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Article

Law Reform in a Federal System

The Australian Example

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2019
Keywords customary law, federal system, Australia
Authors Kathryn Cronin
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Australian law reform arrangements comprise a ‘crowded field’ of law reformers. These include permanent, semi-permanent and ad hoc commissions, committees and inquiries charged with examining and recommending reform of Commonwealth/federal and state laws. These are supplemented by citizen-led deliberative forums on law reform. The author’s experience in her roles as a commissioner and deputy president of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) and also as counsel assigned to advise the Joint Standing Committee on Migration in the Australian Federal Parliament highlighted facets of Australian law reform – the particular role of a law commission working in a federal system and the co-option of legal expertise to scrutinize law reforms proposed within the parliamentary committee system.


Kathryn Cronin
Kathryn Cronin is former Deputy President Australian Law Reform Commissioner and now barrister at Garden Court Chambers.
Part I Courts and ODR

Testing the Promise of Access to Justice through Online Courts

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1-2 2018
Keywords online courts, empirical research, civil justice, access to justice
Authors Bridgette Toy-Cronin, Bridget Irvine, David M. Nichols e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Modernization is increasingly knocking on the courthouse door. Many common law countries are investigating ways to introduce technology to improve civil courts, including the introduction of online courts. These state-led initiatives are primarily focused on lowering state costs in providing justice, as well as increasing access to dispute resolution. One possible solution some legal jurisdictions are exploring is ‘online courts’. Online courts hold the promise of making justice more accessible and affordable: a dispute can be filed at any time, from anywhere, by anyone. This model of delivering justice is envisioned as a system that either is lawyer-less or has a minimal role for lawyers. One of the assumptions underpinning an online court is, therefore, that laypeople can effectively explain a dispute to the court, without legal assistance. To date, there is no empirical research investigating that assumption. In this article, we will outline the proposed online court model, consider the need for robust empirical research, and describe a three-part investigation to explore how clearly and accurately people can explain a dispute.


Bridgette Toy-Cronin
Bridgette Toy-Cronin is the Director of the University of Otago Legal Issues Centre and a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Otago.

Bridget Irvine
Bridget Irvine is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Otago Legal Issues Centre.

David M. Nichols
David M. Nichols is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Waikato.

Sally Jo Cunningham
Sally Jo Cunningham is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Waikato.

Tatiana Tkacukova
Tatiana Tkacukova is a Senior Lecturer in the School of English, Birmingham City University. Authors appear in order of the contribution made to the paper.
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