Invitation: Civil Justice Research and Teaching Symposium

adelaide-fringeProfessor David Bamford of Flinders Law School invites interested dispute resolution researchers to attend the 2017 Civil Justice Research and Teaching Symposium. Keynote speaker is Carrie Menkel-Meadow, internationally renown dispute resolution scholar. An additional bonus is that the Adelaide Fringe Festival is on at the same time. You will see from the invitation that the Call for Papers is open.

The Civil Justice Research and Teaching forum is an established gathering of legal academics who teach civil procedure and conduct research into civil justice issues. Typically these gatherings have been informal and supportive opportunities to exchange ideas. There are many excellent reasons for dispute resolution focused academics to engage with this group. Obviously, formal civil justice processes are simply one narrow part of the broader dispute management and resolution system that deals with private disputes. As David Bamford said when I asked him whether I could make this post:

I would encourage the  dispute resolution scholars to attend. I really see what we do as a subset of the DR field – DR using courts.

To properly understand the civil justice system, it is essential to know about dispute resolution mechanisms that are part of that system. This is reflected in reports such as the Productivity Commission’s 2014 Access to Justice Arrangements, the focus on dispute resolution in civil justice research (see for example the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation’s Civil Justice Online Clearinghouse), and the teaching of dispute resolution within civil litigation/procedure units in Australian law schools (see for example: NADRAC, Teaching ADR in Australian Law Schools (2012); Pauline Collins, ‘Resistance to the Teaching of ADR in the Legal Academy’ (2015) 26 Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 64, 68;  James Duffy & Rachel Field, ‘Why ADR Must be a Mandatory Subject in the Law Degree: A Cheat Sheet for the Willing and a Primer for the Non-believer’ (2014) 25 Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 9, 17; Kathy Douglas, ‘The Teaching of ADR in Australian Law Schools: Promoting Non-Adversarial Practice in Law’ (2011) 22 Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 1).

Many dispute resolution researchers who teach in law schools will be aware that consultation is in progress regarding a proposed amendment to the LACC/Priestley 11/Admission Requirement subject area of “Civil Procedure.” Essentially, the amendment would redefine the subject area as “Civil Dispute Resolution” and add “Dispute Resolution” to the list of sub-topics that must have been studied by applicants for admission to legal practice. This change reflects the reality that pre-trial civil procedure cannot be taught in isolation from dispute resolution mechanisms other than trial. The change has the potential to build better links between academics focused upon formal justice system processes and those focused mainly on non-judicial decision making. The Civil Justice Research and Teaching Symposium is an excellent opportunity to strengthen those bonds.

Some of our network members are already part of the civil justice research and teaching group, and we look forward to some new faces in Adelaide.

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About Dr Olivia Rundle

Dr Rundle is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania. She has worked as a nationally accredited mediator and a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Dr Rundle is especially interested in the role of lawyers in dispute resolution processes and the policy environment that positively encourages lawyers to engage with dispute resolution. She teaches and researches in broad areas of Dispute Resolution, Civil Procedure and Family Law.

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