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 Wages of Sin

The Wages of Sin: Compensation for Indigenous Workers

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

After two centuries of exploitation, Indigenous people in Australia are now engaged in a struggle to recover what has come to be known as ‘stolen wages’, although there is uncertainty as to the best legal avenue. This article overviews the course of the struggle, which began in the industrial arena but moved to the discrimination arena, where modest damages have been awarded, although academic commentary favours breach of fiduciary duty or breach of trust. Drawing on the Kantian binary of active and passive citizens, the authors argue that the initiation of civil action represents an important site of active citizenship. Viewed in this light, it is argued that breach of fiduciary duty should be rejected, if the time of the misappropriation allows it, as it instantiates the passivity and inequality associated with the colonial era, while breach of trust entails monumental problems of proof. Further recourse to anti-discrimination legislation is advocated because its theoretical framework is based on equality - a foundational premise of citizenship.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

The Spectral Ground

The Spectral Ground: Religious Belief Discrimination

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper considers the ground of religious belief under anti-discrimination law and argues that it is a spectral ground. While discrimination is proscribed in the same way as other grounds, religious belief is never defined; it merely has to be ‘lawful’, which is also not defined. While the proscription emerged from an official commitment to state secularism, in addition to tolerance and diversity, its permeable character allows mainstream Christianity, neoconservative fundamentalism and other variables to seep into it. An analysis of discrimination complaints shows how this occurs metonymically through proscribed grounds, such as sex, sexuality, ethnicity and race. The phenomenon is most marked post-9/11 through what has come to be known as ‘Islamophobia’. The proscription of religious vilification and incitement to religious hatred, which takes discrimination on the ground of religious belief to a new plane, further reveals the tendency of the spectral ground to absorb prevailing political influences.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Disabling Discrimination Legislation

Disabling Discrimination Legislation: The High Court and Judicial Activism

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This article takes issue with detractors of judicial activism, such as Australian High Court judge, Dyson Heydon, who claim that it undermines the rule of law. It is argued that all judging necessarily involves an activist element because of the choices that judges make. Their reliance on values is starkly illustrated in the area of discrimination law where there may be no precedents and judges are perennially faced with interpretative crossroads. The neoliberal turn and a change in the political composition of the Australian High Court post-Wik underscore the activist role. With particular reference to the disability discrimination decisions handed down by the Court in the last two decades, it is argued that it is not so much the progressive judges as the conservatives who are the rogue activists engaged in corroding the rule of law; because of the way they consistently subvert legislative intent.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Desegregation and the Struggle for Equal Schooling

Desegregation and the Struggle for Equal Schooling: Rolling the Rock of Sisyphus

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien

Economic integration and citizen equality have been core ideals of American public schooling since its founding. The egalitarian ideals of free schooling, however, have never matched public school reality. Closing the gap between the idealistic rhetoric and the discriminatory reality of public schooling has been the target of school reform for decades and a major goal of the Civil Rights movement. This chapter recounts the effort to achieve equal educational opportunity for African Americans through school desegregation. Beginning with 19th century cases and continuing through Brown v. Board of Education to Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, this chapter provides an overview of the litigation and court decisions dealing with school segregation and desegregation, and creates a picture of advancement toward and retrenchment from the goals of equal educational opportunity. It compares school reformers to Sisyphus, struggling mightily to push schools toward the ideals of equal opportunity and equal access, only to see progress roll back, time and again.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

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

Two Turns of the Screw

Two Turns of the Screw: The Hart-Fuller Debate

Author(s): Desmond Manderson

Henry James’ short novel The Turn of the Screw appeared in 1898. It is a ghost story, uncanny both in content and in form. It relates such uneventful events that the reader is left turning from interpretation to interpretation, trying to determine just what is going on. Yet like the ghosts themselves, wherever we look, there is nothing to see. Until the very last sentence of the book, which hits one like a fist, nothing happens, nothing is proved, and yet a palpable feeling of tension and anxiety builds. It is therefore not fanciful to suggest that the real power of the story lies not in its narrative but in its rhetoric. The book creates a mood of anxiety that infects the reader’s reading. This is what one might call the ‘performative’ dimension of the story. James’ tale constitutes a reader, alert but confused, who thereby experiences the feeling of being part of a ghost story rather than merely reading about one.

