Launched on 17 July 2007, the Australian Academy of Law (AAL) is the fifth learned Academy in Australia and is the culmination of a process begun with the Australian Law Reform Commission’s landmark report, Managing Justice: a review of the federal civil justice system (ALRC 89, 2000).
Managing Justice traced the rapid growth, diversification and fragmentation of the Australian legal profession, and the serious challenges these present to the maintenance of a coherent professional identity and traditional collegiate approaches.
Without positive action the single ‘legal profession’ could become a multiplicity of ‘legal occupations’, none of which sees itself as part of a larger whole.
The launch of the Australian Academy of Law on 17 July 2007 is a key aspect of the positive action recommended in Managing Justice,bringing together the three strands of the legal profession—the judiciary, legal practitioners and legal academics—united in promoting high standards of learning and conduct and appropriate collegiality across the profession.
The objects of the Academy, set out in the AAL Constitution, include:
To establish and advance funds to provide scholarships and research grants which advance legal education and the discipline of law and promote ethical conduct and professional responsibility.
To promote the highest standards of legal scholarship, legal research, legal education, legal practice, and the administration of justice.
To promote the continuous improvement of the law and of the operation of the legal system.
To promote the highest standards of ethical conduct and professional responsibility amongst all members of the legal community, including the use of legal skills not merely for material personal reward but also in the service of society.
To enhance understanding and observance of the rule of law, and community understanding of the role and function of law, lawyers, the legal profession, and the judiciary.
To provide a forum for cooperation, collaboration, constructive debate and the effective interchange of views amongst all branches of the legal community on all matters relating to the achievement of these objects.
The Fellowship of the Academy of Law comprises elected Fellows, who are persons of exceptional distinction in the discipline of law who are demonstrably committed to the objects of the Academy.