Occasional Seminars

2013 Seminars

Dr Diana Eades - Linguistic challenges to/in/for police interviews with partial speakers of English - 11 August

Dr Diana Eades

Dr Diana Eades specialises in critical sociolinguistics, language in the legal process, and intercultural communication, particularly involving Australian Aboriginal people who speak varieties of English. She has more than 25 years experience in research, teaching and practical applications of her scholarly work.  Dr Eades is a popular speaker to a diverse range of professional groups interested in intercultural communication with Aboriginal people, and communication practices within the legal process.  She has provided expert evidence in courts and tribunals in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory (for example in the cases of Western Australia v Gibson 2014, and Wotton v State of Queensland 2015). Her work is cited as the authority on Aboriginal English in the legal system in government reports, judicial decisions and legal publications. Dr Eades is also co-convenor of the Communication of Rights Group. In November 2015 the Communication of Rights Group release Guidelines for Communicating Rights to Non-Native Speakers of English in Australia, England and Wales and the USA


Linguistic challenges to/in/for police interviews with partial speakers of English *

The case of a young Aboriginal man from the most remote community in Australia highlights what is involved for people who speak a traditional language as their first and main language to understand and invoke their rights in a police interview (Western Australia v Gibson WASC 2014).

The case also demonstrates how the law needs to pay attention to:

  • different types of English proficiency,
  • the provision of competent interpreting assistance,
  • problems which result from expecting a suspect's interview friend to provide support to the suspect while "helping" the police to explain interview rights, and
  • cultural and linguistic factors which impact the interpretation of monosyllabic answers in such an interview situation.

Expert evidence given by four linguists in the pre-trial hearing in Gibson’s case was central to the defence challenge to the admissibility of the police interviews. This linguistic evidence was embraced by the judge in his reasons for ruling the interviews as inadmissible. The talk will conclude with an outline of specific and general developments since this case which are addressing linguistic challenges for the police in their interviews with suspects who are partial speakers of English. 

*This paper was also presented in the UNE Linguistics Seminar Series in March 2016.

Mr Peter Hughes - Regulating Asylum Decisionmaking in Australia - 24 September

Decision-making on asylum cases in Australia is a complex business and one of the most highly contested areas of administrative law over the last decade. Successive waves of maritime asylum seekers in the early 2000s and since 2008 have added to the inherent challenges in this form of decision-making. Peter Hughes will discuss the dilemmas in regulating asylum decision-making, the highly interventionist approach that has been taken by successive governments, the impacts of those interventions and likely future directions.

Dr. Xiaobo Zhao - The Making of Contaminated Land Law in China: Global Approaches vs Chinese Features - 29 August

Land contamination is a global phenomenon. Over the past few decades, China has experienced rapid economic growth accompanying with the industrialization and urbanization process. Land contamination, as a 'negative heritage' of industrialization, has been neglected throughout the country's industrialization process. Most recently, major incidents of large-scale land contamination in China soon raised further concerns about the broader, longer-term impacts of such pollution. Under this context, awareness has emerged in Chinese society that a national environmental legal regime for contaminated land should be promptly developed. A number of theoretical issues have to be clarified for such purpose. Among others, the way to define the 'contaminated sites', the establishment of contaminated land management system, the liability schemes and financing instruments for remediating and redeveloping the contaminated sites are need to be addressed under this regime. This research discusses the common approaches that have been practiced in other jurisdictions, such as the UK and the US, and looks at what approaches could benefit China to address its own problems.

The Honourable Justice David Hammerschlag - 31 July

Short Bibliography

Justice Hammerschlag was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.  After matriculating at the age of 15 he attended the University of the Witwatersrand, first graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and then with a Bachelor of Laws.  He did his articles of clerkship with a leading commercial firm where he was later admitted to partnership. 

He did two years full time compulsory military service in the South African Defence Force including a period as a military law advisor in which capacity he appeared in numerous courts martial.  He was called to the South African Bar in 1982. 

He emigrated with his wife and two young children to Australia in 1986, and re-qualified in New South Wales by way of Solicitors Admission Board examinations.  He worked for the law firm now known Herbert Smith Freehills (then Freehill Hollingdale and Page) and was admitted to the partnership in 1988. 

He was called to the New South Wales Bar in 1991 and took silk in 2000.  He was a founder member and later Chairman of 11 St James Hall Chambers.  He appeared in major commercial disputes and white collar criminal prosecutions, and in the HIH and Orange Grove Royal Commissions.

He was appointed to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2007 and sat initially in the General List of the Equity Division.  He was appointed Corporations List Judge in 2008 and head of the Commercial List and the Technology and Construction List in 2009.  He is also the Commercial Arbitration List Judge.  He has sat on the Court of Appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeal.