Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books and working papers. Other papers and publications can be found on SSRN and the ANU Researchers database.

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Voting Rights and Australian Local Democracy

Author(s): Associate Professor Ryan Goss

ABSTRACT: In five of Australia’s six States, legislation governing the franchise at local government elections allows for voting rights based partly on property ownership or occupation, for votes for corporations, and for various forms of plural voting. There is no existing comprehensive nationwide catalogue and analysis of the legislation that underpins this phenomenon. This article fills the gap in the literature by providing that analysis. Part I provides a concise overview of the historical context in Britain and in Australia. Part II is the central contribution of the article, describing and analyzing the legislation across the six Australian States. Part II demonstrates the idiosyncratic complexity of local government franchises within and across the States. While this article’s primary goal is to critique the legislation as it stands, Part III concisely makes the case for reform of voting rights at local government elections, suggesting that the status quo raises concerns about democratic inequality.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy

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Social Security Overpayments and Debt Recovery: Key Developments

Author(s):

It is important to understand the history of the social security legislation, and other contexts, such as the language of 'error', 'overpayment', 'debt' and 'fraud', to fully understand the social and legislative basis of social security debt recovery today.

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Research theme:

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Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Promoting Cooperation and Sustainability

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien

To combat the complex problem of world poverty, the United Nations General Assembly set out eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but as poverty decreases, energy consumption and pollution increase. Largely due to this complication, the MDGs were replaced in September 2015 with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs include new priorities such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, and peace and justice. Successful development involves more than avoiding poverty. To achieve the sustainable development goals, we have to know what they are and why they were introduced. We need to teach them to our students, who will carry the goals into their future work places.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, PEARL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education

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Global Artificial Photosynthesis: Transition from Corporatocene to Sustainocene

Author(s):

It is a profoundly socially transformative idea that in the future, every road and building on the earth’s surface, with the assistance of nanotechnology, will be undertaking photo- synthesis. Some direct implications of equitably distributing artificial photosynthetic technology across the globe include removing the need for centralised sources of food or fuel. Other indirect outcomes could include stabilisation of population growth (from increased education in developing nations), reduced opportunities for war or corruption and facilitation of progress towards cultures that encourage human flourishing and mental peace, as well as ecosystem sustainability. This can be characterised as a technology- driven transition from the Corporatocene to Sustainocene epoch. One approach to realising such a transition is a global project on artificial photosynthesis, inspired by other large scale scientific projects such as the Human Genome Project, the Large Hadron Collider, the Hubble Space Telescope. This approach has been the subject of collaborative publications and international conferences. Implicit in the task of creating a Global Project on Artificial Photosynthesis is the need to create a favourable governance framework, that is predicated on the consistent application of universally applicable principles.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme:

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Global Artificial Photosynthesis: Transition from Corporatocene to Sustainocene

Author(s):

It is a profoundly socially transformative idea that in the future, every road and building on the earth’s surface, with the assistance of nanotechnology, will be undertaking photo- synthesis. Some direct implications of equitably distributing artificial photosynthetic technology across the globe include removing the need for centralised sources of food or fuel. Other indirect outcomes could include stabilisation of population growth (from increased education in developing nations), reduced opportunities for war or corruption and facilitation of progress towards cultures that encourage human flourishing and mental peace, as well as ecosystem sustainability. This can be characterised as a technology- driven transition from the Corporatocene to Sustainocene epoch. One approach to realising such a transition is a global project on artificial photosynthesis, inspired by other large scale scientific projects such as the Human Genome Project, the Large Hadron Collider, the Hubble Space Telescope. This approach has been the subject of collaborative publications and international conferences. Implicit in the task of creating a Global Project on Artificial Photosynthesis is the need to create a favourable governance framework, that is predicated on the consistent application of universally applicable principles.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme:

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ADJR at 40: In its Prime or a Disappointment to its Parents?