Sixty years later, HLA Hart and Lon Fuller likewise do not merely describe two different approaches to legal interpretation: in their style, rhetoric and structure they perform these approaches. This essay similarly wishes to connect its argument with its form and for this reason I have chosen to devote considerable space to discussing a work of literature. The Turn of the Screw illuminates certain essential features of the Hart/Fuller debate. Both are tales about law, interpretation, and ghosts. Through James, this essay argues that the debate between Hart and Fuller epitomizes legal interpretation as haunted. Rhetorically, they present two largely incommensurable visions of law. Yet their efforts to exclude the other’s approach fails. But instead of choosing between Hart and Fuller we can gain a richer understanding of legal interpretation if we treat their performance as mutual and interactive. I do not mean that Hart and Fuller can in any way be reconciled through compromise or synthesis. I mean rather that each remains ‘haunted’, and therefore productively unsettled, by the perspective of the other. To be haunted is never to be comfortable with one’s judgment or knowledge, never at peace. This may be ‘a horror’ in a story, but necessary in a legal system.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Legal Theory

Trust US Justice

Trust US Justice: '24', Popular Culture and the Law

Author(s): Desmond Manderson

The television series ‘24’ has been a television phenomenon which over seven series has spawned a mass following and innumerable spin-offs including webisodes, prequels, games, and action figures. More significantly it has been enormously influential in the construction of the relationship between rule of law and security issues, particularly in relation to terrorism. Jack Bauer’s actions, and specifically his use of torture in the common good, have been important influences in the development of the US debate. Nonetheless, to situate ‘24’ as a purely contemporary phenomenon – a child of 9/11 – is to miss the larger point.

On the one hand ‘24’ frames law against questions of singularity which appeal to a longstanding tradition of vigilante justice evident in familiar archetypes of cowboys and superheroes. At the same time such a tradition reaches back to much older Christological models of justice and subjectivity which modernism has deflected but never defeated. In ‘24’ and elsewhere, popular culture does not merely keep these memories of law alive: it actively realizes and advances them, and needs to be understood not only as a depiction of law but as a law-making force in its own right. A pluralist theory of law ties contemporary technological manifestations of popular culture back to law’s enduring social and discursive roots as we see, for example, in EP Thompson’s Cultures in Common. One might even characterize popular culture as a defence of some sort of ‘moral legality’ against the ‘market legality’ of modernity.

On the other hand, ‘24’ frames law against questions of urgency and emotion. While popular culture has for centuries reflected an older form of law and justice, its capacity to undermine the very pluralist and discursive openness which are its well-spring, demonstrates the dangers to which the rhetoric of urgency and the emotional power of medium and message are prone. In a world shorn of its faith in the traditional structures which sustained the moral economy and the moral legality, the appeal to simply trust in an inarticulable justice sustained by an emotional pitch which is in ‘24’ at every moment apparent, opens the prospect of legal terrorism.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Legal Theory

Shakespeare and Judgment

Shakespeare and Judgment: The Renewal of Law and Literature

Author(s): Desmond Manderson

Legal theorist Desmond Manderson and Shakespearean Paul Yachnin develop parallel arguments that seek to restore a public dimension of responsibility to literary studies and a private dimension of responsibility to law. Their arguments issue from their work as the creators of the Shakespeare Moot Court at McGill University, a course in which graduate English students team up with senior Law students to argue cases in “Court of Shakespeare,” where the sole Institutes, Codex, and Digest are comprised by the plays of Shakespeare. Yachnin argues that modern literary studies suffers from impermanence and isolation from real-world concerns and that it can redress these limitations — developing attributes of corrigibility, temporality, judgment, and publicity — by learning from law. Manderson finds modern legal judgment bereft of affective engagement with the subjects of law and wedded to an ideal of objectivity, regulation, and impersonality. Literature can restore to legal judgment the elements of narrative, character, context, and self-reflection. Together, the essays argue that the question of judgment, so integral to the disciplines of law and of literature, needs the renewal that an inter-disciplinary engagement provides.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Legal Theory

