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.

Women Judges

Women Judges, 'Maiden Speeches,' and the High Court of Australia

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Since the Australian High Court was established in 1903, ceremonies have been held to mark the swearing-in of a new Justice. This chapter utilizes the speeches made at the swearing-in ceremonies of Gaudron, Crennan, Kiefel, and Bell as a prism to explore the representation of women judges in the Australian legal community, and in particular, the Australian High Court.

These ceremonies are a rich resource by virtue of the two kinds of speeches made on these occasions. First, leaders of the Australian legal community make speeches welcoming the new High Court judge to the bench. In a legal system where federal judges are chosen behind closed doors, the welcome speeches have performed a key role in introducing the new judges to the public, and attesting to their skills as lawyer and judge. Importantly, the litany of a new judge’s accomplishments on these occasions contextualizes the concept of “merit” in a High Court appointment. Furthermore, the speech by the Commonwealth Attorney-General has provided a measure of public justification of his decision to appoint a particular judge. This chapter explores how the welcome speakers have grappled with the novelty of the feminine in the stories about the four female High Court judges. I argue that gender too often dominated this narrative, to a discriminatory and feminizing effect. In this regard, however, Bell’s ceremony may signal a new direction in the Australian legal community’s attitude toward female judges.

The second element of the swearing-in ceremony is the judge’s response to the welcome speeches. As his or her inaugural speech as a member of the High Court, this speech is the judicial equivalent of the “maiden speech” by members of parliament. The judge’s speech is delivered in a setting rich with contradiction: a statement from the bench, yet of no judicial force; liberated in content and style from the boundaries of a legal dispute and yet constrained by the weight of convention regarding the “appropriate” remarks for an incoming judge; and, a statement of individual identity, values, and principles made from the “identity-less” judge of the common law tradition. For present purposes, the critical feature of the inaugural speeches of Australia’s four female High Court judges is how they tell their stories and the place of gender in that narrative. I argue that these speeches reflect a continuing pressure faced by women judges to distance themselves from the perception of their “otherness” on the bench. This pressure manifested first in Gaudron’s speech, Women Judges, “Maiden Speeches,” and the High Court of Australia when she tempered her bold acknowledgment of her identity as the first woman to join the High Court with affirmations of her sameness with her brother judges. Significantly, twenty years later, Bell’s swearing-in speech continued to display both a self-conscious silencing of her feminine voice and statements affirming her distance from outsiders on the bench.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, The Legal Profession

Using Discourse Theory

Introduction: Using Discourse Theory to Untangle Public and International Environmental Law

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

The world is talking, pondering, and strategising about the environment. Ever more of the environment has been identified, publicly contemplated, or designated for despoliation and resource extraction. Remote and ‘wild’ places like the rugged Australian Kimberley and the far reaches of North America are now subject to advanced plans for fossil fuel extraction. Environmental disasters, including fires, floods, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunami, and schemes to alleviate or prevent future human suffering from catastrophe, have occupied governmental and organisational attention. Meanwhile, concerns about environmental degradation, and in particular human-induced climate change, dominate Western media and national and international politics, and are connecting communities through conversation and localised action. The nature, breadth and extent of global responses to climate change are also points of contention between the developing and developed worlds.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Deliberative Constitutional

Deliberative Constitutional Change in a Polarised Federation

Author(s): Ron Levy

Citizens’ Assemblies are innovative deliberative democratic processes that recommend constitutional or other key legal reforms. They are formed from 100-plus randomly-selected citizens who convene over several months to learn from experts in a particular area of public policy, and thereafter to recommend a specific law reform. In the 2010 Australian general election, the incumbent Labor government’s promise to create a Citizens’ Assembly attracted strongly unfavourable popular media responses. In contrast, this article reports empirical data showing generally high Australian levels of trust in Citizens' Assemblies and deliberative democracy. The article also engages in further analysis to search for signs that such trust varies with social demographics; marked demographic cleavages could potentially be fatal to the success of reforms. In a first set of results, the article finds surprisingly uniform trust in deliberative democracy across most demographic groups (eg, defined by age, sex, educational achievement, political party and region). However, trust in Citizens’ Assemblies, while still generally uniform, is subject to more variation, including intriguing regional, populist and other distinctions.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

