Student symposium appraises access to justice

11 October 2011


Distinguished alumni of the Auckland Law School recently presented papers at their alma mater on the theme of “access to justice”.

The occasion was the second Auckland University Law Review Contributors' Symposium, inaugurated last year.

Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft talked about access to justice in the youth justice system, identifying "the good, the bad and the ugly"; Professor Margaret Wilson from Waikato University presented developments over the last 40 years of industrial relations law, focusing on the role of ideology in shaping the law; and John Katz QC, a barrister from Bankside Chambers talked about access to civil justice in commercial litigation, advocating a debate on the vexed issue of judicial specialisation.

Their contributions triggered lively debate, notably with the Chair, Justice Robert Chambers of the Court of Appeal.

About 70 people attended including AULR staff (current and former editors among them), Law Faculty staff, and members of the profession and the judiciary (including the Chief Justice).

The symposium, held on the evening of Friday 7 October, is designed to maintain the links between AULR and its alumni (former editors, contributors and staff), and to contribute to legal education in the law faculty.

The three papers delivered will be published as a special section of next year's Review. “This will be breaking new ground for AULR which has traditionally published only student work,” says Review Editor-in-Chief, Benedict Tompkins.

The symposium allowed plenty of time for student participation, and some excellent questions were asked, reports Benedict. “The students will have come away with new knowledge and awareness of legal issues and controversies.”

The AULR provides “huge benefits” for the students involved, he says. “Being an editor improves your legal research and writing skills, and gives you the chance to meet a group of like-minded law students. It is also recognised in New Zealand and overseas (particularly North America) as a valuable feature of any CV.”