Why Good Intentions are Often Not Enough

Why Good Intentions are Often Not Enough: The Potential for Ethical Blindness in Legal Decision-Making

Author(s): Kath Hall

This chapter takes as its starting point the question of how otherwise experienced and principled lawyers can make blatantly unethical decisions. As recent research has shown, lawyers can become involved in legitimizing inhuman conduct just as they can in perpetuating accounting fraud or hiding client scandal. To an outsider looking at these circumstances, it invariably appears that the lawyers involved consciously acted immorally. Within the common framework of deliberative action, we tend to see unethical behaviour as the result of conscious and controlled mental processes.

Whilst awareness is always part of our actions, this chapter challenges the pervasiveness of assumptions about the power of conscious processes in ethical decision making. Drawing on a range of psychological research, it focuses on two important findings: first, that automatic mental processes are far more dominant in our thinking than most of us are aware; and second, that because we do not generally have introspective access to these processes, we infer from their results what the important factors in our decision making must be. These findings challenge the notion that individuals can be fully aware of what influences them to act ethically or unethically. It also suggests that we need to concentrate upon those conscious processes that we do know influence decision making in deepening our understanding of how to improve ethical awareness.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Legal Education, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Do We Really Want to Know

Do We Really Want to Know?: Recognizing the Importance of Student Psychological Well-Being in Australian Law Schools

Author(s): Kath Hall

Recent research in Australia has suggested that law students are four times more likely than students in other degrees to suffer from anxiety and depression. The Brain and Mind Research Institute’s (BMRI) 2008 survey of lawyers and law students found that over 35% of the law students studied suffered from high to very high levels of psychological distress, and that almost 40% reported distress severe enough to warrant clinical or medical intervention. This contrasted with just over 17% of medical students and 13% of the general population. Similarly, a significant portion of the lawyers surveyed were found to suffer from elevated levels of anxiety and depression, with 31% falling in the high to very high levels of psychological distress.

With research on student well-being now becoming available in Australia, this article takes up the point of how Australian law schools will respond to these findings. It suggests that even before we start to consider the question of what we should do about the problem of student well-being, we must recognize that there are common psychological processes which can undermine our response to these issues. In particular, research in cognitive dissonance and rationalization suggest that even as we become aware of negative information on law student distress, we can unconsciously ignore it or rationalize it away on the basis that it is not relevant to us. Furthermore, these same cognitive processes can affect our students, such that they can fail to appreciate the significant implications of this research for them.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Legal Education, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Australian Professional Practice Bodies and the Tort of Negligent Investigation

Australian Professional Practice Bodies and the Tort of Negligent Investigation

Author(s): Esme Shirlow

The New South Wales Supreme Court has examined the statutory and common law duties of the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission and the New South Wales Medical Board in the recent case of Attorney General (NSW) v Bar-Mordecai [2008] NSWSC 774. The judgment establishes that a professional practice body investigating the alleged misconduct of a doctor will rarely be liable under Australian statutory or common law duties to compensate that doctor for harm arising as a result of negligent investigatory practices. In particular, it establishes that such a body owes no duty to take reasonable care to avoid psychiatric injury to a medical practitioner against whom a complaint has been lodged that is being investigated by it. It is argued that the differing relevant approaches to the tort of negligent investigation in Canada and Australia stem from differences not only in policy values but in the legal frameworks used in each jurisdiction to determine the existence of duties of care at common law.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: International Law

Commonwealth Power Over Infrastructure

Commonwealth Power Over Infrastructure: Constitutional Tools for National Economic Regulation

Author(s): Fiona Wheeler

This paper considers the extent of the Commonwealth’s power under the Australian Constitution to make laws regulating economic infrastructure such as transport, communications and energy. In this context, the external affairs power in s 51(xxix) of the Constitution, the communications power in s 51(v), the corporations power in s 51(xx) and the interstate and overseas trade and commerce power in s 51(i) are all addressed. The High Court’s strongly nationalist approach to constitutional construction, most recently affirmed in 2006 in its expansive reading of the corporations power in the Work Choices Case, means that the Commonwealth has very substantial, though not unlimited, authority to deal with infrastructure regulation. While the prospect of a wider reading of the interstate and overseas trade and commerce power may further augment Commonwealth authority in this area, gaps in Commonwealth regulatory power are still likely to remain.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory

