Professor Robert McLaughlin

Honorary Professor

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Research Theme

Biography

Dr Rob McLaughlin researches, publishes, and teaches in the areas of Law of Armed Conflict, Law of the Sea, Maritime Security Law and Maritime Law Enforcement, and Military Law. He routinely engages in research activities, and course development and delivery, with the ICRC, the Australian Red Cross, the International Institute for Humanitarian Law, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Rob came to the ANU College of Law after a career in the Royal Australian Navy as a Seaman officer and a Legal officer. Consequently, his research interests are primarily focussed around issues of practical operational significance.

His legal roles included as the Fleet Legal Officer, the Strategic Legal Adviser, as a Counsel Assisting the HMAS SYDNEY II Commission of Inquiry, Director Operations and International Law, and Director Naval Legal Service.

Appointments

CAPT, RANR Consultant, Counter-Piracy (UNODC and IMO) Member, Australian Red Cross ACT IHL Committees Faculty, International Institute of Humanitarian Law

Read selected publications in the ANU Digital Collection

Recent news

10
Aug
2016
ILA South Africa
Five senior academics from the ANU College of Law will represent Australia this week at the 77th Biennial Conference of the International Law Association, the key global gathering of international law scholars and practitioners.
30
Mar
2016
It's time for Australia to consider how our security agencies and defence resources are used in the face of increasing terrorism write ANU Law military law experts Rob McLaughlin and David Letts.
26
Feb
2016
While tanks and submarines are still required, technological advances in drones, cyber warfare and artificial intelligence mean it's vital our defence industry keeps an eye on future battlespaces, write ANU military law experts Hitoshi Nasu, David Letts and Rob McLaughlin.
16
Nov
2015
As tensions rise again in the South China Sea, actions – and not just words – are required if Australia is to protect its strategic interests, and ensure that international legal norms are not ignored.

Past events

16
Mar
2017
Event image
1.15PM to 5.30PM Workshop

This workshop explores how we see customary international law and its evolution in today’s uncertain times.

14
Sep
2016
Destroyed Syrian tanks
5.30PM to 7.00PM Seminar
  • Ian Clark, NTU Singapore
  • Rob McLaughlin, ANU College of Law

The role of the laws of war remains central to issues of peace and justice in world politics. Combining legal, historical and policy expertise, the panel will consider what can be done in practical terms by governments, NGOs and individuals to build support for the laws of war and their effective implementation.

07
Sep
2016
Event image
5.30PM to 6.45PM Seminar
  • Dr Cameron Moore, University of New England
  • A/Prof Rob McLaughlin, ANU College of Law

Going to war is the most profound exercise of public power, and killing in war is its most profound expression. As much as killing in war, or injuring, capturing and destroying in war, has been occurring since ancient times, there is very little in domestic or international law that expressly authorises it. 

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

Read selected publications in the ANU Digital Collection

Research biography

Dr Rob McLaughlin researches, publishes, and teaches in the areas of Law of Armed Conflict, Law of the Sea, Maritime Security Law and Maritime Law Enforcement, and Military Law. He routinely engages in research activities, and course development and delivery, with the ICRC, the Australian Red Cross, the International Institute for Humanitarian Law, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Rob came to the ANU College of Law after a career in the Royal Australian Navy as a Seaman officer and a Legal officer. Consequently, his research interests are primarily focussed around issues of practical operational significance.

His legal roles included as the Fleet Legal Officer, the Strategic Legal Adviser, as a Counsel Assisting the HMAS SYDNEY II Commission of Inquiry, Director Operations and International Law, and Director Naval Legal Service.

Books & edited collections

  • United Nations Peace Operations in the Territorial Sea (Martinus Nijhoff, 2009)
  • Multinational Rules of Engagement Handbook (with Alan Cole, Phillip Drew, and Dennis Mandsager) (Institute for International Humanitarian Law, 2009)

Book chapters

  • 'The Law of Armed Conflict and International Human Rights Law - Some Paradigmatic Differences and Operational Implications' forthcoming (2010) 13 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law
  • 'The Use of Lethal Force by Military Forces on Law Enforcement Operations - Is there a "Lawful Authority"?' (2009) 37:3 Federal Law Review 441

Refereed journal articles

  • The Legal Regime Applicable to Use of Lethal Force when Operating under a United Nations Security Council Chapter VII Mandate Authorising "All Necessary Means" ' (2007) 12:3 Journal of Conflict and Security Law 389
  • 'Wilful Killing During Armed Conflict: Is there a Defence of Proportionality in Australia?' (with Bruce Oswald) (2007) 18:1 Criminal Law Forum 1
  • 'East Timor, Transitional Administration and the Status of the Territorial Sea' (2003) 4:1 Melbourne Journal of International Law 323
  • 'United Nations Mandated Naval Interdiction Operations in the Territorial Sea' (2002) 51:2 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 249
  • 'Jus ad Bellum and the Reasonable Hope of Success' (1998) 23 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 47
  • 'Some Problems and Issues in the Recognistion of Indigenous Customary Law' (July 1996) Aboriginal Law Bulletin 4

Currently supervising

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Negligent combatants? Liability for negligent homicide and injury during armed conflict: An Australian perspective
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Enforcement of Crimes of Universal Jurisdiction in the Absence of Traditional Jurisdictional Nexuses – State, Regional and International Practice in Bringing Individuals to Justice
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    Topic: Small scale uses of force: The threshold between "force" under the Jus Ad Bellum and "other forcible measures".

Previous courses

Books

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