Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books, book chapters, journal articles and working papers. The ANU College of Law also publishes a Research Paper Series on SSRN.

 

The Responsible Shareholder

The Responsible Shareholder

Author(s): Stephen Bottomley

Examining the role of shareholders in modern companies, this timely book argues that more should be expected of shareholders, both morally and legally. It explores the privileged position of shareholders within the corporate law system and the unique rights and duties awarded to them in contrast to other corporate actors. Introducing the concept of shareholders as responsible agents whose actions and inactions should be judged on that basis, Stephen Bottomley unites a number of distinct corporate governance discussions including stewardship, activism and shareholder liability.

Buy here

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Consumer Privacy and Consent: Reform in the Light of Contract and Consumer Protection Law

Consumer Privacy and Consent: Reform in the Light of Contract and Consumer Protection Law

Author(s): Damian Clifford

In its recent Digital Platforms Inquiry — Final Report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) made recommendations for the reform of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) to provide for better mechanisms for ensuring consumer consent to data collection practices and to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to strengthen the protection for consumers against overreaching data collection practices. Such reforms would certainly be timely, given growing concerns about data protection and privacy in the provision of online services to consumers.

Access here

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Technology

Contract Law: Text and Cases

Contract Law: Text and Cases (3rd edition)

Author(s): Alex Bruce

Contract Law: Text and Cases combines comprehensive academic commentary with extracts from key cases in a single volume. It provides students with the essential knowledge and skills in contract law to succeed in a law degree and in professional practice. The text is supplemented with review questions, problem-solving practice, and key points for revision.

The third edition has been revised and updated to include recent developments in case law and legislation.

Access here

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Legal Education

Committing to human rights in Australia’s corporate sector

Committing to human rights in Australia’s corporate sector

Author(s): Sally Wheeler

This paper draws on data collected from ASX 50 listed corporations. As the UNGP makes clear a visible and accessible policy commitment is the most basic form of recognition that corporations can afford to human rights under the schema it offers. The paper takes the position that this policy commitment gives corporations a chance to declare a positive relationship with human rights. The presence or not of a policy statement, and the form that the statement takes, tells us much about the relationship between the corporate sector in Australia and human rights. The data reveals a low prevalence of policy commitment across the largest publically listed corporations in Australia. The paper selects a range of variables against which to examine whether commitment occurs or not.

The most significant factor that supports policy commitment is membership of human rights engaged global Business and Industry Non-Governmental Organisations (BINGOs). We might expect a rather stronger public commitment to human rights reflecting the position apparently taken by Australian corporations on other ESG standards. However this expectation has to be set against the absence of human rights discourse as a political and cultural artefact at the domestic level.

Access here

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

Nucoal Resources Ltd v NSW: the Mining Industry and Potential Health Impacts of Investor State Dispute Settlement in Australia

Author(s):

The Climate Council recently detailed the adverse health impacts of coal on Australian citizens and their environment. Such reports confirm established evidence that coal mining not only releases atmospheric toxins but destroys prime farming land and rivers. This column examines how the revocation of coal mining leases, after proven corruption by disgraced New South Wales politicians was upheld by the High Court (NuCoal Resources Ltd v New South Wales [2015] HCA 13) was challenged using mechanisms in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement and potentially the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. It is likely that foreign investors in the Australian coal mining and fracking industries will circumvent imprecise exceptions and use investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses in the TPP to initiate claims for damages before panels of conflicted investment arbitrators, alleging appropriation of their investments as a result of Australian legislation or policy taken against the coal industry on public health grounds. This issue is explored through analysis drawn from an extant investor-state dispute involving the mining industry in North America.

Note: This article was first published by Thomson Reuters in the Journal of Law and Medicine and should be cited as ‘TA Faunce and S Parikh, NuCoal Resources Ltd v New South Wales: The Mining Industry and Potential Health Impacts of Investor State Dispute Settlement in Australia, 2016, 23, JLM, 801’.

