In 2019, the Council of Australian Law Deans established a prestigious national award scheme for the legal academic discipline, the Australian Legal Research Awards (‘ALRA’). The principal objective of the ALRA scheme is to encourage, recognise and promote research excellence and innovation in the discipline of law by Australian legal scholars. Other objectives include to:
- enhance and promote the shared identity of law as a distinct academic discipline within the Australian Academy;
- create a national recognition pathway for legal academics to be able to concretely demonstrate the contribution and quality of their work;
- disseminate the diverse high-quality research being undertaken by Australian legal academics; and
- provide a visible platform to celebrate legal research that can be effectively projected beyond the legal discipline to the Australian and international Academy.
The ALRA Scheme is funded by CALD, and is administered with the cooperation and support of the Law Associate Deans Research Network (LADRN). The Scheme relies upon the volunteer support of a large number of legal academics across Australia in the peer-to-peer assessment of applications.
The initial iteration of the Scheme will see awards in five categories, recognising the different forms of research excellence, and the distinct stages of an academic career. It is intended that in subsequent years further award categories may be added. Similarly, it is envisaged that a sister Scheme will be established to recognise excellence in legal teaching.