UQ researchers and members of the legal profession were among the guests who attended the official launch of UQ's Australian Centre for Private Law (ACPL) on 19 September, 2013.
Professor Iain Watson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, said the Centre has the potential and opportunity to significantly advance private law research and thereby benefit society as a whole.
"A very important part of the role of the University is to increase the relevance proposition of our research," Professor Watson said.
"We see a Centre such as this as a vehicle to showcase some of our excellent research and the quality of our staff and their ability to interact with the profession."
The launch event featured presentations highlighting the work of four ACPL scholars.
ACPL Director Professor Ross Grantham said the researchers' projects, such as consumer credit and privacy law, illustrated the diversity, depth and relevance of private law research to the wider community.
"Private law is that body of law that provides the legal framework for the vast bulk of our daily interactions and activities," Professor Grantham said.
"It protects us from injury or interference by others - it's the original human rights law – it allows us to make effective plans and secure our needs and wants in the pursuit of fulfilment as an autonomous individual, and defines and protects the material resources we need to be happy and fulfilled individuals."
Outlining the rationale for the new Centre, Professor Grantham explained that as a result of hundreds of years of development, the private law has become overly complex and out of step with the needs of modern society.
"The private law is very good at resolving particular disputes between individuals – those are its origins. What it is less attuned to doing is producing a large, principled body of law. It's in the development of a coherent body of private law that the academic comes into play – it's the scholar's task to sift, classify, prune and critique, and to try and turn a truly vast body of individual decisions, and legislative intrusions, into something that we can properly call law."
Professor Grantham said the ACPL will promote a systematic exploration, redevelopment and restatement of the private law in Australia with the aim of better adapting it to the social and economic needs of Australia and the world in the 21st Century.
"If Australia is to prosper in the coming decades it is essential to have an effective and efficient framework that supports the most basic aspects of our lives and addresses current and future issues."
The launch presentations are available to watch online here.