ANU75: ANU Law Conference: Public Law and Inequality

Presented by ANU College of Law

As part of The Australian National University's 75th anniversary and to belatedly celebrate the 60th anniversary of ANU Law and the 30th anniversary of the Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL), a major public law conference will be held at the ANU College of Law in Canberra on 16-18 February 2022.

The conference will be a face-to-face event for Australian-based speakers and attendees, with international speakers and attendees able to participate through a webinar format (which will include a live audience in Canberra). There are approximately 40 speakers on the program, with about half of those being based in Australia.

Registrations are now open! There are modest registration fees for Australian-based participants with access to the full program in person. International registration for virtual access is free, recognising that many will not be able to attend all sessions of the conference (and that international participants will be self-catering!).

If you require multiple registrations on behalf of an organisation, please contact marketing.law@anu.edu.au to negotiate a package.

The full program is available here.

Conference theme

Growing inequality is a defining challenge of our times, domestically and globally. Yet the role of inequality in social, political and economic life is often muted (sometimes, invisible) in much public law scholarship. Notably, public law's foundational concepts were forged in a social world where the inevitability of inequality was often taken for granted. The stuttering processes of democratisation have rendered that assumption untenable. 

However, although public law scholarship has considered how the field can contribute to political equality, there has been less focus, particularly in recent decades, on the relationship between public law and material equality. The question of whether equality is achievable in a world of yawning disparities in wealth can no longer be brushed aside.

How do public law concepts, institutions and norms frame or contribute to political and material inequality?

How can public law and public law scholarship contribute to clear thinking about the set of problems associated with pervasive inequity in contemporary society?