Is State of Necessity a Principle of Customary International Law

Is State of Necessity a Principle of Customary International Law? (Est-ce que L'état de nécessité est un principe de droit international coutumier?) (French)

Author(s): Sarah Heathcote

This article argues that State practice does not sustain the assertion, increasingly prevalent in judicial decisions and arbitral awards since 1997, that state of necessity is a principle of customary international law. Nor indeed is it 'spontaneous' law as ILC Special Rapporteur Roberto Ago had insinuated. Moreover, a considerable difficulty in establishing a customary rule of necessity is that its well established formulation is highly abstract (neither the ends to be safeguarded by its invocation, nor the means to achieve those ends, are specified by the purported rule); whilst its manifestations can only relate to specific and tangible ends. Consequently, how can one know whether a concrete situation is one premised on, and accepted as an application of, an abstract rule of necessity, or instead is premised on, or accepted as, a manifestation of an emerging or existing specific rule of exception relative to particular situations? Thus both State practice and logic indicate that necessity remains de lege ferenda; though a material source (or extra-legal inspiration) for particular rules of exception. This may well be the case in respect of an emerging exception of financial necessity.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: International Law

Corporate Constitutionalism

Review Essay: Corporate Constitutionalism

Author(s): Peta Spender

The challenge for critical corporate law scholars is to provide an account of corporate law that accommodates responsiveness to the public interest. This involves defining a space for debate about both the public policy goals of corporate law and the regulatory mechanisms for achieving those goals. This task is a complex one because it involves recognising the insights of law and economics scholars, in particular, that corporations are at once important components of markets and constituted by those markets. A recent book and winner of the 2008 Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize, The Constitutional Corporation by Stephen Bottomley, provides just such an account of corporate law. This book provides a pragmatic account of corporate law which opens up corporate law to political concerns while acknowledging that corporate law is private in its orientation. This review of The Constitutional Corporation provides an overview of Bottomley’s analysis, locates his approach in broader theoretical debates about corporate law and examines the potential of the approach to develop systems of corporate social responsibility in order to meet impending global challenges such as climate change.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

Chapter 3: Citizenship Law

Chapter 3: Citizenship Law

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This chapter analyses Justice Kirby’s constitutional judgments, drawing out various themes in his approach to Australian citizenship law, and considers whether his approach to citizenship has been influenced by underlying ideas that are supranational (acknowledging nationality as a status beyond one nation-state) and universal, as applying to all citizens in all states, or indeed colonial (that is, influenced primarily by Australia’s British subject origins).

The chapter explores the distinction, drawn in several of Justice Kirby's citizenship judgments, between constitutional and statutory forms of nationality. Kirby J has rejected the idea that statutory forms of citizenship adopted by the Federal Parlaiment can define exclusively those who are Australian nationals, and thus 'non-aliens' - that interpretation, he argues, 'deprives the separate constitutional idea of Australian nationality of any content'.

However, while Justice Kirby has been keen to develop a contemporary understanding of the meaning and signifi cance of constitutional nationality, applied in a social and political context far removed from the understanding of the framers of the Constitution, his broadest view of membership beyond statutory citizenship status includes only those non-citizens who hold British subject status and who enjoy most of the rights normally attributed to democratic citizenship (such as voting). This “broad” view does not necessarily include those non-British-subject permanent residents who have spent almost their entire life in Australia and have been absorbed in most other social and political ways. To this extent, his view of citizenship is not supranational or universal, but linked directly to Australia’s historical colonial origins.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

England and the Rediscovery of Constitutional Faith

England and the Rediscovery of Constitutional Faith

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

England is currently experiencing a widely recognised constitutional renaissance, with traditional English ‘liberties’ at its core: historic rights and liberty-affirming documents of the past are cited by counsel and judge alike, the Prime Minister waxes lyrical about constitutional values which define the British nation, scholars call for the revival of a purported rights-centric common law constitution, and a new breed of media-star historians are rediscovering English liberties in political institutions and re-imagined constitutional moments. Even the mythology of Magna Carta is resurfacing in the popular imagination, the date of its signing selected by public poll as ‘the best date to celebrate Britishness’.