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

A Tale of Two Questions? An Evidence-Based Argument for Coordinated Constitutional Reform in Australia

Author(s): Ron Levy

Australia recently convened two nationwide consultation panels to plan for upcoming referendums on constitutional reform. The first panel considered how to update the Constitution to recognise Indigenous Australians. The second considered the place of local governments in the federal constitutional scheme. The existence of two separate panels, without a clear process for the next step of providing the Parliament and people with coordinated advice about the proposals, raises natural questions. Assuming that recommendations can be found for both proposals to proceed, should the people be presented with two proposals for constitutional alteration, or just one? If not presented together, then should there be a staged process of reform, and if so, what should be its public logic? Given that there are also other issues of constitutional reform of importance to many Australians, how can the Parliament proceed with either or both of these particular issues in a way that makes public sense, rather than one open to accusations of pandering to sectional political interests, engaging in ad hoc tinkering as a political distraction, or worse?

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

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

Chapter III of the Constitution, Federal Jurisdiction and Dialogue Charters of Human Rights

Author(s): Will Bateman, James Stellios

The High Court’s decision in Momcilovic v The Queen is the first to consider the compatibility of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 (Vic) with ch III of the Constitution. The decision will have significant implications for the continuing effectiveness of key provisions of the Charter, the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) and any future federal charter of human rights. This article analyses the decision and evaluates its implications for the dialogue model of statutory human rights protection in Australia. It also considers several controversial statements concerning the principles of federal jurisdiction that arise from the decision.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, International Law, Law and Technology, Regulatory Law and Policy

‘Swearing Mary’: The Significance of the Speeches Made at Mary Gaudron's Swearing-in as a Justice of the High Court of Australia

Author(s): Heather Roberts

During the High Court of Australia’s first century, Mary Gaudron served as the first and only female member of its bench. This paper commemorates the 25th anniversary of Gaudron’s appointment to the High Court by examining the speeches made at her swearing-in ceremony, in February 1987. Largely ignored by scholars, swearing-in ceremonies provide unique insights into the history of courts and the personality and philosophy of their judges. Through the prism of Gaudron’s swearing-in ceremony, this paper showcases the significance of these occasions as a commentary on the institutional and intellectual life of the Court. In particular, Gaudron’s swearing-in ceremony tells a fascinating story of institutional and gender politics in the High Court: the legal community’s varied response to the novelty of a woman High Court Justice; Gaudron’s intricate balancing between her distinctive vision of her obligations as a mentor to women lawyers and her role as ‘one of seven’ on a collegiate bench; and the perennial tension between innovation and tradition in legal method.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, The Legal Profession

A Tale of Two Questions? An Evidence-Based Argument for Coordinated Constitutional Reform in Australia

Author(s): Ron Levy

Australia recently convened two nationwide consultation panels to plan for upcoming referendums on constitutional reform. The first panel considered how to update the Constitution to recognise Indigenous Australians. The second considered the place of local governments in the federal constitutional scheme. The existence of two separate panels, without a clear process for the next step of providing the Parliament and people with coordinated advice about the proposals, raises natural questions. Assuming that recommendations can be found for both proposals to proceed, should the people be presented with two proposals for constitutional alteration, or just one? If not presented together, then should there be a staged process of reform, and if so, what should be its public logic? Given that there are also other issues of constitutional reform of importance to many Australians, how can the Parliament proceed with either or both of these particular issues in a way that makes public sense, rather than one open to accusations of pandering to sectional political interests, engaging in ad hoc tinkering as a political distraction, or worse?