This publication is copyright. Other than for the purposes of and subject to the conditions prescribed under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of it may in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without prior written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited. PO Box 3502, Rozelle NSW 2039.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Regulatory Law and Policy

data_protection_and_consumer_protection.jpg

Data Protection and Consumer Protection: The Empowerment of the Citizen Consumer

Author(s): Damian Clifford

This chapter explores the alignment of the EU data protection and consumer protection policy agendas through a discussion of the reference to the Unfair Contract Terms Directive in Recital 42 of the General Data Protection Regulation. This non-binding provision refers to the need to assess the (un)fairness of pre-formulated declarations of data subject consent to personal data processing. Through this lens the introduction of the Directive on Contracts for the Supply of Digital Content and its relationship to the data protection and privacy framework is also explored. The protections provided by both the data protection and privacy and consumer protection frameworks aim to bolster the decision-making capacity of individuals. However, as this chapter outlines, there are potential conflicts when the respective frameworks are assessed together.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Technology

Data Protection and Consumer Protection

Data Protection and Consumer Protection: The Empowerment of the Citizen Consumer

Author(s): Damian Clifford

This chapter explores the alignment of the EU data protection and consumer protection policy agendas through a discussion of the reference to the Unfair Contract Terms Directive in Recital 42 of the General Data Protection Regulation. This non-binding provision refers to the need to assess the (un)fairness of pre-formulated declarations of data subject consent to personal data processing. Through this lens the introduction of the Directive on Contracts for the Supply of Digital Content and its relationship to the data protection and privacy framework is also explored. The protections provided by both the data protection and privacy and consumer protection frameworks aim to bolster the decision-making capacity of individuals. However, as this chapter outlines, there are potential conflicts when the respective frameworks are assessed together.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Technology

Regulating transparency on human rights and modern slavery in corporate supply chains

Regulating transparency on human rights and modern slavery in corporate supply chains: the discrepancy between human rights due diligence and the social audit

Author(s): Jolyon Ford

This article examines some of the limits of reporting schemes as a tool for addressing business-related human rights risks and for engaging business in a collaborative effort to improve human rights. Australia’s Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) (MSA) is the latest example globally of a legislative scheme intended to foster corporate action on such risks within businesses’ operations and supply chains. Some such schemes require firms to implement human rights due diligence (HRDD) measures, as envisaged by the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. However, the MSA’s model is best described as a disclosure or reporting regime. Such regimes do not require businesses to take HRDD measures; rather, they only require businesses to report on any such measures that they have taken during the relevant reporting period. In this article, we analyse some of the assumptions underlying the design of reporting-based schemes. We then consider one practice used by firms facing supply chain scrutiny: social auditing. We caution against an over-reliance on this practice, which is not synonymous with HRDD. It does not necessarily promote fulsome, non-cosmetic reporting compliance or foster corporate action on underlying human rights risks. We finally offer some alternative approaches that could improve the effectiveness of measures to address human rights risks in supply chains.

Access here

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

the_multilateral_human_rights_system.jpg

The Multilateral Human Rights System: Systemic Challenge or Healthy Contestation?

Author(s): Jolyon Ford

This essay explores some of the parameters and merits of a putative argument that the announcement of June 19, 2018 that the United States would withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council might most properly be understood as but one manifestation of a wider political backlash within the US (and indeed other Western democracies) against the multilateral human rights system epitomized by the Council. There are two prongs to this argument. First, populist-nationalist political sentiment at home simultaneously fuels and is fanned by strident high-profile diplomatic critiques (or even rejections) of global bodies such as the Council. Second, the nature and force of this backlash constitutes a systemic threat to the future of the post-1945 rules-based international order, especially since it comes mostly from the superpower whose values-based rhetoric and leadership has perhaps done most to advance the global human rights agenda in the modern era.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Technology, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

corporate_law_complexity_and_cartography.jpg

Corporate Law, Complexity and Cartography

Author(s):

The relationship between corporate law and corporate practice is complex. So too is the relationship between the different types of corporate law rules — from primary and delegated legislation, through listing rules and ASIC orders to corporate constitutions. Corporate lawyers tend to respond to this complexity and diversity by implicit understanding than by conceptual framework. This article offers one way of conceptualising the complexity of corporate law rules and their relationship to corporate practice. Drawing on Boaventura de Sousa Santos’ influential 1987 article ‘Law: A Map of Misreading. Toward a Postmodern Conception of Law’, the article looks to cartography as an unexpected source of ideas to assist in understanding the shape of modern corporate law rules.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

australian_yearbook_of_international_law.jpg

Backlash against a Rules-based International Human Rights Order? An Australian Perspective

