The ASLP is the Australian Section of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR). It was founded in 1961 at the University of Sydney where the administration of the Society remained until 1995 when it moved to the University of Queensland in Brisbane. From 1999 until 2007, the Society was based at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, before moving to Monash University in Melbourne from 2008 until 2013. It has now returned to the University of Queensland.
The aims of the Society are to promote the study and discussion of legal philosophy though publications and conferences. Since its inception the Society has drawn its membership principally from Law Schools, judges and legal practitioners, but also from philosophy and social science departments. Currently the Society has over one hundred members.
The Society draws on the widespread interest in law throughout Australia that is not confined to law schools or academic circles. ‘Legal philosophy’ is construed broadly and includes philosophical, psychological, social and cultural studies of law. The Society therefore includes practitioners of analytical legal philosophy, critical legal theory, feminist jurisprudence, legal ethics and socio-legal studies. The Society encourages theoretical interest in substantive areas of law such as criminal law, tort and contract, and public law.
The officers of the Society are elected at the Annual General Meeting. Associate Professor Jonathan Crowe of the University of Queensland was elected as President in June 2014. Dr Crowe is one of Australia’s best known legal philosophers with a growing international profile. Previous Presidents include Professor Jeffrey Goldsworthy of Monash University (2007-2014) and Professor Tom Campbell of Charles Sturt University (1999-2007). Dr Kristen Rundle of the University of Melbourne is Secretary and Dr Lael Weis of the University of Melbourne serves as Treasurer.
The Society holds an Annual Conference, which anyone with an interest in legal philosophy is most welcome to attend. The Annual Conference is the main occasion for members of the Society to meet and discuss papers on any topic within legal philosophy. In recent years, the conferences have had one or two principal themes. The conference also features a Book Symposium that is subsequently published in the Society’s journal.
The Society publishes the Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, a refereed journal currently edited by Dr Dale Smithof the University of Melbourne and Associate Professor Patrick Emerton of Monash University. Formerly called theBulletin of the Australian Society of Legal Philosophy, the journal has been published annually for twenty five years, is widely distributed to libraries all over the world and is available online to subscribers. Submissions are encouraged from Australia and overseas. The Society offers an annual Essay Prize, which is open to all current graduate students in any discipline, subject to the condition that the prize winning essay be published in the Journal.