Belligerency, satire and whistle-blowing: topics our Summer Research scholars are investigating

2015-16 Summer Research Scholars (from left) Tristian Delroy, Odette Shenfield and Heather Cork. Photo: Claire Atteia, ANU.

What do belligerency, satire and whistle-blowing have in common? These topics are the focus of study for students undertaking 2015-16 ANU College of Law Summer Research Scholarships.

Beating candidates from around the country, three ANU Law students - Tristian Delroy, Heather Cork and Odette Shenfield - have won the opportunity to spend their holiday break producing research papers with some of Australia’s leading legal experts at ANU.

Fourth year law student, Tristian Delroy, will work with military and security law expert, Associate Professor Rob McLaughlin, on the recognition of belligerency in civil wars and armed rebellions.

The doctrine of recognition of belligerency was an important part of the law of war in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and Tristian will be exploring the historical development of the doctrine, and whether it has continuing relevance to the law of armed conflict today.

“I chose to study law at ANU because I’m interested in international law and the history of conflict and peacekeeping.

“Being able to participate in Summer Research Scholarship allows me to bring together all those threads, and I’m keen to get research experience prior to embarking on honours,” Tristian said.

Fifth year student, Odette Shenfield, is studying with Senior Lecturer, Dr Ron Levy, and will analyse and examine the critical roles of law in the practice and theory of deliberative democracy.

“We will be examining the instability of the law, particularly defamation law, as it applies to satire, because the law acts like satire doesn’t exist. The aim is to produce a paper recommending how the law could be improved,” Odette said.

Heather Cork will work with corporate law expert, Associate Professor Kath Hall, to explore whistle-blowing in the private sector, with a view to identifying deficiencies in the Corporations Act that may lead to a proposal for a reform paper.

In particular, the pair will examine the assumptions that underpin the legislative text, and whether these align with the actual experiences of whistle-blowers.

Heather will undertake a literature review and assist Associate Professor Hall to interview a whistle-blower.

“I’m going into my final year of law, and I’m keen to experience supervised research over an extended period of time and to produce an academic paper,” said Heather.

Open to law students around Australia, the annual ANU Summer Research Program  offers an opportunity for undergraduate students to gain first-hand insight to undertaking Honours or a postgraduate research degree. Under the program, successful applicants are provided with a weekly allowance, accommodation, meals and travel to and from Canberra.

Reports by past Summer Research scholars are available on the College’s website.

– BY LYN LARKIN

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