2008 - 2012 Seminar List

2012 Seminar List

Aileen Kennedy - Legal regulation of genital 'normalising' surgery on intersex children - 25 September

'Intersex' is an umbrella term used to describe a range of conditions whereby a person is born with biological characteristics (chromosomes, gonads, genitals) that are a mixture of male and female. An intersex person may have the biological attributes of both sexes or lack some of the biological attributes considered necessary to be defined as one or the other sex. A percentage of intersex people are born with genitals which are 'ambiguous' – which cannot be clearly assigned as male or female. From the 1950s until the mid 1990s, the medical treatment protocol for intersex which produced ambiguous genitalia was to perform surgery before the child was 2 years old, in order to make the genitals appear more unambiguously male or female. Current treatment protocols continue to recommend genital 'normalising' surgery, though with less enthusiasm and more caution. This paper considers the legal regulation of such treatment, and argues the possibility that these surgeries are being performed without appropriate legal consent or authority.

Patrick Shepherdson - Just Healing - 11 May

Patrick Shepherdson has an extensive background in the NSW criminal justice system, most recently as Assistant Director, Crime Prevention with the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice. In addition to management of the NSW legislatively-based crime prevention planning and funding program, Patrick established and managed a number of Aboriginal crime prevention initiatives, including the $1 million statewide Aboriginal Community ('night') Patrols program. Since establishing a consultancy in late 2010, Patrick has developed a number of crime prevention strategies in urban, regional and remote communities. He has worked on a number of national projects with Urbis research including research on legal support afforded to Native Title groups, focus testing of a national violence-prevention media campaign targeting young Indigenous people and a study exploring the feasibility of establishing a national training institute for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation. The paper 'Just Healing' is informed by research undertaken towards completion of a Masters Degree in Criminology at the University of Sydney.

His paper is about how a growing body of research recognises the relationship between past Australian government policy and practice and the drastic over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system. Similarly, numerous studies informed by consultation with Aboriginal people identify the relationship between colonisation, dispossession and child removal policies and epidemic levels of violence, abuse and addiction. Given these reports all suggest a need for healing as a priority to address the grief and trauma that continues to lead Aboriginal people into the criminal justice system, recent evaluations of Indigenous sentencing courts were considered to explore whether they facilitate or support healing. Analysis of the evaluations of two Australian Indigenous sentencing courts suggests that while they have had no discernible impact on Aboriginal re-offending rates, they may in fact support community and individual healing in some regards. However it also suggests the programs' potential will remain unrealised unless they look beyond the administration of justice and better acknowledge the relationship between Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing and over-representation in the criminal justice system.

J Kim Wright - The Integrative Law Movement - 4 May

A graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, she has been licensed as a lawyer since 1989. She has been licensed in North Carolina since 1994.

Kim is a leader of the integrative law movement that is focused on collaboration, problem-solving, peace-making and healing conflict. In November of 2009, the American Bar Association named Kim as one of the 50 Legal Rebels who are "finding new ways to practice law, represent their clients, adjudicate cases and train the next generation of lawyers." The ABA also invited Kim to write a book and in April, 2010, Lawyers as Peacemakers, Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law was published. It was named one of the ABA's Flagship Series and was on the ABA best-seller list for seven months.

What if lawyers were peacemakers, problem-solvers and healers of conflicts?  What if the purpose of law is to design, manage and heal relationships?  If the legal system reflected the shift in societal values, what would it look like?  How can lawyers create satisfying careers that allow them to make a difference, earn a living and have a satisfying life?

These are some of the questions of the Integrative Law Movement, a shift in the legal paradigm.

The integrative law movement contains many models and practices. Some practices, such as peacemaking circles, are traditional, ancient models which originated among tribal societies. Others, like problem-solving courts, are more recent developments. At times, seemingly identical new models have arisen in different geographic areas. Different names developed, some of which are still used in making reference to the movement. Integrative law has been or is sometimes called: comprehensive law, renaissance law, transformational law, visionary law, conscious lawyering, holistic law or holistic justice, creative lawyering, and relationship based lawyering.