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

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

Bottomley, Law in Context

Law in Context (4th ed)

Author(s): Stephen Bottomley, Simon Bronitt

This fourth edition of Law in Context not only updates the text by reference to the latest thinking and developments in the broad area of ‘law in context’, but also introduces readers to the wider social, political and regulatory contexts of law. Bottomley and Bronitt, as in previous editions, expose readers to the multitude of contexts (some explicit, others implicit) that affect how law is made, broken and enforced by the state or individual citizens. The fundamental ideals of law – such as the Rule of Law – rest on cherished liberal values, though the authors constantly encourage readers not to accept uncritically the rhetoric of law, but to test these assumptions through empirical eyes. 

Order your copy online

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Criminal Law, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Book cover

Delegated Legislation in Australia (4th ed)

Author(s): Dennis Pearce, Stephen Argument

This new edition of Delegated Legislation in Australia deals in detail with the important topic of delegated or subordinate legislation. Legislation made by various government and other bodies under the authority of an Act of Parliament exceeds in volume the legislation made by Parliaments in the form of Acts. This book is an essential guide for legislators, public officials at all levels of government, judicial officers and lawyers.

Order your copy online

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Regulatory Law and Policy

Book cover

Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law - the Legacy of Modernism

Author(s): Desmond Manderson

Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law -The Legacy of Modernism addresses the legacy of contemporary critiques of language for the concept of the rule of law. Between those who care about the rule of law and those who are interested in contemporary legal theory, there has been a dialogue of the deaf, which cannot continue. Starting from the position that contemporary critiques of linguistic meaning and legal certainty are too important to be dismissed, Desmond Manderson takes up the political and intellectual challenge they pose. Can the rule of law be re-configured in light of the critical turn of the past several years in legal theory, rather than being steadfastly opposed to it? Pursuing a reflection upon the relationship between law and the humanities, the book stages an encounter between the influential theoretical work of Jacques Derrida and MIkhail Bakhtin, and D.H. Lawrence's strange and misunderstood novel Kangaroo (1923).

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Centre: CLAH

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

Chisholm, Understanding Law

Understanding law: an introduction to Australia's legal system (8th ed)

Author(s): Richard Chisholm, Garth Nettheim

Written by highly qualified authors, the direct, clear and often humorous style of this book will help readers understand how the law relates to real issues and controversies. The institutions and sources of law in our legal system are clearly explained, including the roles of lawyers, the courts and the legislature. Illustrative examples and a discussion of actual cases enable students and other citizens to engage with topics such as historical basis of Australian law, Australian law and international law, human rights, procedural fairness and the notions of law and morality. New stimulus questions and activities included in this 8th edition invite the reader to consider the interrelationship of law, tradition and social values. Understanding Law is a perfect introduction to the law for students engaging with legal studies and for other academic disciplines at tertiary and senior secondary levels. It is an ideal starting point for any Australian interested in learning more about their legal system.

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Centre:

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice

Recognition and Narrative Identities

Recognition and Narrative Identities: The Legal Creation, Alienation and Liberation of the Refugee

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

That a refugee often has a transformative experience in their encounter with a status determination regime is uncontentious. The practical need for legal recognition of a pre-existing status for the purpose of protection marries with a very personal need for recognition of one’s experience. The granting or withholding of either type of recognition has consequences for the various identities created in the process. Both depend upon the story told, and the manner of its reception.