Author(s): Jolyon Ford

This article engages with the question of whether we can identify a recent populist political ‘backlash’ within some Western democracies against the institutions, instruments and even the ideas of the multilateral (United Nations and treaty-based) human rights system. An associated question concerns what the implications of any such phenomenon might be for the universalist human rights system (or at least Australia’s participation therein), and perhaps the implications for the wider global legal order of which the human rights project has, for decades now, been such an important part. A second question-bundle is whether we can discern signs recently that Australia may be one of those ‘backlash’ states, and what systemic implications this may have for Australia’s oft-repeated fidelity to, and reliance upon, the international rules-based order. Sitting above or behind these questions is the broader issue of whether the concept of ‘backlash’ is useful at all in explaining or analysing recent developments, and/or what modifications or qualifiers it might need. This article attempts to address these questions, focussing first on exploring ways to approach, unpack refine or re-frame the ‘backlash’ concept. It then takes the resulting frame(s) to provide a general overview of recent Australian practice and rhetoric. This is so as to advance a useful characterisation of Australia’s conduct, even if it does not in a ‘Yes/No sense’ meet Sunstein’s definition of systemic-level ‘backlash’ intended to reject a legal order and remove its legal force.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Technology, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

australian_yearbook_of_international_law.jpg

Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions

Author(s): Jeremy Farrall, Jolyon Ford, Imogen Saunders

This article considers the recent ‘Backlash’ against global norms and institutions fuelled by various contemporary political developments within and between states. Understanding the shape, significance and drivers of this phenomenon better is a pre-requisite to developing and analysing possible responses by Australia and other states. The recent rise of populism and ‘illiberal democracy’ especially within major Western democracies has challenged the longstanding and widespread commitment of those states to the rules-based order. These phenomena have also eroded the traditional global leadership, in multilateral forums, of key powers including UN permanent members the United States and the United Kingdom. The populations of these and other states have responded to perceptions of economic and political disempowerment by pressuring political representatives to focus their energies domestically. In order both to appeal and respond to domestic political forces, leaders in these states have sought to target or sometimes scapegoat the international institutions that have hitherto been so useful to their foreign policy agenda. This article examines the consequences of understanding the current populist moment as part of a Backlash against global law and institutions and the ramifications of the Backlash frame for international peace and security. It also considers the implications of the Backlash frame for the international human rights system, the impact of the turn inward for global trade and finance and the Backlash against environmental norms.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Technology, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

committing_to_human_rights_in_australias_corporate_sector.jpg

Committing to Human Rights in Australia's Corporate Sector

Author(s): Sally Wheeler

This paper draws on data collected from the ASX 50 with a focus on policy commitment to human rights. As the UNGP makes clear a visible and accessible policy commitment is the most basic form of recognition that corporations should afford to human rights. The paper takes the position that this policy commitment offers corporations a chance to declare a positive relationship with human rights. Therefore the presence or not of a policy statement, and the form that the statement takes, tells us much about the relationship between the corporate sector and human rights. The data reveals that there is generally a low compliance with the policy commitment requirement. The most significant factor amongst a range of variables examined for predicting whether compliance will occur or not is membership of human rights engaged Business and Industry Non-Governmental Organisations (BINGOs). We might expect a rather stronger public commitment to human rights reflecting the position taken by Australian corporations on other ESG standards. The paper suggests that the absence of human rights discourse as a political and cultural artifact at the domestic nation state level is a possible explanation for this.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Technology

when_is_advancement_of_religion.jpg

When Is the Advancement of Religion Not a Charitable Purpose?

Author(s): Pauline Ridge

This article addresses the question of why religious groups receive charitable status in relation to religious activities by considering when the current law does not grant charitable status to purposes that advance religion. The jurisdictional focus is upon Australian law, with some reference to other jurisdictions whose law also derives from the English common law of charity. After an overview of the charity law landscape in Australia, the article explains and critically evaluates the grounds upon which charitable status may be refused to purposes that advance religion. The article then considers two considerations that have emerged in twenty first century charity law and that are relevant to the charitable status of religious groups. These concern human rights, particularly the right to freedom of religion, and the use of charity law to regulate religious activity.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Religion, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law

rethinking_the_law_on_shareholder.jpg

Rethinking the Law on Shareholder-Initiated Resolutions at Company General Meetings

Author(s): Stephen Bottomley

Recent concerns about the need for improved corporate accountability raise questions about the role of shareholders in corporate governance. One aspect of these discussions is the capacity of shareholders in general meetings to propose non-binding advisory resolutions concerning governance or social matters. Since Automatic Self-Cleansing Filter Syndicate Co Ltd v Cuninghame in 1906, courts have held that if a company’s constitution gives directors the power of company management, shareholders cannot interfere with the exercise of that power. The Federal Court affirmed this in Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility v Commonwealth Bank of Australia. This paper re-examines the case law, particularly in its application to advisory resolutions, and recommends the introduction of a broad statutory authority for non-binding advisory resolutions. The paper argues that this is an important step towards improved corporate accountability and responsible shareholder engagement.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Modelling the Contracts of the Future

