About the Society

New Zealand Society for Legal and Social Philosophy

The New Zealand Society for Legal and Social Philosophy was formed in 1982. Its primary object is: “To promote the study and informed discussion of philosophical problems of law and social organization and of the relationship between law and society through meetings publications and conferences.”  The Society has always taken a very broad view of the scope of legal and social philosophy.  The primary activity of the Society is meetings of the branches, which usually involve the delivery and discussion of a paper, but sometimes involve panel discussions on legal or social issues of current interest.

The New Zealand Society for Legal and Social Philosophy maintains close contact with the Australian Society for Legal Philosophy, a sister organization.  This holds annual conferences in different Australian centres, with invited international speakers.  Members of the New Zealand Society are welcome to attend these and details will be circulated to members from time to time. In 2006, a very successful annual conference of the ASLP was organized by the NZ Society and held in Auckland alongside a conference of the International Society for Legal Ethics.  The New Zealand Society hopes to hold such joint conferences from time to time in the future.

The New Zealand Society was incorporated as a charitable trust in 1986 (as a trust for educational purposes) and granted charitable status for tax purposes in 1991.

Initially, the society had two branches: one in Wellington and one in Auckland, within the Universities of Victoria and Auckland University, respectively.  Currently, it has active branches in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, centred on the University of Auckland, Otago University and Victoria University of Wellington.  

Members of the Society include judges, legal academics, academics from philosophy, political studies and other disciplines, practicing lawyers and students.  Anyone interested in becoming a member should contact the Secretary of their local branch.  Casual attendance at meetings is encouraged, but anyone attending regularly should consider becoming a member.  The annual subscriptions are modest and information is available on the website.

Members can join a branch, and hence be members of the New Zealand Society, so that they are kept in touch with the Society’s activities, even if there is not a branch of the Society where they live.  The Constitution also allows new branches to be established in any centre in which there is appropriate interest.  Anyone wanting more details about this should contact the Society.


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