Author(s): Greg Weeks

The commencement of the ADJR Act represented a significant moment in Australian administrative law. This paper will discuss the impact of the ADJR Act and its continuing relevance.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law

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The Proper Role of Policy in Private Law Adjudication

Author(s): Darryn Jensen

The re-emergence in recent years of interest in the private law in and of itself, rather than as an instrument of extrinsic, regulatory goals, has called into focus the appropriateness of ‘policy-based’ reasoning in private law adjudication and rule formulation. While many have become accustomed to the idea that the courts both can and must resolve disputes in terms of community welfare or socio-economic considerations, more recent formalist, corrective justice-based accounts of the private law simply have no room for any policy or instrumental considerations; the private law is concerned only with the balance of justice between the parties to the dispute. To a large extent, the opposing views rest on deeper philosophical premises about the proper role of law and of the courts in society and have arisen in opposition to each other. The opposing camps thus tend to talk past one another in restating their respective views. In seeking to contribute to, and hopefully advance, this debate, we defend the thesis that direct recourse to considerations of the social, moral, or economic impact on society of a particular rule or ruling, as distinct from the policy of a legal rule or policy as the deeper values of society, is inconsistent with the fundamental characteristics and methodology of the private law and that this is not contradicted by the necessary role of final appellate courts in reformulating the law or by the inherently political and instrumental underpinnings of statutory private law.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Legal Theory, Private Law

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How the Higher Education 'Industry' Shapes the Discipline of Law

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This article argues that a constellation of factors combine to encourage law graduates to pursue a career in corporate law at the expense of alternative destinations. Most notable are the increasingly high tuition fees law students are charged, but the respective roles of government, the admitting authorities, law schools and the profession cannot be discounted. Each change in policy renders resistance more difficult. The proposed higher education changes contained in the 2017 Australian Federal Budget are exemplary. As it is already assumed that law can be offered cheaply while charging high fees, the Budget cuts could induce universities to increase the number of law students as well as the cost of discretionary law degrees, such as the Juris Doctor. This would not only increase competition for law-related jobs in the labour market, but it would also effect a more vocational orientation to the law curriculum.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, PEARL

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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First Research and Evaluation Report Phase One Consumer Action Law Centre Project – Responding Effectively to Family Violence Dimensions of Debt and Credit Through Secondary Consultations & Training with Community Professionals

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

The Report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised that the family violence victim’s financial security impacts on their wellbeing. Beyond the role of the perpetrator of violence, many problems interact in relation to family violence related debt: 1. The considerable difficulties victims face in asserting and enforcing their financial rights alone; 2. A systemic failure by financial and utility service providers “to understand, identify and respond to economic abuse”; and 3. Inadequate legal and regulatory protections. This Research and Evaluation Report Phase One, evaluates whether the aim of this project to provide a Secondary Consultation (SC) service integrated with Consumer Action’s Training and Outreach program providing training, resources and support to community workers (‘community professionals’) to overcome barriers identified in previous studies by working with trusted community professionals to whom people experiencing family violence are likely to turn to enable their credit & debt legal issues is being addressed in a timely and effective way. The data discussed and analysed for this report including the proxies or benchmarks, set for this research evaluation are being achieved namely engagement, capacity, collaboration and empowerment however there are still some areas for improvement, which is only natural when this project is in its infancy and the issues as the Royal Commission highlights are so vexed and complex. The in-depth interviews reflect that trust and reliability are critical in gaining secondary consultations and referrals. The former being identified (as in other studies ) as critical if the latter are to flow. The qualitative data suggests that Consumer Action is starting to build trust and relationships but there are notes of warning from the interview participants about a need for clarity around the extent and resources and types of matters Consumer Action can assist with and offer support on. This the research participants 5/6 noted can also give them confidence and greater certainty as they support their clients through family violence and debt and credit related issues. The research data consistently highlights the value of secondary consultations (5 out of 6 of the participants strongly agree to its value) in providing efficient, effective and responsive timely secondary consultation to community professionals especially where clients may: not be emotionally ready to see a lawyer, have too many issues weighing on them, or have had poor experiences of lawyers. The latter is consistent with other research but seems to be addressed, as the participants noted in the in-depth interviews with the style of community lawyering that is approachable and practical and considers context. Consumer Action has delivered training sessions which double the number which the funding requires. This is a critical part of building the awareness not only of the service but of the range or problems capable of a legal solution, building trust and relationships and capacity to respond of agencies and other community professionals into the future beyond the extensive reach that Consumer Action already has, to financial counsellors. Noted by all interview participants was that secondary consultations are invaluable as they build trust, provide a form of instant on the spot training, especially for professionals and their clients in rural locations, which are being used to extend the reach of Consumer Action to clients beyond those for whom the initial consultation is sought as the information has wider utility. It can be timely and there is no intake process that for other services can present barriers.

