Tackling the credibility crisis in empirical legal research

Tackling the Credibility Crisis in Empirical Legal Research
ACJI Social Sciences Week Webinar

Date: Thursday 7 September
Time: 12:30pm - 2:00pm

Location: Zoom Webinar (Online only)

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Empirical research methods have a growing presence in legal research. These include making the case for reforms, investigating law in action, and evaluating the impact of interventions. The appetite for empirical findings is also strong: scholars, research partners, funders and graduate research students are all keen to bring empirical methods to bear on important questions about law and its operation. Still, methodological expertise is in short supply in law schools, and there are many barriers to high-quality empirical legal research. Are these the perfect conditions for a credibility crisis?

In this webinar, Dr Jason Chin (College of Law, Australian National University) will tackle the pressing problem of the credibility crisis affecting empirical legal research and what can be done to address it, including:

  • the prevalence and effects of questionable research practices in social science;
  • the challenges with peer review of empirical work in law and uptake of reforms to improve it;
  • the heightened duty of those conducting research that informs legal processes and reforms (as opposed to more theoretical research); and
  • the importance of transparency in reducing questionable research practices.

Presenter: Dr Jason Chin

Jason Chin studies the ways in which research informs the legal system, and particularly how that relationship can be improved. This includes making sure law relies on the most transparent and reliable psychology, forensic science, criminology, and empirical legal research. In law, this often applies to expert evidence and law reform.

Jason received a PhD in social psychology from the University of British Columbia, where he was a Killam Scholar and a JD from the University of Toronto. He also graduated cum laude from the University of Virginia with a BA in Psychology and Economics.

Prior to returning to academia, Jason practiced litigation at a large international law firm and was called to the bar in both New York and Ontario. His research has been featured in the New York Times and Sydney Morning Herald, and cited by the Court of Appeal for Ontario and by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

Host: Associate Professor Genevieve Grant, ACJI Director

Associate Professor Genevieve Grant is Director of the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation in the Law Faculty at Monash University. She is co-author of Luntz & Hambly's Torts: Cases, Legislation and Commentary (LexisNexis, 9th ed, 2021) and Victorian Statutory Compensation Systems (LexisNexis, 2021, with Jason Taliadoros).

Genevieve's research uses empirical methods to evaluate justice system performance, including the design and operation of dispute resolution, civil justice and injury compensation systems. This work cuts across the fields of dispute resolution, legal technology, injury compensation, legal ethics and health law.

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