"Modelling the contracts of the future" Griffith Law Review - Law Theory Society

Author(s): Sally Wheeler

his article examines contract as a focal point of modern society both in terms of the way that it is used to classify relationships and the way in which it is used to order relationships. I look at how contractual structures and relationships across a variety of speciman scenarios (private sector supply contracts and public service delivery contracts) can be explained using the work of Ian Macneil. He gives us an account of how the socialising contexts of contract relationships evolve and change. Smart contracts offer a new way of constructing relationships. Their advocates suggest that they have the potential to revolutionise the practice of exchange. I consider smart contracts from Macneil’s perspective and work through whether his account of relationality will be able to encompass this new practise.

Access here

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Technology

reporting_under_a_modern_slavery_act.jpg

Defining 'Supply Chain' for Reporting Under a Modern Slavery Act for Australia

Author(s): Jolyon Ford

Australia proposed a Modern Slavery Act based on the UK's 2015 model, requiring larger firms to report annually on steps taken to address the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. This working paper has two main arguments. First, the approach to defining (or not) ‘supply chain’ is not a mere technical drafting issue, but instead can be seen as going to the overall purpose of this regulation and as a metaphor for more general design philosophies or approaches in this sphere. Second, an Australian statute should refrain from any attempt at a statutory definition of ‘supply chains’ or any definition in ancillary regulations; however, authorities should offer reporting entities far more extensive policy guidance than the UK model has done. Aside from the generic drafting difficulty of finding a stable, commercially sensible definition, the paper explains at least three reasons why the statutory scheme should not seek to define ‘supply chains.’

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Technology, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Peer Review and the Global Anti-Corruption Conventions: Context, Theory and Practice

Peer Review and the Global Anti-Corruption Conventions: Context, Theory and Practice

Author(s): Kath Hall

This article analyses the international anti-corruption framework and the peer review monitoring process. Peer review is described as the “systematic examination and assessment of the performance of a state by other states, with the ultimate goal of helping the reviewed state … comply with established standards and principles.” However, despite its growing importance as a regulatory process, peer review has not been comprehensively analysed, resulting in a “literature famine” on its nature and operations. Indeed, to date, there has been very limited academic discussion on peer review. As a result, one aim of this article is to contribute to a stronger understanding of its process. While our focus is on peer review in the anti-corruption context, where possible, universal characteristics of the process are discussed. The second objective of this article is to consider the merits of the peer review process in incentivising states to take action against corruption. Peer review is the mechanism for evaluation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) under its Anti-bribery Convention and the African Union’s (AU) good governance objectives under good governance objectives under the Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Whilst acknowledging the criticisms of peer review, this article argues that peer review has been successful in particular contexts in increasing state compliance with these international instruments. In particular, peer review has contributed to the acceptance of anti-corruption norms and focused on the need for all countries to regulate corruption at the national level.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Administrative Law, Law and Psychology, Legal Education, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy, The Legal Profession

Torts cases and commentary

Torts: Cases and Commentary, 8th edition

Author(s): David Hambly, Harold Luntz, Kylie Burns, Joachim Dietrich, Neil Foster, Sirko Harder, Genevieve Grant

Torts: Cases and Commentary delivers a critical and analytical approach to the law of torts presented through extensive commentary and selected materials from cases, legislation and academic writings. Detailed notes explain the significance of the key cases while questions stimulate critical thinking and learning.

This edition provides extended coverage of statutory defences to negligence, while doctrines relating to the scope of liability are now discussed together with factual causation in one chapter. Current issues in tort law reform are examined and additional references to academic writings are provided.

Order your copy online

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Private Law

Visions of Contract

"Visions of Contract" Journal of Law and Society

Author(s): Sally Wheeler

Stewart Macaulay and Ian Macneil were the prime movers in creating a model of contractual relations that went beyond the confines of the formal legal model that defined contract enforceability. The work of both of them has been influential even though it has suffered from many misdescriptions along the way. In this article I map their respective contributions and explain the differences between their visions of contract. I then add a third dimension: the possibilities for a new vision of contract and contractual relations raised by blockchain.

Access here

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Technology

Pages

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