Associate Professor Matthew Zagor

Associate Professor, Director of Law Reform and Social Justice
B.A.(1st Class Hons; London); LLB (UNSW); GDLP (CoL)
+61 2 6125 4911
Room 6.3.7

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Biography

Associate Professor Matthew Zagor has 20 years’ experience as a human rights advocate, practitioner and scholar. His research is characterised by its transdisciplinary approach and diversity, with recent publications covering comparative constitutional law, the legal 'recognition' of refugee narrative identities, the ‘humanity’ turn of international law, and perspectives of legality amongst Israeli soldiers. His current research applies theories of political theology to the legal construction of the border, and the Australian judiciary's approach to human rights treaty obligations.

Matthew’s most recent research considers how liberal notions of autonomy, authenticity and redemption inform legal and political constructions of the refugee. His current project uses these concepts to explore state sovereignty and border control.

Before joining academia, Matthew worked in community law, the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, and as a Member on the Migration / Refugee Review Tribunal. He remains actively involved in law reform and public policy, making regular submissions to Parliamentary inquiries, commenting publicly on refugee policy, and sitting on the Advisory Committee of the ALRC’s Freedoms Inquiry.

Matthew is an Adjunct Fellow at the ANU Centre for European Studies, and Editor of the Australian Yearbook of International Law. He has held Visiting Fellowships at the LSE Centre for Human Rights and Society and the University of Grenoble’s Centre for International Security and European Cooperation, and in 2013 participated in the prestigious Michigan Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law. Matthew speaks regularly on refugee-related matters in Australia and overseas.

Appointments

  • Director, Law Reform and Social Justice
  • Adjunct Fellow, ANU Centre for European Studies (Deputy Director 2010-2011)
  • Senior Research Associate, Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London
  • 2013-2019: Editor, Australian Yearbook of International Law
  • 2007-2015 International Humanitarian Law Committee (ACT Branch), Australian Red Cross; Member, Cluster Munitions Coalition (Australia).
  • 2006-2013: Academic Editor, Federal Law Review
  • 2010-2011: Legal Advisor to the Cluster Munitions Coalition, Australia
  • 2007-2012: National Committee, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights  
  • 2010-2011 Deputy Director, ANU Centre for European Studies
  • 2006 Visiting Professor, University of Alabama School of Law; 2006 Visiting Fellow, Centre for Study of Human Rights, LSE; 2012 Visiting Fellow, University of Grenoble; 2017 Visitor Fellow, Georgetown Law; Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London
  • 2003-2006 P/T Member, Migration Review Tribunal / Refugee Review Tribunal.
  • ACT Editorial Committee, Alternative Law Journal (2005-2008) 
  • ANUCES Briefing Paper Series (2010-2012). 

 

Significant research publications

‘Martyrdom, Antinomianism, and the Prioritising of Christians – Towards a Political Theology of Refugee Resettlement’ (2019) 38.4 Refugee Survey Quarterly 387–424

'Adventures in the Grey Zone: Judicial Review of Executive Power in the Migration Context' in M.L. Paris and J. Bell (eds) Changing Landscape - Comparative Reflections on Rights-Based Constitutional Review (Edward Elgar, 2016)

'The Struggle of Autonomy and Authenticity: Framing the Savage Refugee' (2015) 21(4) Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 373-94

‘Recognition and Narrative Identities: Is Refugee Law Redeemable?’ in Rubenstein, Nolan and Jenkins, Allegiance and Identity in a Globalised World (CUP, 2014)

‘Elementary Considerations of Humanity’ in Bennalier, Christakis and Heathcote, The Enduring Impact of the Corfu Channel Case (2011, Routledge) ‘I am the Law! Perspectives of Legality and Illegality in the Israeli Army’ (2010) 43 Israel Law Review 551

'Judicial Rhetoric and Constitutional Identity' (2008) 19 Public Law Review 271

‘Exclusion and Uncertainty: the High Court and the detention of aliens’ (2006) 34 Federal Law Review

'Persecuted or Persecutor: An Examination of Exclusion under Article 1F of the Refugees Convention,' (2000) 23 UNSW Law Journal 164

Recent news

21
Feb
2020
ANU LRSJ students involved in the OPCAT report
ANU students from the Law Reform and Social Justice program have collaborated on a report into the ACT's implementation of an anti-torture treaty.
31
Jan
2019
From left, Kim Rubenstein, Matthew Zagor, and Dominique Dalla-Pozza
Three scholars from the ANU Law School have told a Parliamentary committee that the Australian government should abandon a bill that would remove citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism offences.
30
Aug
2018
Aurora Project internships and alumna Tess Kelly
Tess Kelly (LLB Hons '16) encourages new applicants
10
Feb
2017
Hands
Dozens of legal scholars from ANU College of Law call on Australian Government to condemn US travel ban.