This paper arose initially out of my own anecdotal experience as a legal representative for refugees over many years. It found its genesis in reflections on the role I played in helping shape the story that would be told to administrative decisions makers by my clients, and my growing concern that I was complicit in a process of legal institutionalisation, distortion and even alienation of something ‘authentic’ in the refugee experience and identity. As will become apparent, I am no longer so damning of my role and that of my fellow lawyers and decision-makers, or indeed of the ‘regulative discourse’ imposed by refugee law itself. The refugee has more agency than perhaps appears at first blush. I am also more questioning of my own original assumptions about authenticity, categorisation and recognition.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, LRSJ

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Religion, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Elementary Considerations of Humanity

Elementary Considerations of Humanity

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

International law has long been infused with a vague commitment towards an indeterminate notion of humanity. An examination of humanity as a specific normative idea in the historical discourse of international law provides a platform for better understanding the rhetorical and substantive meaning of ‘elementary considerations of humanity’ in the seminal Corfu Channel case, as well as Judge Alverez’s use of the more affective (and perhaps honest) term ‘sentiments of humanity’ in his separate opinion. With the Court otherwise silent as to the content, scope and status of the principle, such background informs the judicial attitudinal stance taken towards this apparently ‘self-evident’ principle, as well as the values which the Court and other international tribunals would subsequently bring to their norm creation and enforcement roles, not least with respect to general principles as a source of law. Drawing upon the work of Koskenniemi and the analyses of the Martens clause by scholars such as Meron and Cassese, the chapter places particular emphasis on the political, normative and empathetic potential of the term, and its inherent relationship to a foundational, essentialist and idealistic notion of humanity which continues to gain strength in the discipline.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, LRSJ

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Religion, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Book Review - Michael Kirby

Book Review: Michael Kirby: Paradoxes and Principles

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

Janet Malcolm, in her brilliant rumination on the problem of biography in The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, writes:

… the narratives called biographies pale and shrink in the face of the disorderly actuality that is a life. … The goal is to make a space where a few ideas and images and feelings may be so arranged that a reader will want to linger awhile among them, rather than to flee…

A desire to linger awhile is certainly my reaction to reading and enjoying this fulsome account of the first 70 years of Michael Kirby’s life (drawing on over 117 metres of personal records held by the National Archives of Australia, extensive speeches and other papers prepared by the subject, not to mention his court judgments). Brown also skilfully makes space for a few central images and feelings to assist one’s progress through this extensive and absorbing book. The opening image shared with the reader is of the Khyber Pass, where Kirby was travelling for the second time with partner Johan van Vloten. It is 17 December 1973 and ‘This time, at least, there were no guns’. Three and a half years earlier, Afridi tribesmen ‘brandishing rifles’ asked if he was British and ‘the young Australian traveller answered yes’.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples

A Mirror to the Man

A Mirror to the Man: Reflecting on Justice William Deane: A Private Man in Public Office

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Sir William Deane was a member of the High Court of Australia during one of its most creative periods, from 1982 to 1995. His decisions displayed a notable commitment to social justice and a willingness to extend the constitutional protection of human rights. These tendencies were particularly prominent during the Mason Court years (1987-1995), manifesting in decisions including Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1; Dietrich v The Queen (1992) 177 CLR 292; Leeth v Commonwealth (1992) 174 CLR 455; and the political communication cases of 1992 and 1994. Although his judgments displayed a clear vision of his judicial responsibilities, Deane adopted a strict extra-judicial silence regarding the principles that informed his judicial philosophy. However, as Australia's 22nd Governor-General Deane was more open regarding his personal beliefs and their influence on his performance of those duties. This article utilises Deane's public statements as Governor-General to shed light on the foundations of his judicial philosophy. In particular, as Governor-General Deane drew on his Christian faith to support his commitment to highlight the cause of indigenous reconciliation and the plight of the disadvantaged in Australia. This article argues that Deane's spiritual convictions, as articulated in his vice-regal statements, can also be regarded as underpinning his understanding of his role as High Court Justice.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, The Legal Profession

