Jurisdictional Error As Conceptual Totem
Author(s): Leighton McDonald
Jurisdictional error is pivotal but not, in any substantive sense, ‘central’. It is pivotal because it marks important boundaries (drawn by reference to other ideas) in the law of judicial review of executive action. This pivotal but not central role has enabled jurisdictional error to function as a ‘conceptual totem’, emblematic of a determinedly ‘statutory approach’ to the articulation and elaboration of administrative law norms. After elaborating these claims, the article goes on to doubt the constitutional case for the retention of the statutory approach that, in recent years, has come to characterise the Australian approach to jurisdictional error. Recognition of the totemic function of jurisdictional error, it is concluded, is a helpful first step in better understanding and analysing administrative law norms which bear no obvious relation to statute.
The Creation of Australian Administrative Law: The Constitution and Its Judicial Gate-Keepers
Author(s): Greg Weeks
For a long time judicial review in Australia was little more than a carbon copy of its English equivalent. In the period before the various Australian states became part of a unified federal nation, judicial review occurred within the inherent supervisory jurisdiction of the various Supreme Courts of those individual colonies and proceeded in a manner similar to that of English courts exercising inherent supervisory jurisdiction. The Australian Constitution is now the defining feature and dominant force of our judicial review doctrine. The key feature of the Australian Constitution that has enabled the recognition and entrenchment of judicial review of administrative action is the express creation and entrenchment of the courts. The express recognition and protection of a selection of the judicial remedies has proved equally important because the constitutional mention of some of the traditional remedies of judicial review has provided the foundation for the courts to entrench by implication that which necessarily precedes the issue of those remedies. While these and other important elements of the Australian Constitution have enabled the development of constitutionally protected avenues of supervisory review, this same constitutional foundation has also provided the source of judicial review principles that increasingly differ from their early English heritage. Many parallels between English and Australian principles remain and the one we discuss about natural justice suggests that, as happens within so many families, Australian judicial review can unwittingly replicate the mistakes of its English parent.
Research theme: Administrative Law
Rethinking the Law on Shareholder-Initiated Resolutions at Company General Meetings
Author(s): Stephen Bottomley
Recent concerns about the need for improved corporate accountability raise questions about the role of shareholders in corporate governance. One aspect of these discussions is the capacity of shareholders in general meetings to propose non-binding advisory resolutions concerning governance or social matters. Since Automatic Self-Cleansing Filter Syndicate Co Ltd v Cuninghame in 1906, courts have held that if a company’s constitution gives directors the power of company management, shareholders cannot interfere with the exercise of that power. The Federal Court affirmed this in Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility v Commonwealth Bank of Australia. This paper re-examines the case law, particularly in its application to advisory resolutions, and recommends the introduction of a broad statutory authority for non-binding advisory resolutions. The paper argues that this is an important step towards improved corporate accountability and responsible shareholder engagement.
The Feminist Fandango with the Legal Academy
Author(s): Margaret Thornton
This chapter argues that the fortunes of feminism in the Australian legal academy are closely intertwined with the prevailing political ideology. Social liberalism, with its commitment to egalitarianism, a robust civil society and a modicum of tolerance for the Other coincided with the flowering of second wave feminism. This led to the appointment of feminist academics in law schools and the incorporation of feminist perspectives into their teaching. In contrast, neoliberalism, with its aggressive entrepreneurialism and promotion of the self, encouraged sloughing off a commitment to feminist values. Taking its cue from neoliberalism and reacting against the second wave, postfeminism initially also resulted in a depoliticisation and a turning away from collective action, but signs of a revived feminism caused neoliberalism to move in quickly and colonise it. Mirroring the values of neoliberalism, this incarnation of postfeminism, which one might term ‘neoliberal feminism’, encouraged entrepreneurialism and productivity, particularly on the part of upwardly mobile individual women. It also resonated with the neoliberal law school where students were anxious to secure a position on the corporate track in light of mounting tuition debts and increased competition. More recently, there has been a reaction against neoliberalism which has, once again, brought with it a revived incarnation of feminism and a progressive understanding of the ‘post’.
The fandango in the title carries with it not only the idea of different movements, but also variations in tempo, and even a change of partners. The metaphor is designed to encapsulate the character of the dance between the prevailing political ideology and feminism, and the way that it is reflected in the legal academy. The fandango also refers to the more fluid relationship between feminism and its ‘post’. With postfeminism, we see a constellation of performers, some moving backwards and others forward, often at the same time, which highlights its ambiguity and elusiveness. In adopting a temporal trajectory, this chapter seeks to problematise the ‘post’ in postfeminism, underscoring how it may be simultaneously both reactive and progressive according to the constellation of values that prevail at a particular moment in time.