Some people may also have heard of movement by the names of the many models and practice perspectives which fall under the integrative law umbrella including: collaborative law, restorative justice, transformative mediation, creative problem-solving in law, lawyers as peacemakers, lawyers as healers (law as a healing profession), sharing law, social-entrepreneurship law, preventive law, community lawyering, problem-solving and collaborative courts, including drug courts, veteran's courts, mental health courts.

By whatever name, the integrative law movement represents a shift away from the adversarial, analytical legal system to a system that takes the best values and lessons of the current system and adds human values and emotions, applied positive psychology, and a broader view of the stakeholders in the system.  Integrative law recognizes that legal problems and controversies do not arise in a vacuum but are part of complex, inter-related systems.

John R Morss - Law and the struggle against facts - 27 April

The profession of law is focused on a respect for facts even or especially when the facts are unwelcome to a client or to an advocate. The academic discipline of law also finds itself dealing with what it considers to be facts. Drawing on a range of somewhat disparate but overlapping examples and contexts, my presentation seeks to raise questions about our ambivalent approach to facts. A number of the examples relate directly or indirectly to international law, where the facts encountered include geopolitical and historical facts. Other areas discussed include aspects of legal philosophy.

Professor John Tarrant - Automatic disqualification for financial interest: was Kirby right after all? - 13 April

When the courts initially developed the law in relation to disqualification of judges for bias they did so by focusing on circumstances where a judge had a financial interest in the case. The courts appeared to adopt a strict rule that where a judge had an interest in the case the judge was automatically disqualified. However, in Ebner v Official Trustee in Bankruptcy (2000) 205 CLR 337 a majority of the High Court of Australia decided that an automatic disqualification rule had in fact never been adopted by the courts and that any disqualification for interest should be determined on the basis of whether or not an apprehension of bias arose from the interest held. Kirby J was critical of the majority accusing them of effectively rewriting history. A number of important Australian and English cases were not drawn to the attention of the High Court in Ebner and these cases strongly support the position adopted by Kirby J. The presentation will outline the decision in Ebner and the importance of the cases not considered by the High Court.

Allan Asher - Ombudsman: Champion of the people? - 30 March

Allan Asher, former Commonwealth Ombudsman, will be talking about developments in public administration and accountability and in particular the ethical challenges and dilemmas confronting public servants who bring strong social justice commitments to their role.

Allan Asher is outspoken consumer advocate and campaigner for nearly 40 years. He was Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 1988-2000. At the end of his term the ACCC was engaged in some 53 civil and criminal prosecutions in the Federal Court of Australia. He had a special concern for e-commerce and global information technology matters. From 2001 to 2010 he worked in a range of senior positions as a consumer advocate in the UK and Australia including as CEO of Energy Watch UK. He was Commonwealth Ombudsman from 2010 – 2011. On October 2011 Asher resigned after it was revealed that he provided questions for Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to ask him during a Senate Committee hearing in May. The questions were designed to highlight inadequate funding for his office and problems with immigration detention centres.

2011 Seminar List

Dr Laura Grenfell - Promoting the rule of law in post-conflict states: A case study of Timor Leste - 7 October

Dr Laura Grenfell will discuss how the international community promotes the rule of law in post-conflict states, using Timor-Leste as a case study. In particular, the seminar will examine the challenge of legal pluralism in this context.

Professor Geoffrey Lindell - The High Court and Constitutional Change - 18 August

The High Court is an important agent for change in Australia's federal system. Professor Lindell intends to address how far constitutional change should be brought about by the High Court as distinct from the people and the Australian Parliament under s128 of the Australian Constitution, by examining:

(i) whether the High Court exceeded limits imposed by constitutional texts on the expansion of Commonwealth legislative power by judicial interpretation, as well as having, as has been alleged, contradicted the intentions of the framers, in the Work Choices Case (2006) 229 CLR 1;

(ii) provide his appraisal of remarks made by Sir Victor Windeyer J in the Payroll Tax Case (1971) 122 CLR 353 at p 396 (relied on in Work Choices Case (2006) 229 CLR 1 at [193] which suggested that the landmark Engineers Case (1920) 28 CLR 129, in which the High Court rejected the doctrine of the reserved powers of the States, was a consequence of developments which occurred outside the courts; and

(iii) the High Court's rejection of an implied general Bill of Rights, as distinct from the few rights expressly guaranteed in the Constitution and those implied from the text and structure of that document.

