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.
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.
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.
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.
Research theme: Administrative Law
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.
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.
Research theme: Administrative Law
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.
Research theme: Law and Technology
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.
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.
Research theme: Private Law
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.
Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory
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.
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.
Research theme: Law and Social Justice
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.
'Envisioning Student Learning in a Multi-Disciplinary Student Clinic Future Practitioners Learning About Working Collaboratively Across Disciplines to Better Help Community’ (Presentation Slides)
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
In this paper, the author examines the imperative for interdisciplinary student clinics where law, nursing, social work and other disciplines work together in joint classes at undergraduate levels to learn collaborative and client skills to overcome barriers and professional stereotypes that impede the solving of clients problems holistically. Then they can work towards delivering a real life advice clinic to clients in most need and undertake systemic reforms to avert problems.
The paper defines interdisciplinary student clinics and multi-disciplinary practice given the nomenclature in literature is contradictory and confusing.
The presenter’s research and practical experience as a clinical legal education supervising solicitor within a health service has led to the idea for the development of an interdisciplinary student clinic as an important way of building better and more responsive future practitioners in health, law and allied health disciplines.
The paper outlines some initiatives undertaken by law students under her supervision that could if further developed be done in collaboration and co-cooperatively alongside other colleagues in different fields and in student learning to ensure respectful and reciprocal learning. It can also lead to an appreciation of different professional roles and differing ethical obligations. In this paper, the author identifies why there is a need for such an approach to break down barriers between professionals to improve social justice and health outcomes based on her recent empirical research.
She will explore research and new approaches to lawyering and health services provision that works across silos to enable more seamless navigable service options for real life clients of the clinic and new approaches in a work place.
The author has been asked to advise (pro bono) on the establishment of such an innovative clinic at Portsmouth University in the UK for nursing, law and social work students.
This initiative by way of a pilot aims to see work across academic disciplines and with clinical supervisors from different fields designing and teaching together in such a IDSC.
The author notes that a further paper is being developed in collaboration with the Head of Law and Head of Nursing at Portsmouth University that explores these issues in more details.
An Interdisciplinary Student Clinic at University of Portsmouth (UoP): Future Practitioners Working Collaboratively to Improve Health and Wellbeing of Clients (Presentation Slides)
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
Our paper fits into all the themes ● The clinician and community needs ● The clinician and research into the impact of clinic ● The clinician and academic identity ● The clinician and curriculum and student learning
This paper examines the value in students, academics and clinical supervisors learning and working together across different disciplines through an interdisciplinary student clinic (IDSC) to deliver legal and public health education to people who experience social exclusion by reason of vulnerability or disadvantage (including poverty)– the ‘Health Justice Partnership Student Clinic’.
This paper situates the discussion firstly within the context of author one’s research on multi-disciplinary practices (MDP) including Health Justice Partnerships (HJP) which have led to this decision at University of Portsmouth to set up a IDSC. MDP in this context is where a number of professionals work together in a practice to assist the client using their different skills but in the one place and setting. One subset of an MDP is the HJP which sees lawyers working alongside nursing and allied health professionals to reach clients with a range of problems capable of legal solutions e.g. debt, family violence, poor housing, consumer issues, care and protection, human rights, access to services. It is about going to where people in need of help are likely to turn.
This paper firstly identifies the evidence-based research that has led the authors to see the need, not just for multi-disciplinary practices in a service context but also interdisciplinary practice and teaching opportunities through clinical learning that brings greater collaboration for students, supervisors and academics across the professional divide to improve outcomes for clients. The authors see a critical need in universities to better prepare the emerging professionals to learn about collaboration with other disciplines and demonstrate influence and impact in the wider community. Author one’s empirical research into effective practice also suggests that such collaboration leads to better outcomes for clients and patients especially those experience some form of vulnerability or disadvantage.
Secondly, as there is some literature on IDP and IDSC, (mainly from the United States and Australia) this paper will explore other models, the reasons and rationales for their emergence and the benefits and challenges and how this has informed the development other new pilot IDSC at the University of Portsmouth. The paper then discusses why the IDSC has emerged as an important way of building better and more responsive future practitioners in nursing, law and allied health disciplines.