The Antarctic Treaty at Sixty Years: Past, Present and Future
Author(s): Donald Rothwell
The Antarctic Treaty, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019, remains as a unique example of an international law instrument that seeks to provide a governance mechanism for a single continent. Both Japan and Australia were original parties to the Antarctic Treaty and have been strong supporters of the Treaty throughout its lifetime. However, in 2019 questions are starting to be raised as to whether a treaty negotiated in 1959 is capable of continuing to provide an appropriate governance framework for Antarctica. These questions relate to the role of the seven Antarctic claimant States, the role of historically prominent non-claimant States such as the United States and the Russian Federation, and the interests of powerful ‘new’ States that are beginning to express a strong interest in polar affairs such as China. This paper assesses whether the Antarctic Treaty is sufficiently robust to address the challenges that confront Antarctic governance in 2019 and into the future. Particular attention will be given to whether it remains possible for Treaty parties to request an Article XII ‘Review Conference’, and also the 1991 Madrid Protocol Article 25 review mechanisms.
Destination Australia: Journeys of the Moribund
Author(s): Kate Ogg
Australia sends many of those who come in search of refuge to regional processing centers in Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Most of these asylum seekers and refugees want to continue their journey to Australia but the Australian Government has vowed that none will be given protection in Australian territory. However, there have been recent developments in the Federal Parliament and Federal Court that have paved the way for certain asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru and Manus Island to come to Australia. In this chapter, I investigate these legislative and judicial developments and argue that they indicate that the place of human rights and international law is becoming increasingly peripheral in Australia’s refugee law and policy and instead transfers to Australia have become medicalized. Australia’s parliamentarians and courts have moved to protect asylum seekers’ physical and mental health but not the rights flowing to them as people, children, and refugees. Asylum seekers and refugees must be moribund before they can use legal processes to transfer to Australia and they come as sick people in need of medical care—not as bearers of legal rights. These developments hamper larger efforts to end or fundamentally reform Australia’s offshore processing regime.
Committing to Human Rights in Australia's Corporate Sector
Author(s): Sally Wheeler
This paper draws on data collected from the ASX 50 with a focus on policy commitment to human rights. As the UNGP makes clear a visible and accessible policy commitment is the most basic form of recognition that corporations should afford to human rights. The paper takes the position that this policy commitment offers corporations a chance to declare a positive relationship with human rights. Therefore the presence or not of a policy statement, and the form that the statement takes, tells us much about the relationship between the corporate sector and human rights. The data reveals that there is generally a low compliance with the policy commitment requirement. The most significant factor amongst a range of variables examined for predicting whether compliance will occur or not is membership of human rights engaged Business and Industry Non-Governmental Organisations (BINGOs). We might expect a rather stronger public commitment to human rights reflecting the position taken by Australian corporations on other ESG standards. The paper suggests that the absence of human rights discourse as a political and cultural artifact at the domestic nation state level is a possible explanation for this.
Research theme: Law and Technology
Fit Your Own Oxygen Mask First: The Contemporary Neoliberal University and the Well-Being of Legal Academics
Author(s): Colin James
Research in several countries has confirmed earlier studies showing the well-being of law students may decrease significantly during their legal education. As law schools are expected to respond to these findings, attention is moving towards the well-being of legal academics themselves, since their direct interaction with law students may help prevent the decline of law student well-being, if not positively promote their well-being. There is a paucity of research on the well-being of law teachers and their capacity to support student wellbeing. However, there is an increasing number of broader studies on the likely effects of the neoliberal university on staff and students. This chapter follows and complements an earlier paper reporting on results of national surveys of UK and Australian law teachers conducted in 2015 and 2017.
New Directions in Article 1D Jurisprudence: Greater Barriers for Palestinian Refugees Seeking the Benefits of the Refugee Convention
Author(s): Kate Ogg
This chapter investigates new issues that have arisen in relation to article 1D of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), resulting from decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal (NZIPT). These judgments break away from earlier article 1D jurisprudence but there has been little analysis of the alternative approaches adopted. In theory, these precedents provide greater opportunities for Palestinian refugees to obtain the benefits of the Refugee Convention but in fact threaten the principle of continuity of international protection for Palestinian refugees. This is because the judgments adopt a skewed and narrow understanding of the meaning of ‘protection or assistance’ in article 1D and impose an evidentiary paradox by necessitating that Palestinian refugees prove that their decision to flee was involuntary. Further, the CJEU’s approach favours those who have heroic or intrepid narratives and this can serve to disadvantage Palestinian women and girls. Consequently, these decisions create additional and often-insurmountable barriers to Palestinian refugees seeking the benefits of the Refugee Convention not supported by article 1D’s ordinary meaning or the Refugee Convention’s object and purpose.
