The Rule of Law in Context: Australia

Date & time
1–2pm Wednesday 20 October 2021


Dr Gabrielle Appleby
Professor Megan Davis
Law Marketing Team
ANU College of Law Visitor Seminar

Part of the ANU College of Law Visitors Seminar Series series

Image: Dr Gabrielle Appleby and Professor Megan Davis

ANU College of Law is delighted to virtually welcome Professor Gabrielle Appleby, UNSW Law, and Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and Balnaves Chair for Constitutional Law, UNSW Law.

They will be presenting a book project in development on the Rule of Law in Context in Australia (part of a new series with Hart Publishing). The ‘rule of law’ concept has different meanings, uses and instantiations across the world’s legal systems. In Australian legal and political spheres it becomes even more complicated with claims to state sovereignty and rule of law in a system that has an incoherent legal foundation in its intentional ignorance of, and arbitrary violence perpetrated against, First Nations, their sovereignty and law. Join Professors Appleby and Davis as they explain their project, which examines the rule of law in Australia as it is experienced: beyond the claims (and celebrations) of colonial rule of law achievements, constitutional promises and protections of rule of law and the relationship between rule of law and the Australian commitment to judicial legalism. The book will canvass a diverse spectrum of rule of law achievements and failures from the lived experiences of those who engage with the Australian legal system, with a particular focus on that of First Nations people.


  • Dr Gabrielle Appleby »

    Image: Dr Gabrielle Appleby

    Dr Gabrielle Appleby is a Professor at the Law Faculty of University of New South Wales (Sydney). She researches and teaches in public law, with her areas of expertise including the role, powers and accountability of the Executive; parliamentary law and practice; the role of government lawyers; and the integrity of the judicial branch. She is the Director of The Judiciary Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, the constitutional consultant to the Clerk of the Australian House of Representatives and a member of the Indigenous Law Centre. Gabrielle was the founding editor of Australia’s national public law blog, AUSPUBLAW ( and Australia’s Indigenous Constitutional Law Blog ( In 2015-2018, Gabrielle was a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project, Law, Order and Federalism, looking at the effects of the High Court’s chapter III jurisprudence on State government law and order policy development. In 2016-2017, she worked as a pro bono constitutional adviser to the Regional Dialogues and the First Nations Constitutional Convention that led to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Her books include The Judge, The Judiciary and the Court: Individual, Collegial and Institutional Judicial Dynamics in Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Judicial Federalism in Australia (Federation Press, 2021), Australian Public Law (3rd ed, Oxford University Press, 2018), The Role of the Solicitor-General: Negotiating Law, Politics and the Public Interest (Hart Publishing, 2016); The Critical Judgments Project: Re-reading Monis v The Queen (Federation Press, 2016) and The Tim Carmody Affair (NewSouth Publishing, 2016). Gabrielle has also spent time working for the Queensland Crown Solicitor and the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office.

  • Professor Megan Davis »

    Image: Professor Megan Davis

    Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and Balnaves Chair for Constitutional Law, UNSW Law. She is a constitutional lawyer who researches in public law and public international law. Her current research focuses on constitutional design, democratic theory and Indigenous peoples. In 2015 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Referendum Council and designed the deliberative constitutional dialogue process the Council undertook. In 2011, Megan was also appointed to the Prime Minister's Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution. She is the Chair of the UN Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is a member of the NSW Sentencing Council and an Australian Rugby League Commissioner. Professor Davis was Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, UNSW Law from 2006-2016. Professor Davis is formerly Chair and expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2011-2016). Professor Davis has extensive experience as an international lawyer at the UN and participated in the drafting of the UNDRIP from 1999-2004 and is a former UN Fellow of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team