He will seek to justify the comparatively low level of judicially protected federalism by reference to both legal and political considerations – and likewise with the rejection of an implied Bill of Rights as distinct from "rights" implied from the text and structure of the Constitution such as the freedom of political communication. By "political" he means the general acquiescence if not the agreement of the people as a whole in relation to the High Court's interpretation of the Constitution. His main argument is that the High Court should generally be supported in its approach on these matters because of its adherence to orthodox principles of constitutional interpretation which he believes have a sound basis; and also because the Court is likely to have been in tune with what the general public wanted and did not want although that is not itself a relevant legal consideration which the Court is entitled to rely on in applying the same principles of interpretation.

Mark Tedeschi QC - 11 August

Mark Tedeschi MA LLB is the Senior Crown Prosecutor for New South Wales. He is the Head of Chambers of the 84 Crown Prosecutors. He is also the President of the Australian Association of Crown Prosecutors and a Visiting Professor at the University of Wollongong. Mark became a barrister in 1977, a Crown Prosecutor in 1983, a Queen's Counsel in 1988, a Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor in 1990, and the Senior Crown Prosecutor in 1997. He has prosecuted some of the most significant trials in New South Wales, including: Ivan Milat, Neddy Smith, the murderers of Dr Victor Chang, Philip Bell, Dolly Dunn, Phuong Ngo, Kathleen Folbigg, Sef Gonzales, Bruce Burrell, Gordon Wood, Desmond Campbell and Keli Lane. In 2004 Mark went to Fiji to prosecute the Vice-President and five other prominent citizens for taking treasonous oaths of office during the coup led by George Speight. In 2006, he went to Fiji to prosecute Maj Gen Sitiveni Rabuka on incitement to mutiny charges. Mark has been extensively involved in the training of prosecutors in many parts of Southeast Asia. In 2007, Mark was the Counsel Assisting the Coroner during the Inquest into the deaths of five Australian journalists at Balibo in East Timor during the Indonesian invasion in 1975. Mark is the author of a book on international trade law and has had published numerous articles on commercial law, environmental law, social welfare law, mental health law, criminal law, genealogy and history. Mark is also a very keen photographer. He has held numerous exhibitions and his photographs are included in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National library in Canberra, and the State Library of New South Wales. Mark's other interests are bushwalking, genealogy and travel. MA LLB is the Senior Crown Prosecutor for New South Wales. He is the Head of Chambers of the 84 Crown Prosecutors. He is also the President of the Australian Association of Crown Prosecutors ´and a Visiting Professor at the University of Wollongong.

David Brennan - Is Copyright Infringement Not Causing Lost Sales Harmless? - 7 July

Data gathered to illustrate the economic harm caused by copyright infringement is sometimes regarded with skepticism. In particular it is said that an infringement does not necessarily amount to a lost sale, and therefore is not economic harm. This paper queries that skepticism, and asks whether it matters if an infringer downloader would never have paid for the content. In particular it will suggest that property (including intellectual property) has long been regarded as giving rise to special norms such that a type of per se or de jure harm arises when a person takes rather than bargains. This question will be explored in part through the recent damages decision in the case of Larrikin Music Publishing v EMI and it will observe that, as a minimum, courts have long ordered notional usage price damages against infringers - a position established at least as long ago as the 1867 English patent case of Penn v Jack.

Michelle Lim - Is Water Different From Biodiversity? Governance Principles for the Effective Management of Transboundary Resources - 21 June

The hydrologic linkages of international basins create common interests among their riparian states. Mechanisms for the cooperative management of water are required to ensure that water does not create national security issues. Governance principles are needed for the management of resources that occur across international boundaries. Previous work developed criteria for effective transboundary biodiversity conservation. The main outcome of this paper is a set of criteria for the management of transboundary water resources. This paper identifies the differences between transboundary biodiversity conservation and the management of transboundary water resources. The conclusion drawn from an examination of transboundary water management literature and practice is that most of the criteria developed for biodiversity are equally relevant for the management of transboundary water resources. Transferable lessons gained from the management experience of each resource are highlighted.

Emeritus Professor David Brown - The Limited Benefit of Prison in Controlling Crime - 18 May

Emeritus Professor David Brown taught Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Law, Criminal Justice, Crime Prevention, Community Corrections and Penology courses at the University of NSW in Sydney from 1974 to 2008. He is a co-author of the major and innovative Criminal Laws (1990), (2nd edn 1996) and (3rd edn 2001) (4th edn 2006) (5th edn 2011) which has become the leading student teaching text in criminal law in universities in NSW. He is very widely published across the broad areas of criminal law, criminal justice, criminology and penology, both in Australia and internationally. He has co-authored or co-edited 10 books; published 33 chapters in books, and over 100 articles in journals and in conference proceedings published; given 120 conference papers or public addresses all over the world; and is a regular media commentator on criminal justice issues.

Stephen Gageler SC - The Constitutionalisation of Australian Administrative Law - 14 March

Stephen Gageler commenced a five year term as Solicitor-General of Australia in September 2008. He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court in 1982 and as a barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1989. Mr Gageler was appointed Senior Counsel in 2000. He is a graduate of the Australian National University and has post graduate qualifications from Harvard University.

Nengye Liu - The Legal Constraints to the European Union’s Membership of the International Maritime Organization - 17 February

The presentation will focus on the relations between the European Union and the International Maritime Organization. First, it briefly describes the framework as well as the impressive development of European law in the field of maritime safety after the "Erika" (1999) and "Prestige" (2002) oil tanker spill disasters. Second, the EU's current status in the IMO and incentives for EU's accession to the IMO are discussed. Third, potential legal constraints to the EU's ambition of being a member of the IMO are analyzed. It argues that the EU will meet both internal (from EU Member States) and external (from other IMO Members) constraints, which can result in an almost impossible mission for the EU to join the IMO in the foreseeable future. It concludes that the EU may reinforce internal coordination process instead of joining the IMO to influence international decision making process within the IMO more effectively.

Nengye Liu graduated from Institute of International Law, Law School, Wuhan University, China in June 2007 as an outstanding graduate (Master of International Law). Since Nov 2007, Nengye has been a PhD candidate at the Department of Public International Law/Maritime Institute, Ghent University, on the topic of "Prevention of Vessel-Source Pollution, a Comparative Study between European Law and Chinese Law". His PhD research project is funded by Special Research Fund (BOF), Ghent University, and focuses on how the EU and China interact with as well as implement and enforce international law on vessel-source pollution in order to better protect the marine environment. Nengye Liu has several publications in international peer-viewed journals, such as The Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce and The Journal of International Maritime Law. Nengye Liu was the Co-convener of the Graduate Student Meeting, 8th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Annual Colloquium. In summer 2008, he was selected to participate in the 13th Rhodes Academy of Ocean Law and Policy, Greece, and also completed a two month traineeship in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

2010 Seminar List

Lieutenant Colonel David Freeman - The political issues and the legal basis surrounding the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan and the legal considerations for the ADF in Afghanistan - 11 October

This lecture will examine the political events from September 2001 that galvanised the United Nations into providing support to the fledgling Afghan Administration and the legal basis for the establishment of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in 2001, and in early 2002 the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).  It will also examine the legal basis under the United Nations Security Council Resolution(s) of the original involvement of ADF Special Forces as part of the Coalition on the War on Terror which entered Afghanistan in late 2001 for 12 months; only to return to Afghanistan in 2005 at the request of President Karzai to provide security in time for the first democratic elections to be held in 32 years.  And more recently, the ADF has assisted the Afghan Government with security to conduct its second parliamentary elections held in September 2010.  It will further examine the legal issues faced by the ADF, and the high standard of legal training given to the ADF in the Rules of Engagement, Targeting, and Detainee Operations.

