CIPL Monthly Talks - Does law constrain the external exercise of public power?

Date & time
12.15–1.15pm Tuesday 18 August 2015

Attorney-General’s Department, 4 National Circuit, Barton

professor Campbell McLachlan QC


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


Part of the CIPL Monthly Talk series series

CIPL Tuesday Talks

How, if at all, does the law in Anglo-­Commonwealth legal systems effectively constrain the external exercise of public power? Drawing upon ground-breaking research for his new book Foreign Relations Law (Cambridge UP, 2014), McLachlan argues that foreign relations can no longer be seen as a zone of non-­law, where the executive has a free hand. Rather he shows  how both Parliament and the courts have traced new principles that allocate jurisdiction and determine applicable law in cases that concern the public power of states. 

In this seminar, he will discuss in particular how Australian courts have made a distinctive contribution to this field. By taking a fresh and sometimes critical look at inherited doctrines, they have begun working out the implications of the distribution of powers within the Constitution for the exercise of the foreign relations power. In the process, they have been increasingly willing to subject exercises of Australian executive power abroad to legal regulation. McLachlan will show that the Australian approach has begun to have a real impact on judicial thought in this controversial area in other states.

Campbell McLachlan is Professor of Law at Victoria University of Wellington. He is a New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellow and sometime Visiting Fellow at All Souls College Oxford and at New York University Law School. He has been President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law and taught at The Hague Academy of International Law. He is an associate member of Essex Court Chambers (London) and Bankside Chambers (Auckland & Singapore).

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