Australasian Law Teachers Association

Promoting Excellence in Legal Academic Teaching and Research

2003 ALTA conference


Changing Law


6 to 9 July 2003


A grand total of 202 delegates attended the 2003 ALTA Conference, held at the Novotel, Brisbane, on 6-9 July, and hosted by Griffith Law School. The conference theme was ‘Changing Law’, and the 10 plenary speakers and many interest group presenters addressed this theme, in all its ambiguity, in their papers.

The conference began with an opening Cocktail Reception on the evening of 6th July, at which delegates were welcomed by the Dean of the Griffith Law Faculty, Professor Rosemary Hunter, and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders associated with Griffith University.

The Reception was followed by a screening of the Australian space horror movie ‘Pitch Black’, which was then elegantly deconstructed by a panel of legal film critics at the next day’s Workshop on ‘Law and Culture’.

The three days of conference sessions saw presentations of 90 interest group papers in 37 interest group sessions, an exciting and challenging series of plenary papers, two other Workshops, on Legal Education and on Legal Academics and the Media.

The ALTA Executive meeting and Annual General Meeting were also held, together with the inaugural meetings of two new networks of Law Associate Deans/Directors of Research, and Associate Deans/Directors of Teaching and Learning.

The Publishers dinner was held at Rydges Hotel, South Bank, and was followed by a disco at which those of a certain age bopped until we dropped to the sounds of the ’70s and ’80s.

The Conference dinner was held at the historic Brisbane Customs House, where delegates were vastly entertained by the insights into the legal, political and educational process by Queensland Minister for the Arts and former Attorney-General, Hon. Matt Foley MP.

Feedback from the conference, both formal and informal, has been excellent. Votes for best plenary speaker were given to Jane Kelsey (‘Serving Whose Interests? Free Trade Agreements and the Transformation of Public Services from Human Rights to Global Commodities’), Larissa Behrendt (‘Advancing ndigenous Rights in the Era of Practical Reconciliation’), Erica McWilliam (‘Risky Subjects’), Clifford Shearing (‘Governing Security: New Regulatory Challenges’) and Andrea Durbach (‘Conscientious Participation: Working the Law Back to its Bones’) – indicating the quality and diversity of the plenary presentations.

An undertaking on this scale incurs many debts. Heartfelt thanks are due to the Sponsors: Cavendish Publishing Ltd and LexisNexis Australia (Publishers’ Dinner), QUT Law Faculty (Opening Cocktail Reception), TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland (Conference Dinner), and Thompson Legal & Regulatory Ltd., and also to Professor John Dewar, Pro Vice Chancellor (Business & Law), Griffith University, who provided the initial seed funding for the conference.

To the conference managers, Conference Solutions, who provided a highly professional and effective service before, during and after the conference.To the permanent and local interest group conveners, and to those who chaired interest group and plenary sessions.To the Program Committee: Professor Rosemary Hunter, Professor Richard Johnstone, Ms Mary Keyes, Mr Shaun McVeigh and Dr William MacNeil, Griffith Law School, and especially to Mary Keyes who coordinated the interest group program. And to the Conference Organising Committee: Professor Rosemary Hunter, Ms Mary Keyes and Mr Graeme Orr, of the Griffith University Law School, for the time and energy they devoted to ensuring that the conference was a great success.

ALTA 2004 will be held in Darwin, hosted by the Charles Darwin University Law School. Good luck to all involved!

Professor Rosemary Hunter
2002-03 ALTA President

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