The presentation then looks at the recent Paris Declaration in 2008, the strategic direction adopted by the Obama administration and the future course for Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel David Freeman originally studied Agricultural Economics at the University of New England in 1976.  He then commenced Law at the Queensland University of Technology in 1979 and was a member of Queensland University Regiment 1979-81 and an Officer Cadet at OCTU in 1985.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1984, and in 1985 was a Judge's Associate in the District Court of Queensland. In 1986, LTCOL Freeman was admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. Since completing his LL.B., LTCOL Freeman has completed postgraduate courses in criminology, International Politics, International Human Rights Law at the Universities of Sydney, New South Wales, Oxford and Queensland.  He is currently undertaking a PhD in International Humanitarian Law.
In 1987, LTCOL Freeman was commissioned as a Captain into the Australian Army Legal Corps.  Over a twenty-three year career LTCOL Freeman has served in a broad range of Headquarter, Training and Operational postings and has deployed overseas on five occasions.  His deployments include East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan where he variously provided advice to Command on human rights abuses, Rules of Engagement, Targeting and Detainee issues.  In 2001, LTCOL Freeman was one of three delegates chosen by the United Nations Association of Australia to be an International Observer for the first democratic elections ever held in East Timor.
LTCOL Freeman has been very active in professional civilian organisations such as the Red Cross, United Nations Association of Australia, the International Law Association and community works.  For his professional and community works LTCOL Freeman has received Australian and international awards including Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (1996) and Knight of Honour in the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem (2008).  He received the Chief of Army's Commendation in 2003 for his work In East Timor and CHOGM. In 2009, he received the Outstanding Alumni award from the QUT Law Faculty and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the QUT Law and Justice Research Centre.

Michelle Lim - Beyond International Law: Transboundary Biodiversity Conservation in Central Asia and Borneo - 26 August

Conservation scientists stress the importance of ecosystem approaches for biodiversity conservation. Further, many sites that merit conservation straddle the 220000km that make up the world's international land borders. Transboundary cooperation provides a valuable means of combining and coordinating biodiversity conservation efforts at a transnational scale. State practice and academic commentary however lack detailed consideration of the principles of International Law that apply to biodiversity conservation in terrestrial transboundary ecosystems. This seminar examines existing transboundary law and two key biodiversity MEAs (the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)). From this it is argued that international law is currently inadequate for transboundary biodiversity conservation.

The underdeveloped nature of international law is compounded by the fact that collaboration between adjacent states for transboundary biodiversity conservation occurs on a largely ad-hoc, case-specific basis without adherence to uniform standards or guidelines. Acknowledging this gap, this paper also addresses the governance issues for biodiversity conservation in transboundary mountain ecosystems. To achieve meaningful biodiversity conservation outcomes across international boundaries, integrative legal approaches are required. Such approaches need to incorporate the disciplines of governance and conservation science. Thus, this seminar examines 'how to make the law work' across international and disciplinary boundaries. This research combines an extensive review of the Transboundary Protected Area (TBPA) and Transboundary Natural Resource Management (TBNRM) literature with a critical reflection involving two case studies. The first case study is located in the Pamir-Alai Mountains of Central Asia. It involves the adjacent former Soviet nations of Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. The second occurs in the highlands of Borneo and includes the island's three countries: Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. This seminar elaborates on the particular challenges of each case study and the lessons learnt. From this a set of 11 criteria for effective transboundary biodiversity conservation have been developed. These 11 criteria are presented here. Michelle Lim is a PhD candidate in the Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law. Michelle's PhD focuses on the legal and institutional requirements for biodiversity conservation across international boundaries. Her research is linked to a United Nations transboundary project in the Pamir Mountains between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Michelle facilitated a workshop on legal and policy development for project's national teams while in Tajikistan from April to May 2010. She also participated in meetings of local community leaders and an expert roundtable. This visit supplemented field work conducted in both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in 2009. Michelle has also examined The 'Heart of Borneo' transboundary biodiversity conservation project which involves Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Michelle's interests are in International Environmental Law, Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development. She obtained a double-degree in Science and Law with first-class honours from the University of New England in 2008. Michelle majored in Ecosystem and Natural Resource Management under the Science component of her degree. Her Law honours thesis questioned the adequacy of international law obligations for biodiversity conservation. Michelle gained a Diploma in Expedition Management in 2006 while assisting in Rapid Biodiversity Assessments in the Nguru South Mountain Forests of Tanzania. Further in 2007 Michelle was project manager of the Jane Goodall Institute's Mt. Kilimanjaro Community-Based Environmental Project.

