April 2008

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Articles from the special electronic issue of the Flinders Journal of Law Reform, April 2008.


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    Contents Vol 10, Issue 3
    (Flinders University School of Law, 2008-04)
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    What Once Was Old Is New Again: Reviving An Early-Modern Form Of Interdisciplinarity For Socio-Legal Studies
    (Flinders Univeristy School of Law, 2008-04) Wickham, Gary ; Kendall, Gavin
    Socio-legal studies are an essentially interdisciplinary enterprise. However, there is currently only one form of interdisciplinarity that most socio-legal scholars (and criminologists) recognise and work with. This form is derived from the idea that 'society itself' - and by this most scholars mean ‘civil society’ - drives the law. However, another, rival understanding of society, which we term the authoritarian-liberal statist understanding that slipped from view in the late seventeenth century and remained obscure from then until now, may be used to generate another form of interdisciplinarity for socio-legal studies (and for criminology). However, this rival understanding of society does not simply allow us to reconfigure our notion of ‘society’; it radically changes the role society plays in relation to the law. Two crucial points emerge from this rival account: first, society can no longer be understood as separable from (even though interacting with) the law; and second, society can no longer be understood as driving the law.
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    Police Education Past and Present: Perceptions of Australian Police Managers and Academics
    (Flinders University School of Law, 2008-04) Trofymowych, Delaine
    In an effort to modernise police organisations and professionalise policing, it is becoming increasingly common for police today to obtain formal university qualifications. Within the Australian context, the National Police Professionalism Implementation Advisory Committee (NPPIAC) recommended in 1990 that police pursue full professional status reflecting national education standards underpinned by university qualifications. This paper explores, from a national perspective, key stakeholders’ perceptions about police university education and professionalism. Forty in-depth interviews were carried out with police managers and academics occupying pivotal positions in police education from across Australia. Both police managers and academics had generally favourable views towards university education for police and working together in the delivery of policing courses. However, in contrast to the NPPIAC recommendations, perspectives about the professional status of police and the actual role of university education in police organisations, differed. In addition, there were a variety of views about imposing mandatory requirements on police to complete university courses. This paper is part of a larger study into university education for police managers and presents the preliminary findings of one phase of the study.
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    Measuring Offender Discount Rates: An Overview of the Issues and a Suggested Methodology
    (Flinders University School of Law, 2008-04) Torre, Andrew
    Criminologists assert that some offenders exhibit impulsive behaviour. If this is correct then this impulsiveness will manifest itself through high discount rates. However discount rates are difficult to observe and measure. In this paper a methodology is proposed, which considerably reduces the complexity of this task, through observing the offender’s actual plea decision. This is a valuable exercise because the results can be usefully utilised in formulating policy as well as providing insights into offender psychology.
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    Legal Services and Neo-Liberalism in an Unequal Legal Order
    (Flinders University School of Law, 2008-04) Tomsen, Stephen
    In 1975 the landmark ‘Law and Poverty in Australia’ report (Sackville 1975a) sought to ensure substantive rather than formal equality before the law for all Australians. A fundamental aspect of its proposals was an extensive and innovative legal aid system with expanded public funding, with greater assistance in both conventional and new areas of legal need seen as a key in overcoming social disadvantage. By the 21st Century, the focus had shifted further away from the goal of substantive legal equality for all to the principle goal of cost efficiency. This paper details and analyses aspects of the historical shift from viewing legal needs as an issue of state welfare to a neo-liberal mode of governance in this sphere of policy, and the divided responses to these changes. It also considers the results for legal representation in criminal matters and the legal needs of indigenous Australians.
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    The USA PATRIOT Acts (et al): Collective Amnesia, Paranoia and Convergent, Oligarchic Legislation in the ‘Politics of Fear’
    (Flinders University School of Law, 2008-04) Thorne, Kym ; Kouzmin, Alexander
    Comparative analysis has been ignored in recent decades as the mantra of ‘convergence’ has taken hegemonic forms under globalisation and, more recently, under the exporting of a United States–inspired ‘exceptionalism’ within this Neo-liberal project. The ‘War on Terror’ provides an unusual window for ‘seeing’ real convergence in the largely ‘invisible’ manoeuvring over framing and re-framing of anti-terrorist legislation in the US, UK/Europe and Australia. A cursory, comparative glance at The USA PATRIOT Act 2001, The USA PATRIOT Act 2006, other legislative variations in the United Kingdom/European Union (UK/EU) and Australia, and Stalinist legislation - Article 58, Criminal Code of the RSFSR (1934) - provides uncomfortable reading and an interesting convergence in the use/abuse of the ‘politics of fear’. Within Neo-liberalism, arguably, the destruction of long standing civil and political rights in the name of defending such rights is surely an issue for future democratic account. The current irrelevance of Habeas Corpus in so-called Anglo-American democracies would have many a tyrant marvelling at the rapidly convergent, authoritarian behaviour of political oligarchs in Liberal-democratic societies and the actual de-legitimation of sovereignty and democratic values under the onslaught of hubris, propaganda and fear.