Conference Announcement: Private Law in the 21st Century, Brisbane Australia

Readers of the blog working on a variety of private law issues might find interest in the following conference, to be held at Brisbane, Australia on December, 14-15th, 2015:

The Australian Centre for Private Law and the TC Beirne School of Law at The University of Queensland, is proud to host the conference Private Law in the 21st Century to be held in Brisbane on 14-15 December 2015.


Key Note Addresses will be presented by:

• Professor Andrew Burrows, University of Oxford

• Professor Hanoch Dagan, University of Tel Aviv

• Justice James Edelman, Federal Court of Australia

• Professor Dame Hazel Genn, University College, London

• Professor Ken Oliphant, University of Bristol

• Professor Henry Smith, Harvard University

Conference Aims and Themes

The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for the identification and debate of the key questions and challenges that private law is likely to face, nationally and internationally in the 21st century, setting a clear agenda for legal practitioners, the legal academy and policymakers within the field. The challenges faced by the law are procedural, ethical, substantive, doctrinal, and theoretical. Practitioners are faced with increased complexity, overlap, statutory intervention, and the proliferation of information and accessible case precedents. At the same time, the litigation system must grapple with priorities of economy, de-formalisation and access to justice, and with new demands and interests, both public and private. Some of the challenges concern the co-ordination of complex rules and diverse sources of law. Other, more fundamental questions relate to the proper nature and scope of private law entitlements in the changed conditions of the twenty-first century. Personal autonomy in the form of rights, freedoms and protected interests is regarded as more important than ever in liberal societies, but often runs up against new social and economic pressures. The relationship between private law, insurance systems and systems of public regulation is also in a renewed state of flux. What are the priorities for private law in the current environment and who (judges, legislators?) should best engage with them?

Papers are invited on any topic within the conference theme and can either span different fields of private law, or focus on a single field. Some of the issue presenters may wish to address include:

• Current and Future Challenges for Litigation Practice, Ethics and Individual Access to Justice

• Complexity and Information Overload – ways of managing their effects on the legal system and on legal reasoning

• How to legislate (and how not to legislate) around and across the common law – challenges and solutions

• The ‘privatisation’ of justice through Alternative Dispute Resolution – benefits and risks

• The recognition of new types of substantive private interest, such as “rights” to privacy, autonomy and emotional welfare

• The Decline of the Legal Treatise, the nature of private legal scholarship and the role of ‘Restatements’ as alternatives to codification in Common Law systems

• The ‘dematerialisation’ of wealth and the challenges presented by intangible forms of property

• The increased Internationalisation of Private Law

• The relationship between private law and systems of private and social insurance

Please send your proposed title and a brief abstract to Registrations are now open. Early Bird rates apply until 31st August. Conference Website:

Leave a Comment