historians from Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Hosted by The University of Queensland's TC Beirne School of Law and the Faculty of Arts, the Society's 30th anniversary event will examine the social dimensions of private law in history, and its role in the creation of social values.

Honorary Professor Andrew Buck of UQ's TC Beirne School of Law says the conference programme has been carefully designed to appeal to a diverse audience of academics, members of the legal profession and anyone with an interest in the sociological impact of the law as it has developed through history.

"We're excited to be showcasing some of the world's leading experts on the history of law at this major international event in Brisbane," said Professor Buck, who will co-host the event with the Executive Dean of Arts, Professor Nancy Wright. Professor Wright has published widely on the legal status of women in England and Australia.

"We believe that UQ's research strength in law and history will greatly contribute to the conference being both distinctive and compelling for an audience with converging interests in these fields of study."

"It will also provide an ideal environment for international experts to meet and examine how we might further develop the depth of knowledge in these areas, thereby enhancing the opportunities for research collaboration between The University of Queensland and other leading international institutions."

Among the conference highlights are keynote addresses by Professor Rosalind Croucher, President of the Australian Law Reform Commission, and Professor John McLaren, Emeritus Professor of Law, The University of Victoria, Canada.

Professor Croucher, a highly respected legal historian and researcher in the areas of inheritance, women's legal rights, and religion and the law, will give an address entitled 'A Lament for the Lost Footnotes of Legal History,' at a special dinner at Customs House on 12 December.

Legal practitioners who attend the dinner will earn one accredited Continuing Professional Development point in the non-allocated strand.

Professor McLaren, author of Dewigged, Bothered and Bewildered: British Colonial Judges on Trial (University of Toronto Press, 2011) will appear as a keynote speaker at the conference and at the closing event hosted by Griffith School of Law. The evening event will feature his address, "Widening the lens from local to comparative colonial legal history: the growth of legal cultures in Australia and Canada" to launch Griffith’s Legal History Seminar Series.

The conference will also feature a panel from the American Society for Legal History (ASLH), including Professor Constance Backhouse, Distinguished University Professor, University of Ottawa and President of the ASLH; and Professor Chris Tomlins, Chancellor's Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine.

For a full conference or dinner only programme, and details of registration visit www.law.uq.edu.au or contact Beth Williams on (+61) 7 3346 9350, email b.williams@law.uq.edu.au

Event Details: Private Law, Public Lives: Social Dimensions of Private Law in History - the 30th Annual Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society (ALZLHS)

Date: Monday 12 to Tuesday 13 December 2011

Venue: Customs House and Griffith South Bank Graduate Centre, Brisbane

Media: Honorary Professor Andrew Buck, TC Beirne School of Law, a.buck@uq.edu.au or Melissa Reynolds, TC Beirne School of Law, 07 3365 2523, m.reynolds@law.uq.edu.au