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The Australian Association of Constitutional Law (AACL) was formed in 1998, and today is a dynamic forum for scholars, practitioners and students of constitutional law throughout Australia, as well as from other countries.
The objectives of the AACL are to:
- develop and promote the discipline of constitutional law in Australia;
- support teaching, research and the practice of the law which relates to the discipline;
- provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and information between practitioners, teachers, students and other interested persons regarding the discipline;
- increase public awareness and understanding of the discipline; and
- liaise with other bodies in the promotion of any of the above objects.
The AACL has some 300 members, drawn from the judiciary, practising solicitors and barristers, academics and, since 2018, we have opened our membership to students. We encourage anyone with an interest in Australian constitutional law to become a member. Details of membership can be found here.
Members receive access to the AACL newsletter, which includes information about upcoming AACL events, and updates on the most recent constitutional cases in the High Court of Australia, other Australian court decisions concerning constitutional issues and a selection of other national superior courts, as well as other significant constitutional updates. It includes links to recent blog posts and publications in the discipline.
Members are also welcome to propose, participate in and attend AACL lectures, seminars and other events. Our activities are a way to build and maintain a strong community of constitutional law scholars, practitioners and students.
The AACL functions through State chapters. Each Chapter organises events within their State, including in some cases in conjunction with other organisations.
The AACL awards the annual Saunders Prize for Excellence in Scholarship in Constitutional Law (the only award in the field in Australia). The Prize is named in honour of Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders AO, in recognition of her exceptional eminence in constitutional law and her leadership in the creation of the AACL. The prize is awarded to the author of an article in an Australian legal journal which reflects the highest standards of research and scholarship.
The AACL supports annual national constitutional law events, such as:
1. The Sir Harry Gibbs Constitutional Law Moot, being an eminent Australian moot for tertiary students. Each year it attracts teams from 15-20 universities to participate in a 3-day competition, culminating in a grand final moot before a panel of current and former High Court, Federal and State judges.
2. The Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner, organised by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre for Public Law, at the University of NSW: http://www.gtcentre.unsw.edu.au/, which takes place immediately after the Public Law in the Classroom Workshop.
AACL members are active within Australia, through frequent participation as expert witnesses before, and authors of submissions to, Parliamentary and other enquiries; media appearances to explain constitutional issues; as well as their professional involvement as judges, academics and practitioners.
AACL members are also active internationally, through the IACL. The current IACL President Adrienne Stone is a former AACL President, as was former IACL President Cheryl Saunders. AACL members convened and participated in several of the Workshops at the recent World Congress and participate in several of the IACL Research Groups.
Please feel free to contact Elisa Arcioni, the AACL Secretary, with any queries, comments or to learn more about the AACL and how to participate in its activities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elisa Arcioni is an Associate Professor of Public Law at the University of Sydney Law School.
Photographs from a recent event organised by the AACL: 'Law and Religious Freedom: Balancing Freedom of Religion with Freedom from Religion'
Credit: photo credits to James Pattison (Monash Faculty of Law media communications specialist)