Time in Law – Law in Time, Melbourne

The 10th Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory

Melbourne Law School, 7 – 8 December 2017

Time and Law

‘Time is time and runs away, though sages disagree’, T. S. Eliot once wrote. As the Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory reaches its 10th anniversary, this year’s forum embarks on an exploration of conversations around law and time.

Time is everywhere in law. Whether in procedural deadlines, in criminal sentences, in legal concepts, histories or intertemporal law, law exists within time. Yet law also generates temporalities and creates legal time through actions, techniques, objects and concepts. In this sense, just as law may be placed within time, time may be conceived as a result of law’s effects.


In thinking about law and time, we are interested in how the making of law and the making of time are connected. We invite papers from anyone interested in time or temporality in different areas of legal research.

The 10th annual Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory will be held at the Melbourne Law School on 7-8 December 2017.

The Forum brings together postgraduate research students and early career researchers, who, across various disciplines and diverse fields of scholarship, engage with law and its political, theoretical and methodological questions.

The Forum provides a collegial and supportive intellectual community for exploring interdisciplinary encounters with law. We will collaborate with participants to structure the Forum to promote engaged conversations about each other’s work and broader themes, using a variety of approaches such as plenary panels, small group discussions and reading groups.


We are thrilled to announce Emily Graham (Kent Law School), Olivia Barr (Melbourne Law School) and Matthew Craven (SOAS, London) as keynote speakers for the Forum.

The cross-disciplinary work of these scholars and teachers engages with the social sciences, history and jurisprudence, and addresses topics including labour, place, empire and time. Their work contributes to thinking about the material life of law and what it means to be a scholar in ‘our times’. All keynote speakers will participate throughout the Forum and engage with the participants’ work.


We invite contributions from anyone who is interested in law and time. Some possible questions to stimulate reflection are:

  • What theoretical or methodological problems does the consideration of time raise in your research
  • How do diverse laws, techniques or methodologies generate different legal temporalities?•How do we relate temporality, spatiality and law?
  • Can thinking differently about time change the way we think about law, history, politics or society
  • Bring your own questions and research…

We welcome early expressions of interest and intend to finalise the format of the Forum together with the selected participants and based on their interests.

How to apply

Please send abstracts (500 words) and a short biography to law-mdflt@unimelb.edu.au by 11 June 2017.

Papers of 3000-5000 words will be due by 1 November 2017.

Some limited funding support for travel expenses will be available for interstate and international presenting participants who are unable to claim sufficient funding from their home institution.

Please indicate in your application if you would like to be considered for funding support.

The Law, Literature and Humanities Conference will be held in Melbourne, co-hosted by the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, in the days immediately following the Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory, for those interested in attending both events.

Forum Organisers: Andrea Leiter, Tobias Barkley, Luís Bogliolo and Marnie Lloydd.

More information about the Forum can be found here.