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?

Society and Ethics

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 groups working in this area 

Our concentrations of research and researchers

  • Criminal Law and Justice

    How should we protect vulnerable witnesses?

      David Plater is 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?


    • 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? 

      Paul Babie and Paul Leadbeter are examining the unbundling of water rights with a particular SA focus.

      • Should work ever be unpaid? Should unpaid work be regulated?

      Anne HewittJoanna HoweRosemary 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).