Read on SSRN

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Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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A People's Federation? Populism, Deliberation and Federal Reform

Author(s): Ron Levy

In some ways populism provides a starkly poor fit to federal decision making – including decision making about a federation itself. As I describe in this chapter, contemporary populism is at once impatient for, and prone to derailing, federal reform. However, after diagnosing problems, I turn to consider institutional routes around them. The best solutions – those perhaps most able to restart stalled progress toward reform – may be those aiming to harness and redirect, rather than deny, populism’s rising tide. In this regard, deliberative democratic approaches to reform appear to hold particular promise.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law, Governance and Development

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Planning and Soft Law

Author(s): Greg Weeks

Complex regulatory systems are particularly in need of regulation capable of maintaining both high standards and consistency in decision-making. Soft law is frequently the mechanism of choice to achieve these ends, since it can be made and altered with relative ease but is nonetheless treated as though it were hard and enforceable ‘law’. The law around environmental planning decisions, although subject to detailed legislative control, makes extensive and predominantly effective use of soft law. However, the use of soft law always carries some risk and this is generally imposed asymmetrically upon individuals rather than public bodies. This article will consider these issues, taking account of several relevant cases.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law

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Deliberation at the Founding: Deliberative Democracy as an Original Constitutional Value

Author(s): Ron Levy

This article examines whether Australia’s constitutional founders intended that a deliberative form of democratic government should govern federally in Australia. Deliberative democratic ideals have long occupied a prominent place in democratic theory. However, they have seldom been brought to bear in a sustained way on historical questions about Australia’s constitutional design. For constitutional scholars, democratic deliberation is now generally a forgotten element of the Australian constitutional system. We show here how the framers concerned themselves with democratic deliberation, including how precisely they envisaged deliberative democratic practices during the federation Conventions and within the new federation. Our focus is on the framers’ understandings of deliberation within the institution of Parliament, and the subsidiary issues bearing on that question such as the relationship between Parliament and the executive and the role of political parties. Our research suggests that deliberative democracy should assume a prominent place alongside more widely acknowledged original constitutional values.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law, Governance and Development

Government Accountability

Government Accountability As a ‘Constitutional Value’

Author(s): Greg Weeks

Accountability is frequently described as one of the key ‘values’ or ‘ideals’ that administrative law is designed to uphold. Accountability’s greatest claim to hold the status of a value might be its ubiquity: it has been described as the ‘buzzword of modern governance’, the ‘über-concept of the 21st century’, and a ‘theme … central to all discussion of government’. Yet the modern meaning of accountability has developed very recently. The word ‘accountability’ can be found in Australian cases over the last century but most refer to the accountability of fiduciaries (such as liquidators and executors) in equity, of taxpayers, of tortfeasors, in electoral matters and of public companies, rather than of government bodies. The concept of the ‘accountability’ of government to those governed has become prominent only fairly recently.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative 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:

Research theme: Law and Technology

Judicial Review of Administrative Action

Judicial Review of Administrative Action and Government Liability 6th Edition

Author(s): Greg Weeks, Matthew Groves, Mark Aronson

Judicial Review of Administrative Action and Government Liability Sixth Edition is one of Australia’s most respected legal texts. It became the first title in our prestigious Lawbook Library Series, because it represents definitive legal scholarship and publishing excellence in Australian law. For two decades, this work has both mapped and supported development of the law and practice of judicial review of administrative action throughout Australia. Repeatedly cited in the High Court of Australia, this landmark work remains the definitive scholarly work for judicial officers, practitioners and students alike.

The sixth edition includes an entirely new chapter on what is now a substantial body of special statutory and common law rules that apply to government liability in contract, tort, and restitution. Numerous decisions of the High Court and the Federal Court, in particular, are producing a discernible relaxation of the traditional grounds of review, and a more expansive approach to the interpretation of regulatory statutes. In addition, the Full Court of the Federal Court has announced a simplification of the criteria for appeals limited to questions of law, overturning literally dozens of earlier precedents.

In the Sixth Edition, Mark Aronson and Matthew Groves are joined by Greg Weeks formerly from the University of New South Wales, and now at the Australian National University. Their combined expertise ensures that this pre-eminent title continues to provide a fresh and authoritative treatment of judicial review of administrative actions in Australia, and an invaluable guide to the special problems relating to government liability in tort, contract and equity.