Elected Member Influence in the United Nations Security Council
Author(s): Jeremy Farrall
This article reassesses how members of the UN Security Council exercise influence over the Council’s decision-making process, with particular focus on the ten elected members (the ‘E10’). A common understanding of Security Council dynamics accords predominance to the five permanent members (the ‘P5’), suggesting bleak prospects for the Council as a forum that promotes the voices and representation of the 188 non-permanent members. The assumption is that real power rests with the P5, while the E10 are there to make up the numbers. By articulating a richer account of Council dynamics, this article contests the conventional wisdom that P5 centrality crowds out space for the E10 to influence Council decision-making. It also shows that opportunities for influencing Council decision-making go beyond stints of elected membership. It argues that the assumed centrality of the P5 on the Council thus needs to be qualified and re-evaluated.
Research theme: International Law
Algorithmic Decision-Making and Legality: Public Law Dimensions
Author(s): Will Bateman
Automating the exercise of statutory powers through algorithmic decision-making carries high levels of legal risk. Fundamental public law doctrines assume that legal powers will be exercised by a particular kind of decision-making agent: one with sufficient cognitive capacities to understand the interpretative complexity of legal instruments and respond to highly dynamic environments. Public law doctrines also assume that clear reasons can be given for the exercise of public power and, by default, attribute legal responsibility for the exercise of statutory powers to a human being bearing political and social responsibility. Those doctrines provide the standards against which the legality of algorithmic decision-making in the public sector must be tested and, until they are met, lawyers should be sceptical of suggestions that statutory powers can be automated.
Government Liability: Principles and Remedies
Author(s): Greg Weeks, Dr Janina Boughey, Dr Ellen Rock
Given the degree of power wielded by Australian government officials and entities, it is unsurprising that government decisions and conduct frequently impact on individuals. To find the most appropriate way to resolve a particular case, practitioners must be able to work across the traditional legal ‘silos’, drawing on public and private law principles as well as the important, and often under-valued, roles of non-legal accountability mechanisms. This book familiarises readers with some of the complexities underpinning this area and covers public law remedies, private law remedies, and statutory remedies.
Research theme: Administrative Law
Danse Macabre: Temporalities of Law in the Visual Arts
Author(s): Desmond Manderson
The visual arts offer refreshing and novel resources through which to understand the representation, power, ideology and critique of law. This vibrantly interdisciplinary book brings the burgeoning field to a new maturity through extended close readings of major works by artists from Pieter Bruegel and Gustav Klimt to Gordon Bennett and Rafael Cauduro. At each point, the author puts these works of art into a complex dance with legal and social history, and with recent developments in legal and art theory. Manderson uses the idea of time and temporality as a focal point through which to explore how the work of art engages with and constitutes law and human lives. In the symmetries and asymmetries caused by the vibrating harmonic resonances of these triple forces - time, law, art - lies a way of not only understanding the world, but also transforming it.
Research theme: Legal Theory
The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat: A Rodent History of Australia
Author(s): Tim Bonyhady
The fascinating story of a much-maligned and little-understood native Australian rodent.
The long-haired rat breeds and spreads prodigiously after big rains. Its irruptions were plagues to European colonists, whofeared and loathed all rats, but times of feasting for Aboriginal people.
Tim Bonyhady explores the place of the long-haired rat in Aboriginal culture. He recounts how settler Australians responded to it, learned about it and, occasionally, came to recognise the wonder of it. And he reconstructs its changing,shrinking landscape—once filled with bilbies, letter-winged kites and inland taipans, but now increasingly the domain of feral cats.
An astonishing history, The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat illuminates a species, a continent, its climate and its people like never before.
Research theme: Indigenous Peoples and the Law
Law, Love and Freedom: From the Sacred to the Secular
Author(s): Joshua Neoh
How does one lead a life of law, love, and freedom? This inquiry has very deep roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Indeed, the divergent answers to this inquiry mark the transition from Judeo to Christian. This book returns to those roots to trace the twists and turns that these ideas have taken as they move from the sacred to the secular. It relates our most important mode of social organization, law, to two of our most cherished values, love and freedom. In this book, Joshua Neoh sketches the moral vision that underlies our modern legal order and traces our secular legal ideas (constitutionalism versus anarchism) to their theological origins (monasticism versus antinomianism). Law, Love, and Freedom brings together a diverse cast of characters, including Paul and Luther, Augustine and Aquinas, monks and Gnostics, and constitutionalists and anarchists. This book is valuable to any lawyers, philosophers, theologians and historians, who are interested in law as a humanistic discipline.
