Kevin Boreham

BA (Hons) (Syd); M Int Law; LLB (ANU); Barrister and Solicitor High Court and Supreme Court ACT.
0403 156 488

home icon ANU College of Law, Bld 5, Fellows Rd, Acton ACT 2600

mail icon ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Rd, Acton ACT 2600



Kevin has been teaching International Law at the ANU College of Law since 2002. He teaches the International Law of Human Rights, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and the use of force. His main research interest is the increasing role of non-state actors in the development and practice of international law, particularly the role of non-state actors in accountability for breaches of international law.

Kevin practised as a solicitor in private practice in Canberra from 1999-2001.

Kevin’s first career was as an officer of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He served in Australia’s diplomatic missions in Colombo, Hanoi, Manila, Tehran and New York, where he was Australian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1987-89.

Significant research publications

  • 'The Environment and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)' (1999) 18 Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Journal (AMPLAJ) (with Patrick Brazil);
  • 'The Liability of Company Officers for Corporate Breaches of the New Federal Environment Legislation' (2000) 19 (AMPLAJ) (with Patrick Brazil);
  • 'Wide and Unmanageable Discretions': The Migration Amendment (Detention Arrangements) Act 2005 (Cth) (Comment) (2006) 17 Public Law Review 16.
  • 'International Law as an influence on the development of the common law: Evans v New South Wales' (2008) (Comment) 19 Public Law Review 271.

Recent news

Driven by emotion? US president Donald Trump. Alex Brandon/AP Photo
Without a clear strategy, the American strike on a Syrian airfield lacked both legality and effectiveness.
Australia’s extradition treaty with China was completed in 2007, but it has never been ratified. AAP/Dan Himbrechts
The ConversationThe federal government today announced it will not proceed with the ratification of an extradition treaty with China. This followed strong indications that the Senate would block it from coming into force.
Neil Prakash
Australia is seeking the extradition from Turkey of Neil Prakash, an Australian citizen who is accused of being a leading propagandist and recruiter for Islamic State (IS).
Syria rubble
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced this month that the government will seek to amend the Criminal Code to assist in the fight against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. Kevin Boreham explores exactly what is lawful in conflict, how do we decide who a citizenis, and who would lose protection under the changes.

In the Media

Kevin Boreham talks to 7:30 on ABC TV
Kevin Boreham interviewed by Sydney Morning Herald; Fairfax Media
Kevin Boreham interviewed by The Wire radio
Kevin Boreham speaks to The Daily: 2SER

Past events

Happy anniversary
9.00AM to 5.00PM Symposium
  • Rosemary Auchmuty, University of Reading, England
  • Tiernan Brady, Marriage Equality Campaigner (Australia and Ireland)

November 2018 will mark the one-year anniversary of Australia’s yes ‘vote’ in the Marriage Equality Postal Survey. This vote represented a significant moment in the fight for LGBTIQ rights in Australia, as well as in global campaigns for marriage equality.

Melbourne rally for marriage equality
11.00AM to 1.00PM Roundtable
  • Bruno Kaufmann, Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe
  • Dr Ron Levy, ANU College of Law
  • Dr Ryan Goss, ANU College of Law
  • Kevin Boreham, ANU College of Law

Join us for a roundtable discussion comparing the recent marriage plebiscite experience in Australia with recent events in Europe.

Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.

Research biography

Kevin Boreham’s research interests are the International Law of Human Rights, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and the use of force. Kevin’s publications have included book chapters and articles about Commonwealth environment and refugee law, the influence of international law on and recognition of freedom of religion in the Australian common law, and the effectiveness and accountability of United Nations sanctions in the context of the UN Oil-for-Food program.

Kevin has published widely in Australian online media and appeared on television news and current affairs programs to deal with a wide range of international law issues, including the Indonesian execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and the imprisonment in Egypt of Peter Greste. Most recently Kevin has commented on the lawfulness of Australia’s participation in the US-led campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and grave human rights violations by both Islamic State and the Iraqi armed forces.

Kevin’s current research interest is the question of whether non state actors such as terrorist organisations are bound by the International Law of Human Rights; this research questions the status of sovereign States as the major actors in international law.

Book chapters

  • 'A delicate business": Did AWB's kickbacks to Iraq under the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme constitute a violation of Australia's international obligations?' in Jeremy Farrall and Kim Rubenstein eds 'Sanctions Accountability and Governance in a Civilised World' (2009) 171.
  • 'A Failure to Protect: the UN Human Rights Council and Darfur' in Charles Sampford and Ramesh Thakur eds Responsibility to Protect and Sovereignty (2013) 127.

Conference papers & presentations

'Words, words, words: the human rights discourse and the Arab Awakening', Annual Meeting Australian New Zealand Society of International Law 2011, Canberra Australia.

Government submissions

  • Submission into the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws-General Law Reform) Bill 2008

Currently supervising

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Australia's Immigration Detention Health Care Reforms: An analysis of DIAC's health care policies post Palmer-Comrie Reports - Does it place a duty of care on the Commonwealth Government?

LLM Masters thesis supervision

I am willing to supervise in my areas of research interest.


Honours thesis supervision

I am willing to supervise in my areas of research interest, and more widely in international law issues.

i most recently supervised students on the issues of China's approach to the Responsibility to protect and whether Islamic State has the status of a state under international law.



Previous courses

Year Course code Course name
2016 LAWS6250
Class #8541
International Law
2016 LAWS4225
Class #3725
International Law of Human Rights

Philosophy & approach

I will convene International Law of Human Rights (LAWS4225) in 1st semester 2016, and International Law (LAWS6250) in 2nd semester  2016.  I will also teach in Australian Public Law (LAWS1205) in 1st semester.

Past courses

  • I have taught in International Law of Human Rights and internation al Law since 2006. 
  • I have previously taught Foundations of Australian LAw (LAWS1201) and Lawyers Justive and Ethics (LAWS1202).

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