Promoting just and equitable societies

Research in the La Trobe Law School is driving law reform in Australia and overseas

The rule of law plays a transformative role in promoting just and equitable societies. The La Trobe Law School believes that shaping the law for the better can improve individual lives and whole communities.

The School’s research portfolio focuses on three areas of strength:

Law in context, with a focus on building a legal system that results in a more inclusive, equitable and just society.

International and comparative law, with a focus on identifying oppressive forms of law and finding new ways to realise its emancipatory potential.

And public law, with a focus on using the law as a tool to protect vulnerable and marginalised members of the community.

Want to know more? Explore our research highlights.

Disability rights during the pandemic

Dr Dina Afrianty has co-published a piece on the disability rights advocacy movement in Indonesia during the pandemic.

The authors contend that Disabled People Organisations and activists with disabilities set the agenda, preparing effective online survey tools that shaped future policy and support.

Several initiatives were established without first having the support of international institutions or government agencies, as is usually the case.

The authors argue that the pandemic response highlighted the importance of accessing “the voices and lived experiences of persons with disabilities” and connecting them to online support – giving them freedom to participate in public life.

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Parental consent and transgender youth

Professor Fiona Kelly has co-authored a perspective article in the Medical Journal of Australia on parental consent and transgender youth.

The number of transgender and gender diverse youth (henceforth trans youth) seeking medical treatment has risen sharply over the past two decades in Australia and overseas.

The authors note that while it was assumed by doctors that the decision in Re Kelvin meant that parental consent was no longer needed for treatment to proceed where a young person has been found to be competent, the recent decision of Re Imogen found that consent must be obtained from both parents in all circumstances.

“Improving the health and wellbeing of trans youth requires respect for their right to autonomy, agency and access to evidence‐informed health care,” say the authors.

“Advocacy for legislative reform is therefore needed to protect the decision‐making autonomy of trans youth.”

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Money laundering

Professor Louis de Koker has co-authored a new edition of ‘South African Money Laundering and Terror Financing Law.’

The book – published since 1999 and updated annually to reflect the latest legal position – is the standard reference work on anti-money laundering and the combating of financing of terrorism and proliferation in South Africa.

“The latest edition discusses key findings regarding South Africa’s non-compliance with global anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation standards,” says de Koker. “South Africa is under pressure to address these concerns or face grey-listing by the international standard-setting body, the Financial Action Task Force. We ensured that the book is published early in 2022 to inform the current public debate on relevant law reform in South Africa.”

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