Society and Ethics
What is right and wrong behaviour? And when should law step in? When should unethical actions become unlawful or regulated and why?
At Adelaide Law School, we set out to answer such basic moral and social questions. Our research is both theoretical and applied. We study the principles of good conduct and we produce practical recommendations for legal change.
Across the Law School, our researchers consider the ethical dimensions of law. The span of our research is considerable. It includes the study of fair and compassionate dispute resolution, ethical ownership, a principled criminal law and the very nature of Australian legal identity.
Our research institutes and groupings working in this area are
- The Research Unit of the Study of Society, Ethics, and the Law (RUSSEL)
- Law and Religion Project
- South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI)
Our concentrations of research and researchers are
Criminal Law and Justice
How should we protect vulnerable witnesses?
David Plater and David Caruso are researching the plight of vulnerable witnesses within the criminal justice system and evaluating recent legislative changes in South Australia to help vulnerable parties in court.
- How many times should we be able to appeal?
David Caruso is currently conducting a review of a new system of appeals in South Australia, which provides for any number of criminal appeals on meritorious grounds. The regime is the first of its kind in Australia.
Human Rights and Discrimination
- What is Australian identity?
Alex Reilly is examining the relationship between the formal criteria for membership of Australian society through citizenship and migration law, and people’s connections to places.
Law and Religion
- Should conscience be protected?
Paul Babie has a range of projects on freedom of conscience and religion and the separation of church and state in international and domestic legal structures, and on the relationship between law and theology.
Property and Environment
- What should we be allowed to own?
Paul Babie is investigating the ethical basis of ownership, especially in relation to land and other natural resources
- What rights should we have to water?
- Should work ever be unpaid? Should unpaid work be regulated?
Anne Hewitt, Joanna Howe, Rosemary Owens and Andrew Stewart are examining the nature of unpaid work, particularly in the transition between school and employment (with the support of an ARC Discovery Grant).
Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree with us?
We offer exciting opportunities for researchers at the honours, masters and PhD levels. Our research degrees are open to graduates of law and business graduates (with some possible further legal study required). If you are interested in society and ethics, consider furthering your research career with us.