Human Rights Symposium - 18 March

Human Rights Conversations – New Trends in Human Rights Protection from a European and Australasian Perspective in the John Dillon Lecture Theatre 4 (LT4), EBL Building. Justice Kirby will participate in this symposium together with Professor Bee Chen Goh from Southern Cross University and the Head of School of the School of Law at UNE Professor Jürgen Bröhmer.

The Honourable Michael Kirby - 18 March

Retired High Court Judge, The Honourable Michael Kirby, visited the School of Law at UNE and spoke about human rights three different events in Armidale on 18 March.

2009 Seminar List

Professor Michael Jeffrey, QC - Capture and Storage: Wishful Thinking or a Meaningful Part of the Climate Change Solution - 11 November

In the lead-up to the climate change negotiations  that are scheduled to take place in Copenhagen towards the end of 2009,  pursuant to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,  and in order to reach agreement on a post-Kyoto Protocol international  climate change regime, many countries around the globe are considering  the options available to them to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions  in a manner that will minimise the cost impacts to economies already battered from the onslaught of the 2008 global financial crisis. In addition to confronting a markedly changed geopolitical landscape including the election of a new administration in the United States under the Democrats and President Barack Obama, the ongoing military confrontation between Hamas and the Israelis in Gaza, an outbreak of terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and Iran drawing ever closer to the possible development of nuclear weapons, the international community is facing what is predicted by some to be the most severe and prolonged economic downturn since the 1930s and the Great Depression. The collapse of the banking systems in several countries Triggered, in part, by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States has inevitably led to a credit crisis around the globe as job layoffs are expected to climb throughout 2009 and into 2010. The impact of these events on the ability of the international community to address the climate change challenges  that lie ahead is fraught with uncertainty and the reluctance of the  world's major coal producers to abandon or curtail an industry of vital  economic importance in terms of both jobs and exports, has elevated  carbon capture and storage (CCS) to increasing levels of importance in  the consideration of available energy options. It remains to be seen  whether the attention and investment dollars presently committed to the  development of CCS technologies around the globe is warranted. This  address will endeavour to outline how CCS is currently viewed by  Australia and the European Union as part of their respective energy  strategies.

John Mancy - Animal Law: Why? - 3 September

"Animal Law". No doubt it's all very worthy. The Australian Law Reform Commission President Professor David Weisbrot thinks it might be "the next great social justice movement".

But is "Animal Law" (whatever it might entail?) worthy of "real" legal study? Does it warrant serious consideration for a place on a legal curriculum? After all, there is no "Animal Law" as such. Animal Law issues can crop up in almost any of the traditional legal disciplines. Could an Animal Law course – no matter how well conceived - provide any real benefits to students?

This seminar will look beyond the core content of a typical Animal Law course: History & Ethics; Animal Welfare legislation: interpretation and application, standing and enforcement; Use of animals as food, for clothing, entertainment or scientific experimentation; pets, pests and native wildlife. This seminar will consider whether, by engaging students in the subject matter by virtue of their personal connection to the issues being raised, Animal Law can lead them to a deeper understanding of the nature of the legal system. What constitutes a legal interest, what doesn't, and who decides these things and by what process?