The 'Legitimate Interest in Performance' in the Law on Penalties
Author(s): Solene Rowan
The article focuses on the “legitimate interest in performance” requirement which is now at the heart of the new test on penalty clauses but which has been left undefined by the Supreme Court in Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi and Parking Eye Ltd v Beavis . It seeks to bring clarity to what is meant by “legitimate interest in performance” by examining other areas of the law of remedies for breach of contract where concepts of legitimate interest have featured in the court’s reasoning. It also makes suggestions as to what considerations are or might be relevant in determining whether a contracting party has a legitimate interest in performance, in particular a legitimate interest that goes beyond compensation.
Research theme: Private Law
Martyrdom, Antinomianism, and the Prioritising of Christians - Towards a Political Theology of Refugee Resettlement
Author(s): Matthew Zagor
This article considers the approaches taken in the United States (US) and Australia to prioritising the resettlement of Christians from Syria and Iraq. Focusing ﬁrst upon respective models and the immediate political factors that lead to their adoption, it analyses in depth the speciﬁc role played by the evangelical constituency in the US, and their theologically-infused concern for the “persecuted church” in “enslaved” lands. Recognising this movement enjoys less inﬂuence in Australia, the article considers the ways in which Australia’s resettlement policies and political narratives have nonetheless increasingly participated in tropes familiar to classical antinomian political theology, not least that resettlement is tied to a redemptive generosity of the State that works to denigrate and undermine the legal obligations demanded by those who arrive irregularly by boat. The article also critiques the use of “vulnerability” as a touchstone principle for the fair allocation of scarce resettlement places, and its propensity to be used for cherry-picking purposes. Finally, as part of the argument that resettlement is susceptible to being used as a vehicle for those motivated by more explicit theological concerns, the article explores the leveraging for political, redemptive, and eschatological purposes of images and narratives of the “martyred” middle-eastern Christian.
Biometrics, Crime and Security
Author(s): Gregor Urbas
This book addresses the use of biometrics – including fingerprint identification, DNA identification and facial recognition – in the criminal justice system: balancing the need to ensure society is protected from harms, such as crime and terrorism, while also preserving individual rights. It offers a comprehensive discussion of biometric identification that includes a consideration of: basic scientific principles, their historical development, the perspectives of political philosophy, critical security and surveillance studies; but especially the relevant law, policy and regulatory issues. Developments in key jurisdictions where the technology has been implemented, including the United Kingdom, United States, Europe and Australia, are examined. This includes case studies relating to the implementation of new technology, policy, legislation, court judgements, and where available, empirical evaluations of the use of biometrics in criminal justice systems. Examples from non-western areas of the world are also considered. Accessibly written, this book will be of interest to undergraduate, postgraduate and research students, academic researchers, as well as professionals in government, security, legal and private sectors.
Research theme: Law and Technology
Blindness Visible: Law, Time and Bruegel's Justice
Author(s): Desmond Manderson
Printed in 1559, Bruegel's 'Justicia' appears at first glance to be a spatial representation of law—a snapshot, a mis en scène. But it is essentially about time. Bruegel's image overlays three different perspectives on the hitherto unexplored relationship between time, responsibility, and legal authority, revealing the hidden anachronism of law. At the same time, law is shown not merely to be a concept or a symbolic form, but a physical practice engraved in the flesh of those who carry it out and suffer it. Justicia takes as its method art's anachronic discourse and power of embodiment; and presents as its thesis the role of anachronic discourse and corporeal experience to the law. These insights were pertinent to the situation of law in the sixteenth century, but they are of far broader significance than that.
Research theme: Legal Theory
Legislative Pitfalls in Mandating Shared Parenting in Family Law Disputes: An Australian Experience
Author(s): Colin James
Since the Family Law Act was introduced in Australia in 1976, it has endured many amendments with legislators trying to keep the law aligned with their perception of community values. In 2006 the Australian government introduced two ‘objects and principles’ (then s.60B), which seemed innocuous by responding to community concerns, although from opposing sources. The ‘men’s movement’ had complained for years that the Family Court was biased because in parenting disputes it awarded child custody more often to mothers than to fathers. On the other hand, many lawyers and researchers argued that children would be at risk if the Family Court increased the involvement of fathers in contested disputes because of the high incidence of domestic violence and child abuse at the hands of men. The legislators attempted a compromise, a marriage-of-opposites that was doomed to fail and fail it did. In attempting to shift the focus in disputes about children from ‘legal custody’ to ‘shared parenting’, and to satisfy a narrow-interest lobby group, legislators in Australia failed to reflect contemporary community attitudes or to accept research-based, best practice in resolving parenting disputes.