The rhetoric contrasts with the dominant popular trope for much of the twentieth century, which portrayed the English constitution as essentially clever politics. Today’s constitutional veneration, however, has a long and complex history. This paper charts the variety of constitutional veneration that arose in the post-reformation period, as well as its decline, and contemporary revival. Starting with an overview of the seventeenth century, it charts the emergence of a constitutional language arising out of the rich theological and philosophical tradition of the age, and the persuasive use by the principal judicial figures of the day of new forms of historiography, traditional natural law philosophy, and emerging ethnic nationalism. Underpinned by contended notions of liberty and religiosity, this potent mix ensured that the newly minted English constitution enjoyed a quasi-religious status, embracing divinely ordained values and institutional arrangements that at once defined what it was to be both English and Protestant, and therefore was worthy of veneration. The decline of this constitutional model in the 19th and 20th century is then considered against the backdrop of empiricism, utilitarianism, nationalism and the victory of a political understanding of the constitutional model. The purported disappearance of the ‘legal’ constitution in this period, however, was never to be consolidated, nor were the contradictions inherent in the new ‘sovereignist’ model reconcilable with the explosion of rights jurisprudence in the latter part of the twentieth century. The article therefore concludes with a brief overview of the re-emergence of the language of constitutional faith in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, and the renewed reliance on this rhetoric of constitutional veneration by the judicial branch of government in an attempt to influence the development of a normative English constitutional and national identity.

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

Chapter 5 Constitutional Law

Chapter 5 Constitutional Law

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Michael Kirby is something of a force of nature. His reputation for energy, ideas and conviction is only eclipsed by his willingness to articulate his views widely to national and international audiences. He is identified with causes and approaches that win him both plaudits and condemnation, though not in equal measure. Any assessment of his contribution to Australian constitutional jurisprudence is inevitably drawn to the conclusion that he sits awkwardly between two eras. He is a legal realist appointed at a time when the ascendant political and legal norms were hostile to that movement. Moreover, his jurisprudence, it would appear, is not developed solely for his time on the Bench but for some future era when his view may gain greater currency.

Michael Kirby is a judge who stands out of his time. This chapter explores the key attributes of Kirby’s interpretative methodology and significant aspects of his understanding of the nature and operation of the Australian Constitution.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Private Law

Access to Essential Medicines

Access to Essential Medicines: Public Health and International Law

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

Historically, there have been intense conflicts over the ownership and exploitation of pharmaceutical drugs and diagnostic tests dealing with infectious diseases.

Throughout the 1980’s, there was much scientific, legal, and ethical debate about which scientific group should be credited with the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus, and the invention of the blood test devised to detect antibodies to the virus. In May 1983, Luc Montagnier, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, and other French scientists from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, published a paper in Science, detailing the discovery of a virus called lymphadenopathy (LAV). A scientific rival, Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute, identified the AIDS virus and published his findings in the May 1984 issue of Science. In May 1985, the United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded the American patent for the AIDS blood test to Gallo and the Department of Health and Human Services. In December 1985, the Institut Pasteur sued the Department of Health and Human Services, contending that the French were the first to identify the AIDS virus and to invent the antibody test, and that the American test was dependent upon the French research.

In March 1987, an agreement was brokered by President Ronald Reagan and French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, which resulted in the Department of Health and Human Services and the Institut Pasteur sharing the patent rights to the blood test for AIDS. In 1992, the Federal Office of Research Integrity found that Gallo had committed scientific misconduct, by falsely reporting facts in his 1984 scientific paper. A subsequent investigation by the National Institutes of Health, the United States Congress, and the US attorney-general cleared Gallo of any wrongdoing.

In 1994, the United States government and French government renegotiated their agreement regarding the AIDS blood test patent, in order to make the distribution of royalties more equitable...