Instead of dealing with subjects of an effectively abstract nature with which most law students might have had little personal experience, critical Animal Law questions arise in a very familiar and "real life" context, involving ordinary student behaviour (eg what they eat or wear) and the moral choices involved. Thus, students may be forced to confront and critique the way in which the legal system recognizes some interests at the expense of others.

Professor Don Rothwell - Capital Punishment and Diplomatic Protection: Australia's Experience in Responding to its Citizens in Peril - 14 July

Throughout the past decade Australia has been confronted with a number of challenges arising from its citizens being sentenced to death in overseas countries. In some instances, as with a number of Australians held in Vietnam, the Australian government has been successful in requesting that clemency be applied and the death sentence has been commuted. In other instances, such as the case of Van Nguyen in Singapore in 2005, the government's diplomatic efforts have failed. Currently, there are three Australians on death row in Indonesia; all members of the so-called Bali Nine who were arrested for drug trafficking offences in Bali in 2005. Whilst the Australians held in Bali had yet to exhaust their local judicial remedies, there is growing concern as to their plight and what options may ultimately be open to the Australian government to ensure the death penalty is not applied. This seminar will explore these issues, especially the rights and obligations the Australian government may have towards its citizens who are being detained overseas and in circumstances of peril. It will also review the position of successive Australian governments towards the death penalty.

Associate Professor Angus Corbett - The Missing Dimension of Safety: The Liability of Statutory Authorities for Failing to Prevent Harm Associated with the use of Roads - 25 June

Associate Professor Corbett's paper is concerned with the missing dimension of safety in the regulation of the use of roads. It investigates a number of well known cases that deal with the application of principles determining when statutory authorities will be liable for failing to prevent harm associated with the use of roads. This analysis reveals that it is often rational to limit liability of statutory authorities for failing to prevent harms associated with the use of roads. But it also reveals evidence that these authorities lack the capacity to develop safety systems that are needed to prevent many harms that are associated with the use of roads. The argument developed in this paper is that it is important for courts to acknowledge both the failure of statutory authorities to develop safety systems and the complexity of the task of establishing these safety systems. Acknowledging the complexity of the problem of improving safety will assist in creating a context in which governments, statutory authorities, community organisations and members of the public are able  probe our 'social structure and culture to see how these promote' our vulnerability to damage associated with complex systems such as roads.

Dr Jonathan Crowe - The Priority Of Contextual Meaning: A Theory of Judicial Interpretation - 19 May

Dr Crowe will argue that, in interpreting legal texts, judges should seek to give effect to their contextual meaning: the meaning they hold when considered in the full light of their broader social and moral context. He will argue first that, as a descriptive matter, contextual meaning is necessarily prior to any more restricted form of textual interpretation; that is, the contextual meaning of a legal text is its ordinary meaning. He will then advance two arguments for the proposition that, other things being equal, judicial interpretation of legal texts ought to follow their ordinary (or contextual) meaning. The final parts of his paper explore the nature and limitations of the contextualist model of judicial practice. The possibility of conflicts between contextual factors at different levels of abstraction makes it necessary to distinguish between narrow and wide versions of the contextualist methodology. He argues that wide contextualism offers the best overall account of judicial practice.

Professor Dr Dieter Dörr - The Tension between Ensuring and Protecting Personal Reputation and Free Speech: Comparative Perspectives - 19 March

Paper full title:

The Tension between Ensuring and Protecting Personal Reputation and Free Speech: Comparative Perspectives - An Overview of the German Constitutional Court's position on Defamation and Hate Speech under consideration of Art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights.

2008 Seminar List


2 OctoberDr Chris S RenschlerDecision-Support Tools for Integrated Natural Resources and GeoHazards Management: Scientific and Legal Challenges for Development and Implementation
23 July

Professor John Becker

Australian Water Law Reform: A Case Study for Reform of Water Law Systems

18 MarchMs Susan Franck

International Law and Empiricism: Reality Testing Claims About International Investment Disputes