Popular sovereignty essay wins Federal Law Review's 2018 Zines Prize

Composite image of George Duke and cover of Federal Law Review
Associate Professor George Duke of Deakin University won the Federal Law Review's 2018 Zines Prize

An essay that explores popular sovereignty and the nationhood power has won the prestigious 2018 Zines Prize for Excellence in Legal Research, a major honour from the Federal Law Review, which is edited at The Australian National University College of Law.

Associate Professor George Duke of Deakin University wrote Popular Sovereignty and the Nationhood Power, which appeared in issue 3, 2017.

Judges said Dr Duke’s argument was “developed carefully and referenced immaculately”, while the essay was “sophisticated and ambitious” and shone a light on some long-standing mysteries at the heart of Australia’s constitutional tradition.

“It is a great honour to be awarded the prize,” Dr Duke said.

“My disciplinary background is in philosophy and this article was my first attempt to write a more ‘doctrinal’ law paper, so it is a very encouraging outcome.

“The idea for the paper came from some very stimulating class discussions in a Legal Research unit completed with Professor Simon Evans as part of the Melbourne Law School JD.

“I therefore have my classmates and Professor Evans to thank for the insight that the relationship between popular sovereignty and the nationhood power was a theme worthy of further examination.

“Much of the paper seeks to clarify High Court doctrine on the concept of popular sovereignty and its constitutional relevance in an Australian context.

“In writing this part of the paper my aim was to bring together recent political theory on popular sovereignty and constitutional interpretation.”

ANU Law Associate Professor Ron Levy, General Editor of Federal Law Review, said he looked forward to receiving future submissions from Dr Duke.

The $500 prize was established in 2010, in honour of the late Professor Leslie Zines, one of Australia’s most outstanding legal scholars.

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