I am the Law

'I am the Law'! – Perspectives of Legality and Illegality in the Israeli Army

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

The language of morality and legality infuses every aspect of the Middle East conflict. From repeated assertions by officials that Israel has "the most moral army in the world" to justifications for specific military tactics and operations by reference to self-defence and proportionality, the public rhetoric is one of legal right and moral obligation. Less often heard are the voices of those on the ground whose daily experience is lived within the legal quagmire portrayed by their leaders in such uncompromising terms. This Article explores the opaque normative boundaries surrounding the actions of a specific group within the Israeli military, soldiers returning from duty in Hebron in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. By examining interviews with these soldiers by an Israeli NGO, it identifies different narratives of legality and illegality which inform their conduct, contrasting their failure to adhere to conventional legal discourses with the broader "legalisation" of military activities. Seeking an explanation for this disjunction, it explores the ways in which the soldiers' stories nonetheless reflect attempts to negotiate various normative and legal realities. It places these within the legal landscape of the Occupied Palestinian Territories which has been normatively re-imagined by various forces in Israeli society, from the judicially-endorsed discourse of deterrence manifested in the day-to-day practices of brutality, intimidation and "demonstrating power", to the growing influence of nationalist-religious interpretations of self-defence and the misuse of post-modernist theory by the military establishment to "smooth out" the moral and legal urban architectures of occupation. The Article concludes by considering the hope for change evident in the very act of soldiers telling ethically-oriented stories about their selves, and in the existence of a movement willing to provide the space for such reflections in an attempt to confront Israeli society with the day-to-day experiences of the soldier in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, LRSJ

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Religion, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Recognition and Narrative Identities

Recognition and Narrative Identities: The Legal Creation, Alienation and Liberation of the Refugee

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

That a refugee often has a transformative experience in their encounter with a status determination regime is uncontentious. The practical need for legal recognition of a pre-existing status for the purpose of protection marries with a very personal need for recognition of one’s experience. The granting or withholding of either type of recognition has consequences for the various identities created in the process. Both depend upon the story told, and the manner of its reception.

This paper arose initially out of my own anecdotal experience as a legal representative for refugees over many years. It found its genesis in reflections on the role I played in helping shape the story that would be told to administrative decisions makers by my clients, and my growing concern that I was complicit in a process of legal institutionalisation, distortion and even alienation of something ‘authentic’ in the refugee experience and identity. As will become apparent, I am no longer so damning of my role and that of my fellow lawyers and decision-makers, or indeed of the ‘regulative discourse’ imposed by refugee law itself. The refugee has more agency than perhaps appears at first blush. I am also more questioning of my own original assumptions about authenticity, categorisation and recognition.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH, LRSJ

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Religion, Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Citizenship and the Boundaries of the Constitution

Citizenship and the Boundaries of the Constitution

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

Citizenship is a prime site for comparison between different constitutional systems, for the idea of citizenship, and the ideals it is taken to represent, go to the heart of how states are constituted and defined. Who is governed by the constitution? What are the boundaries of the constitution? The definition of the class of 'citizens' of a state and the identification of their rights, privileges and responsibilities is one way to answer these questions, and is a core function of national constitutions and a central concern of public law. In this chapter, we consider several written constitutions and attempt to convey some of the diversity in constitutional approaches to this fundamental and universal project for nation states.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

Research theme: Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Legal History and Ethnology, Migration and Movement of Peoples

Drawing Boundaries

Drawing Boundaries: Election Law and Its Democratic Consequences

Author(s): Ron Levy

This chapter delineates three conceptions of fairness in election law using the example of electoral boundary drawing. A tradition of ‘positive’ fairness in Australia and Canada – though recently challenged – is shown to be more democratically representative and coherent than ‘negative’ and ‘perfectionist’ conceptions dominant in the American election law setting.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

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

Judicial Selections Reform in Comparative Context

Author(s): Ron Levy

In the past two decades, many common law states have tweaked, modernized, or radically upended their methods of judicial selections, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. This article reviews a number of these innovations, including public hearings and efforts to set more 'objective' methods and criteria for selections. The article focuses on the impact of reforms on cultures of judicial decision-making and selections.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

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

Pages

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