Social aspect of law to be aired

The University of Otago hosts a law conference with a difference this week.

The three-day Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ) conference, which starts tomorrow, brings more than 160 attendees to Dunedin.

While the law was integral to discussions, co-organiser Bridgette Toy-Cronin, of the University of Otago Legal Issues Centre, said this conference was not about black letter law, rather, how the law intersected with many aspects of daily life.

"One of the joys of law and society conferences is you do get exposed to quite interesting and different approaches,'' Dr Toy-Cronin said.

"It's like a big smorgasbord of ideas.''

While many of the presenters will be lawyers or legal academics, the reach of the conference is far wider than legal issues.

"Many of the attendees won't come from law schools.

"Sociology is a common one to come from, psychology, criminology, public health, and we have a big presence of people who are interested in indigenous justice issues.

"It's about looking at the law in broader and multidisciplinary terms.''

Papers will be presented on cultural justice, criminal justice, gender justice, justice institutions, practice and practitioners, and environmental justice.

This is the second time New Zealand has hosted the conference and the first in Dunedin.

The conference coincides with the Australian Dispute Resolution Research Network annual research roundtable, being held in New Zealand for the first time.

It has been brought to Dunedin so attendees can then take part in the LSAANZ event.

The two-day roundtable ends today.

"There is a big overlap between the two groups and they were keen to make sure their members could go to LSAANZ, so we made arrangements some time ago to shift it out here,'' Dr Toy-Cronin said.

The roundtable format gives participants time to present their work to colleagues, who then critique and advise on the work.

- By Mike Houlahan


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