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.

Regulating Impartiality: Electoral Boundary Politics in the Administrative Arena

Author(s): Ron Levy

The author examines impartiality in cases of politically contentious decision making. Many jurisdictions delegate decisions over matters such as the establishment of fair election ground rules to independent bodies. Some of these bodies, including Canada's Federal Electoral Boundaries Commissions (FEBCs), attract widespread trust and are by most accounts substantially impartial. In contrast, commissions empanelled to draw electoral boundaries in the United States, and to a lesser extent in certain Canadian provinces, are often plagued by partisanship.

The author canvasses approaches to controlling partisanship, relying on a series of interviews conducted with boundaries commissioners and on interdisciplinary literature on trust and trustworthiness in governance. Commentators often favour bolstering formal constraints on FEBC discretion. However, the author concludes that traditional administrative law models favouring such constraints are often inadequate. In politically sensitive cases these methods frequently catalyze partisanship. Proposals for more nuanced design - design sensitive to the complex interactions between law and administrative culture in cases where the potential for partisanship is high - are better but rarer. The author focuses in particular on the use of ambiguity in legal and institutional design. Although this approach is counterintuitive in light of rule-of-law assumptions favouring clarity, it has nevertheless gained traction in commentary and has long been at work in practice. The author argues that extensively ambiguous design, as displayed by the complex federal readjustment processes in Canada, has helped to develop the widely admired impartial decision-making cultures of the FEBCs.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

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

Loyalty and Membership: Globalization and its Impact on Citizenship, Multiculturalism, and the Australian Community

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This chapter argues that differing views underpinning the debate about dual citizenship are mirrored in policy discourse about the place of multiculturalism in Australia. Globalization has and continues to have a substantial impact upon legal status and membership and identity in both the nation-state and in the international legal system. These legal changes reflect the shifting notions of membership both in the Australian domestic framework and in the international framework. Moreover, these changes must be taken into account in balancing rights and responsibilities in a diverse society, so that multiculturalism and cultural diversity continue to be affirmed within the legal framework and public policy in the same way dual citizenship has been accepted.

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

Looking for the 'Heart' of the National Political Community: Regulating Membership in Australia

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

When a community determines who can come into its territory, and who can later become full members, it reflects upon and reaches, in the words of United States academic Linda Bosniak, 'deep into the heart of the national political community, and profoundly affects the nature of relations among those residing within.' Given Australia is fundamentally a nation of people who have at some point relatively recently been outsiders, let in by those who have arrived ahead of them, there is a lot unresolved within the 'heart' of Australia.

In this article, I draw from my work on Australian citizenship to argue that the phenomenon of offshore processing is part of an overall policy that forces outside of the community, and further from citizenship and membership, the 'alien'. It is a product of the Australian constitution which defines who its members are, by who they are not. This is a consequence of a constitution that gives the Commonwealth immense power over 'aliens' - a power that reflects back upon those who are not aliens, and impacts upon the identity of all Australian citizens. Finally, it is a result of a belief by those in power that the state has an absolute right to determine who comes into its borders.

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

Using Assessment Practice to Evaluate the Legal Skills Curriculum

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien

A comprehensive audit of the skills curriculum offered to students in a Bachelor of Laws program yielded important insights about the collective impact of assessment tasks on the hidden and operational skills curriculum. This qualitative case study supports the views (1) that assessment tasks provide significant skills practice and performance opportunities for students; (2) that assessment provides students with important cues about what type of learning is valued; and (3) that review of assessment practices across the curriculum can provide important information for curricular reform.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

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

Exploring the Group-Identity Function of Criminal Law

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien

In every country where the question has been studied, incarceration rates for members of some minority groups greatly exceed those for the majority population. The problem of disproportionate incarceration is not therefore a problem of one ethnic group or one set of historical circumstances. It is a human problem that is fundamentally connected to social group identity. This essay conducts a preliminary exploration of the role that criminal law serves in group-identity formation. It suggests that building a common or super-group identity may be necessary to achieve greater justice in increasingly multi-ethnic and mobile societies.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

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

Regulating Impartiality: Electoral Boundary Politics in the Administrative Arena

Author(s): Ron Levy

The author examines impartiality in cases of politically contentious decision making. Many jurisdictions delegate decisions over matters such as the establishment of fair election ground rules to independent bodies. Some of these bodies, including Canada's Federal Electoral Boundaries Commissions (FEBCs), attract widespread trust and are by most accounts substantially impartial. In contrast, commissions empanelled to draw electoral boundaries in the United States, and to a lesser extent in certain Canadian provinces, are often plagued by partisanship.