Purchase your copy online

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

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.

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Centre:

Research theme: Private Law

Tasmanian Dam Case

The Tasmanian Dam Case 30 Years On: An enduring legacy

Author(s): Heather Roberts, James Stellios

In one of the great contests between State and federal power, the Tasmanian Dam Case pitted the immovable object of Tasmania’s commitment to a massive hydro-electric project against the irresistible force of the Commonwealth’s determination to protect the environment.

Who would prevail? Was it more important to create jobs and provide cheap power, or to preserve the natural beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness? On whom did the Australian Constitution confer the power to decide this question?

By the narrowest of majorities, the High Court decided in 1983 that the Commonwealth had the final say, and upheld legislation that prohibited the construction of a dam on the Gordon River below the Franklin.

Because of the passions aroused by the case, the Court took the unprecedented step of issuing a statement explaining that its job was not to decide whether the proposed dam was a good idea or not, but to determine whether this was a matter of State or federal power. Yet this issue was just as hotly contested. Could any subject be brought within federal power merely by the presence of an international treaty on that subject? Would affirming this proposition destroy the intended balance between State and federal power? Would denying the proposition disable Australia from full participation in international affairs?

Three decades after the High Court’s decision, these and other questions of law and policy remain of vital importance. This book brings together a fascinating collection of commentaries on the impact of the decision, and how the hopes and fears following the decision have played out.

This stimulating and timely book contains reflections from then Commonwealth Attorney-General Gareth Evans, then High Court Justice Sir Anthony Mason and leading Indigenous lawyer Professor Mick Dodson. The book also examines some novel questions, such as whether the outcome of the case was inevitable, how similar issues have played out in Canada, and whether better conservation outcomes are more likely to come from the Commonwealth or the States. These and other chapters offer fresh perspectives on one of the most important cases in High Court history.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory

Crown and Sword

Crown and Sword: Executive power and the use of force by the Australian Defence Force

Author(s):

The Australian Defence Force, together with military forces from a number of western democracies, have for some years been seeking out and killing Islamic militants in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, detaining asylum seekers for periods at sea or running the judicial systems of failed states. It has also been ready to conduct internal security operations at home. The domestic legal authority cited for this is often the poorly understood concept of executive power, which is power that derives from executive and not parliamentary authority. In an age of legality where parliamentary statutes govern action by public officials in the finest detail, it is striking that these extreme exercises of the use of force often rely upon an elusive legal basis. This book seeks to find the limits to the exercise of this extraordinary power.

Free download or order a printed copy

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Military & Security Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

New Directors for Law in Australia

New Directions for Law in Australia

Editor(s): Ron Levy, Molly Townes O'Brien, Pauline Ridge, Margaret Thornton

For reasons of effectiveness, efficiency and equity, Australian law reform should be planned carefully. Academics can and should take the lead in this process. This book collects over 50 discrete law reform recommendations, encapsulated in short, digestible essays written by leading Australian scholars. It emerges from a major conference held at The Australian National University in 2016, which featured intensive discussion among participants from government, practice and the academy. The book is intended to serve as a national focal point for Australian legal innovation. It is divided into six main parts: commercial and corporate law, criminal law and evidence, environmental law, private law, public law, and legal practice and legal education. In addition, Indigenous perspectives on law reform are embedded throughout each part. This collective work—the first of its kind—will be of value to policy makers, media, law reform agencies, academics, practitioners and the judiciary. It provides a bird’s eye view of the current state and the future of law reform in Australia.

Free download or order a printed copy

Centre: LRSJ, PEARL

Research theme: Law and Social Justice

Contemporary Australian Corporate Law

Contemporary Australian Corporate Law

Author(s): Peta Spender, Stephen Bottomley, Beth Nosworthy

Contemporary Australian Corporate Law provides an authoritative, contextual and critical analysis of Australian corporate and financial markets law, designed to engage today's LLB and JD students. Written by leading corporate law scholars, the text provides a number of features including: a well-structured presentation of topics for Australian corporate law courses, consistent application of theory with discussion of corporate law principles (both theoretical and historical), comprehensive discussion of case law with modern examples, and integration of corporate law and corporate governance, all with clarity, insight and technical excellence. 

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Centre: CCL

Research theme: Legal Education, Private Law, The Legal Profession

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