The paper also discusses aims of the three-year University of Portsmouth pilot IDSC and the joint learning opportunities for students of different disciplines, their supervisors and across departments which are envisioned so as to break down barriers between professionals, enable future practitioners to collaborate across different fields and thereby improve social justice and health outcomes for clients and community. These include fostering and increasing understanding and respect for different professional roles and approaches, breaking down stereotypes, enhancing student employability and working together to better reach and meet client/patient needs by being more responsive to legal and public health needs.
The proposed trial IDSC HJP student clinic course will teach new approaches to students studying nursing, dentistry and law in a joint learning environment that includes problem solving, relationship-building, communication and collaboration skills in a clinic which will provide live client legal and public health advice. It will discuss how this is being undertaken and the challenges and approach of the course and its curriculum.
The paper finally discusses the embedded evaluation of the pilot study. It is embedded as the authors are keen to enable good practice, share lessons learned and inform replicable models in other university settings. The embedded evaluation being undertaken will inform as to the projects impact on students, academic staff, partner agencies and clients.
This Paper was presented to a Roundtable of the National Social Security Rights Network in Canberra on 5 August 2017.
The Paper reports on recent developments in social security law in Australia, particularly with reference to recent decisions of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Federal Court of Australia.
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.
Author(s): Ron Levy
In this article I examine controversies over the use of referenda and plebiscites for constitutional reform. My chief example is a recent development toward plebiscitary democracy in Australia. Although there is no legal requirement in Australia for a popular vote to legalize same-sex marriage, the federal government considered holding such a vote. Marriage rights provide a key example in which the normative case for direct democratic constitutional reform remains unsettled, and indeed controversial. I rely on deliberative democratic theory to conclude that referenda and plebiscites generally should be part of constitutional reform processes. I nuance this conclusion by outlining categories of legal norms raising distinctive considerations as to whether and when public voting should precede constitutional reform.
Australian Federal Labor, Green and Independent politicians have recently called for a blanket ban on sports-embedded gambling advertising (SEGA), and the Prime Minister has announced that such advertising would be banned during live sporting telecasts before 8.30pm. A considerable body of research establishes the adverse public health impacts of such gambling. The decision of the Australian High Court in Betfair Pty Ltd v Western Australia (2008) 234 CLR 418 paved the way, however, for an expansive online Australian sports-betting market for both interstate operators and internationally located gambling companies. The combination of widespread internet access and smart phone usage has resulted in an environment where placing a bet is more likely to occur in the home in front of children, hence the concern about its “normalisation”. Elite sports people have made public pronouncements that SEGA is now excessive, inconsistent with blanket prohibitions on gambling by elite sports people and damaging to public health. This column critically examines the regulatory landscape governing the advertisement, sponsorship and promotion of SEGA within Australian sport and why the current Bills on this topic do not go far enough.
High Court of Australia and HIV/AIDS Disease Criminalisation: Aubrey V the Queen and Zaburoni V the Queen
In 2017, the High Court of Australia in Aubrey v The Queen (2017) 91 ALJR 601;  HCA 18 considered the term “inflict” grievous bodily harm, under common law, and expanded its interpretation to incorporate nonviolent and non-immediate infection of a disease, overturning a 120 year authority in R v Clarence (1888) 22 QBD 23. In the previous case of Zaburoni v The Queen (2016) 256 CLR 482;  HCA 12, the High Court allowed an appeal from the Qld Supreme Court finding that repeated acts of unprotected sexual intercourse by a man who knew he was infected with HIV/AIDS, though callous and reckless, did not constitute intention to infect his female partner; consequently, he could be found guilty of a lesser offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm which carried a maximum 14-year prison sentence rather than life imprisonment. These decisions illustrate a court intersecting with an emerging trend to use legislation creating criminal offences to deter those who intentionally or recklessly infect others with life-shortening diseases.