The Asian Law Centre (ALC) commenced activities in 1985 and is the first and largest Australian centre devoted to the development of our understanding of Asian law and legal systems. Recent initiatives have also aimed to promote interest from within the region and in the other legal systems in Asia and the Australian legal systems and law.
The Centre has pioneered extensive programs of teaching and research on the laws and legal systems of Japan, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Islamic law, East Timor and the Philippines. It has worked also in Korea, Thailand, Laos and on Islamic, traditional and customary law in Australia's region. This website is intended as a resource for scholars, practitioners and the general community who are interested in the legal systems of Asia.
Since the Centre was established, Directors have included:
- 1985-2000: Professor Malcolm Smith
- 2000-2012: Professor Tim Lindsey AO
- 2013-2017: Professor Pip Nicholson
- 2018-current: Professor Sarah Biddulph
Seminars and Conferences
The ALC hosts an interesting and challenging program of activities, including student workshops and seminars such as the Occasional Seminar Series, the Brown Bag Seminar Series and Asian Legal Dialogues. The ALC also hosts regular conferences on Asian law-related areas of study.
Australian Journal of Asian Law
The ALC jointly publishes the Australian Journal of Asian Law with the University of Washington at Seattle and the Australian National University. A peer-refereed scholarly journal, the AJAL is edited from Melbourne and is now a leading forum for debate for scholars and professionals concerned with the laws and legal cultures of Asia.
Asian Law Online (ALO)
Asian Law Online is the first and only online bibliographic database of Asian law materials in the world. Offered to the public as a free service to assist students, scholars and practitioners of Asian legal systems, Asian Law Online is a collection of English language materials on Asian laws available throughout the world and includes books, chapters in books, journal articles and theses.
The database is organised according to countries in East Asia and a selection of basic subject areas, not only confined to law. It can be searched for any word or a more specific advanced search can be conducted. Locations of sources are also provided. Links to hundreds of useful websites are also provided, which are classified by countries and legal topics.
The ALC is associated with a number of research projects on topics such as Reforms in China, Islamic law, Dispute Resolution and Media Law.
Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society
The Asian Law Centre works closely with the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society (CILIS). CILIS aims to create a global centre of excellence for research on Indonesian law, governance and legal culture at the University of Melbourne with a particular focus on the state legal system, Islamic legal traditions and their relationships to Indonesian society. It also aims to improve Australian understandings of Indonesia and Islam, both within the University and throughout the wider community.
The Centre's objectives are to:
- Improve knowledge and understanding of the laws of our region
- Support the rule of law in Asia
- Promote teaching and research on Asian legal systems in Australia, Asia and elsewhere
- Promote the development of Asian studies and Asian languages in other disciplines, and to encourage links with legal studies
- Promote the importance of comparative law in Asian legal studies and research
- Promote knowledge exchange of staff and students between the Melbourne Law School and Asian universities and institutions
- Provide networking opportunities between the Melbourne Law School and Asian Universities