Photo of the online colloquium on trust participants
Colloquium attendees

On 1 May and 8 May 2020, the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre was delighted to host around 30 online participants for its Researchers’ Colloquium on Trust.

The event, which aimed to provide a research-based foundation for understanding the importance of trust for the Australian legal system, brought together academics from 12 Australian universities and representatives from four Victorian Government agencies.

Trust has become an even more relevant issue in light of COVID-19. 

Day 1 of the colloquium provided a broader overview of the concept of trust as viewed by social scientists. Sessions included how social scientists define and measure trust, and trust and organisational leadership.

Day 2 focused on trust in Australian courts, and featured discussions on the following topics:

  • how the justice system can maintain trust while adapting and transforming itself via technology
  • whether, and why, we should trust government-managed technology like the COVIDSafe app
  • how stepping into the shoes of an ordinary court user can help reimagine how courts operate.

SZCC Director Professor Kathy Laster, together with SZCC Adjunct Professor Anne Wallace, co-convened the gathering, and SZCC Adjunct Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg AM chaired proceedings.

Professor Laster said:

“Trust is the single biggest issue of our time. This was true before COVID-19, but has become even more important now. The colloquium featured an expert group debating the evidence about trust. It provided legal academics and practitioners with the opportunity to discuss the implications of trust for reform and change of a dynamic justice system.”

The colloquium papers will be published in a special 2021 issue of the International Journal for Court Administration featuring contributors from across the two days.

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