The dispute between Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo was not an isolated case of scientific rivalry and patent races. It foreshadowed further patent conflicts over research in respect of HIV/AIDS. Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia diagnosed a clash between two distinct schools of philosophy - ‘scientists of the old school... working by serendipity with free sharing of knowledge and research’, and ‘those of the new school who saw the hope of progress as lying in huge investments in scientific experimentation.’ Indeed, the patent race between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier has been a precursor to broader trade disputes over access to essential medicines in the 1990s and 2000s. The dispute between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier captures in microcosm a number of themes of this book: the fierce competition for intellectual property rights; the clash between sovereign states over access to medicines; the pressing need to defend human rights, particularly the right to health; and the need for new incentives for research and development to combat infectious diseases as both an international and domestic issue.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Judicial Rhetoric and Constitutional Identity

Judicial Rhetoric and Constitutional Identity: Comparative Approaches to Aliens' Rights in the United Kingdom and Australia

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

A comparison between the judicial reasoning adopted by the House of Lords in Belmarsh and Torture Evidence cases, and the High Court of Australia's administrative detention cases (especially Al-Kateb) reveals stark differences in the approach to common law rights, judicial reasoning, and constitutional rhetoric. Using the language of historically-based identity-informing constitutional values, their Lordships' speeches can be seen as exercises in public and political persuasion, made within the idiom of constitutional veneration which is enjoying a renaissance in the UK. This emerging judicial rhetoric combines an appeal to a mythologised constitutional past with an emphasis on the quintessentially 'British' nature of the rights at stake to consolidate both the constitutional status of the 'principle of legality' and an inclusive notion of 'equality'. By contrast, the High Court's majority decisions are virtually devoid of the language of values, and are silent on the nature or status of the rights which Parliament was impliedly abrogating. The decisions are instead shrouded in the equally powerful rhetoric of strict legalism. Behind this purportedly valueless methodology, however, their Honours' decisions reveal attitudes towards aliens as 'illegal,' 'unlawful' and 'unwanted' rather than rights-bearers, and a judicial deference to Parliament to 'protect' an undefined Australian community. The arrival of French CJ to the helm of the High Court might see a reinvigoration of common law rights via the principle of legality.

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

Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice

Book Review: Watching Brief: Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice (Julian Burnside)

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

Julian Burnside’s collection of essays provides an insight into the mind of one of the Howard era’s most vocal public critics. Located within traditional liberal values and orthodox human rights principles, Burnside’s stories of human suffering and his Kantian appeals to human dignity are aimed at awakening our ‘imagination to understand the realities’ behind the political and legal spin of the times. Although sometimes loose with his legal language, his vision of a ‘just society’, his concerns for democracy, and his fury at the disempowerment and silencing of ‘voiceless minorities’ (notably asylum-seekers, indigenous peoples, and ‘terror’ suspects) remain persuasive and relevant to the new administrations in both Australia and the US.

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

The Regulation of Southern Ocean Whaling

The Regulation of Southern Ocean Whaling: What Role for the Antarctic Treaty System?

Author(s): Donald Rothwell

In 2009, the 1959 Antarctic Treaty celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Over its fifty-year existence the Treaty and the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) built upon it, have promoted freedom of scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Despite the many successes of the Antarctic legal regime, there has been growing disquiet over the conduct by Japan, an Antarctic Treaty party, of its 'special permit' whaling program in the Southern Ocean. This program now has a lengthy history stretching back to the late 1980s, and has been undertaken purportedly in reliance on the 1946 International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling, which allows whaling for scientific purposes in limited circumstances. It has also been pursued on the assumption that the global whaling regime takes priority over the disciplines imposed by the regionally-focussed Antarctic Treaty System which seeks, among other things, to promote scientific research in Antarctica and to protect the Antarctic ecosystem. This article examines the interaction between the Antarctic and whaling regimes and argues that the main environmental text in the ATS, the 1991 Environmental Protocol, imposes obligations upon Japan to minimise or eliminate the environmental risks of its burgeoning Southern Ocean whaling program.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CMSL

Research theme: International Law

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