Past events

13
Mar
2020
Judges and Law Reform: A chat with Justice Monika Schmidt
12.30PM to 1.30PM Current students
  • The Hon Justice Monika Schmidt AM

Join Associate Professor Matthew Zagor and The Hon Justice Monika Schmidt AM as they discuss law reform in the courts.

03
May
2019
LRSJ
11.30AM Information session

The LRSJ is pleased to host Nathan MacDonald from the Law Council of Australia (LCA) this Friday, 3 May at 1pm in the Phillipa Weeks Library

29
Mar
2019
Matthew Zagor and Justice Rachel Pepper
12.00PM to 1.00PM ANU College of Law Visiting Judicial Fellow Program
  • The Hon Justice Rachel Pepper

LRSJ will be holding a light lunch for students to meet and chat with one of the most influential environment figures, The Honourable Justice Rachel Pepper, Judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW

27
Mar
2019
Law Reform and Social Justice
7.30PM to 9.00PM Film screening followed by panel discussion
  • Professor Tom Faunce
  • Justice John Faulks, former family Court Judge and ALRC commissioner,
  • Justice Mary Finn, former family Court Judge, former member of the ANU Council

The ANU College of Law, Law Reform and Social Justice Program proudly presents The Children Act.

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

Research biography

Associate Professor Matthew Zagor has 20 years’ experience as a human rights advocate, practitioner and scholar. His research is characterised by its transdisciplinary approach and diversity, with recent publications covering comparative constitutional law, refugee narrative identities, the ‘humanity’ turn of international law, and perspectives of legality amongst Israeli soldiers.

Matthew’s most recent research considers how liberal notions of autonomy, authenticity and redemption inform legal and political constructions of the refugee, and the intersection between theological and legal - or anti-legal (antinomian) - thinking in the formulation of refugee resettlement policy. His current projects are more doctrinal, uncovering judicial legal theories underpinning approaches to executive detention of non-citizens, and the sui generis approach of Australian courts to the Refugee Convention.

Before joining academia, Matthew worked in community law, the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, and the Migration / Refugee Review Tribunal, where he was a part-time Member. As the Director of Law Reform and Social Justice, he remains actively involved in law reform and public policy, making regular submissions to Parliamentary inquiries, commenting publicly on refugee policy, and sitting on the Advisory Committee of the ALRC’s Freedoms Inquiry.

Matthew is an Adjunct Fellow at the ANU Centre for European Studies, and a Senior Research Associate at the Refugee Law Initiative at the University of London's School of Advanced Legal Studies. He is a former Editor of both the Australian Yearbook of International Law and Federal Law Review, and has held Visiting Fellowships at the LSE Centre for Human Rights and Society, the University of Grenoble’s Centre for International Security and European Cooperation, Georgetown University Law School, and the University of London's School of Advanced Legal Studies.

Currently supervising

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Non-Refoulement as Custom: fait accompli or wishful legal thinking?
  • 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?
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Non-Refoulement as Custom: fait accompli or wishful legal thinking?

Current courses

Year Course code Course name
2020 LAWS1205
Class #2222
Australian Public Law
2020 LAWS4230
Class #9120
Law Internship
2020 LAWS4271
Class #4595
Refugee Law
2020 LAWS6105
Class #4152
Australian Public Law
2020 LAWS6105
Class #2911
Australian Public Law
2020 LAWS6230
Class #9121
Law Internship
2020 LAWS8252
Class #9569
International Refugee Law
2020 LAWS8471
Class #4596
Refugee Law

Previous courses

Year Course code Course name
2017 LAWS8252
Class #9726
International Refugee Law
2018 LAWS4271
Class #10106
Refugee Law
2018 LAWS6105
Class #8713
Australian Public Law
2018 LAWS1205
Class #2343
Australian Public Law
2018 LAWS6105
Class #3715
Australian Public Law
2018 LAWS8252
Class #9720
International Refugee Law
2016 LAWS4271
Class #3277
Refugee Law
2016 LAWS8252
Class #9592
International Refugee Law

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