Author(s): Stephen Bottomley
This paper reports upon an empirical study of the place of law and legal duties in the governance of Australian public companies. A fuller discussion of the findings from this empirical research project is to be found in: Tomasic and Bottomley, Directing the Top 500: Corporate Governance and Accountability in Australian Companies, (Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1993). The debate concerning the legal duties and obligations of management of corporations became quite heated in Australia following the corporate excesses of the 1980s. Many corporations exploited the looseness of the legal rules for the control of business; weak regulatory structures also operated to the disadvantage of shareholders and creditors. The study is based upon data derived from a series of interviews conducted with officers from the top 500 Australian listed public companies. Interviews were held with 95 public company directors and 55 advisers of public companies. The adviser group comprised leading corporate lawyers, liquidators, auditors and corporate regulators. Interviews took place in five Australian state capital cities and all interviews were undertaken personally by the principal investigators. This article examines perceptions of corporate citizenship held by directors and goes on to contrast these with actual corporate decision making in the context of the legal requirements placed upon directors of Australian companies. The article also examines the structure of Australian corporate decision making processes by the board of directors.
Author(s): Donald Rothwell
In November 1990 Australia extended its territorial sea from 3 to 12 nautical miles. This article examines the consequences of this extension under international and municipal law, and draws comparisons with the experience of the United States and Canada in relation to their territorial seas. The expansion of Australia's territorial sea has some noteworthy features under international law in its effect on Australia's territorial claims in the Antarctic, and on the maritime delimitation between Australia and Papua New Guinea in Torres Strait. The consequences of the extension under municipal law arise from the unique offshore regime agreed between the federal government and seven state and territorial governments in 1979, by which jurisdiction over the territorial sea is divided between central and regional governments. Australia's federal constitutional structure has created problems of offshore jurisdiction similar to those experienced in Canada and the United States, but the solution adopted is markedly different. The Australian settlement may prove a useful model for federations trying to reach an agreement over offshore areas.
Author(s): James Popple
The two different categories of legal AI system are described, and legal analysis systems are chosen as objects of study. So-called judgment machines are discussed, but it is decided that research in legal AI systems would be best carried-out in the area of legal expert systems. A model of legal reasoning is adopted, and two different methods of legal knowledge representation are examined: rule-based systems and case-based systems. It is argued that a rule-based approach to legal expert systems is inadequate given the requirements of lawyers and the nature of legal reasoning about cases. A new, eclectic approach is proposed, incorporating both rule-based and case-based knowledge representation. It is claimed that such an approach can form the basis of an effective and useful legal expert system.
Research theme: Administrative Law
Author(s): Donald Anton
This comment assess the apparently absolute proscription on the use of remittitur by the Supreme Court in Missouri in Firestone v. Crown Centre Redevelopment Corp. It is critical of the Court in abolishing the doctrine on grounds of activism, expediency, and logic. The Court was reversed several years later by the Missouri legislature, which reinstated the practice.