The author canvasses approaches to controlling partisanship, relying on a series of interviews conducted with boundaries commissioners and on interdisciplinary literature on trust and trustworthiness in governance. Commentators often favour bolstering formal constraints on FEBC discretion. However, the author concludes that traditional administrative law models favouring such constraints are often inadequate. In politically sensitive cases these methods frequently catalyze partisanship. Proposals for more nuanced design - design sensitive to the complex interactions between law and administrative culture in cases where the potential for partisanship is high - are better but rarer. The author focuses in particular on the use of ambiguity in legal and institutional design. Although this approach is counterintuitive in light of rule-of-law assumptions favouring clarity, it has nevertheless gained traction in commentary and has long been at work in practice. The author argues that extensively ambiguous design, as displayed by the complex federal readjustment processes in Canada, has helped to develop the widely admired impartial decision-making cultures of the FEBCs.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, DGAL

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

Corrosive Leadership (or Bullying by Another Name): A Corollary of the Corporatised Academy?

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

The literature reveals that the incidence of bullying is increasing in corporate workplaces everywhere. While the data is scant, it suggests that bullying in universities is also on the increase. Interviews with Australian academics support this finding. It is argued that the trend has to be understood in light of the pathology of corporatisation, which is designed to make academics do more with less. The focus on productivity parallels the harassment to which workers in the private sector may be subjected in the hope that they will work harder and maximise profits. Avenues of redress are considered which show that dignitary harms remain inchoate as legal harms. While common law and anti-discrimination legislation regimes may occasionally offer a remedy to targeted individuals, it is averred that these avenues are incapable of addressing the causative political factors that induce corrosive leadership.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

The Retreat from the Critical: Social Science Research in the Corporatised University

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper considers how the contemporary environment is inducing a less critical approach towards research and impacting on academic freedom. It argues that it is not only the interventionist acts of Ministers and terror censorship that academics need to worry about, for the need to satisfy funding bodies is more insidiously exercising a depoliticising effect on research.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

The Evisceration of Equal Employment Opportunity in Higher Education

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper considers the way in which neoliberalism has impacted on equal employment opportunity (EEO) within the academy. Instead of a focus on the common good, there has been a shift to promotion of the self within the market. Higher education has not been immune from the contemporary imperative to commodify and privatise. Corporatisation has resulted in top-down managerialism, perennial auditing and the production of academics as neoliberal subjects. Within this context, identity politics have either moved to the periphery or disappeared altogether.

Against the background of the ramifications of the socio-political shift and the transformation of the university, the paper considers the rise and fall of EEO and the emergence of new discourses, such as that of diversity, which better suit the market metanarrative. The market has also induced a shift away from staff to students, inviting the question is to whether EEO is now passé.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Sex Discrimination, Courts and Corporate Power

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

It is notable that in more than thirty years of anti-discrimination legislation in Australia, the High Court has heard only three cases dealing with sex discrimination. Even in the case of appeals to State appellate courts, complainants are rarely successful. Drawing on Robert Cover's idea of the nomos, or normative universe, which informs modes of adjudication, this paper will consider the role of appellate courts in the production of conventionally gendered subjects. It will be argued that a homologous relationship exists between juridical, legislative and corporate power which is cemented through the techniques of legal formalism.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Sex Discrimination, Courts and Corporate Power

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

It is notable that in more than thirty years of anti-discrimination legislation in Australia, the High Court has heard only three cases dealing with sex discrimination. Even in the case of appeals to State appellate courts, complainants are rarely successful. Drawing on Robert Cover's idea of the nomos, or normative universe, which informs modes of adjudication, this paper will consider the role of appellate courts in the production of conventionally gendered subjects. It will be argued that a homologous relationship exists between juridical, legislative and corporate power which is cemented through the techniques of legal formalism.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Exploring the Group-Identity Function of Criminal Law

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien

In every country where the question has been studied, incarceration rates for members of some minority groups greatly exceed those for the majority population. The problem of disproportionate incarceration is not therefore a problem of one ethnic group or one set of historical circumstances. It is a human problem that is fundamentally connected to social group identity. This essay conducts a preliminary exploration of the role that criminal law serves in group-identity formation. It suggests that building a common or super-group identity may be necessary to achieve greater justice in increasingly multi-ethnic and mobile societies.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

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

Using Assessment Practice to Evaluate the Legal Skills Curriculum

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien

A comprehensive audit of the skills curriculum offered to students in a Bachelor of Laws program yielded important insights about the collective impact of assessment tasks on the hidden and operational skills curriculum. This qualitative case study supports the views (1) that assessment tasks provide significant skills practice and performance opportunities for students; (2) that assessment provides students with important cues about what type of learning is valued; and (3) that review of assessment practices across the curriculum can provide important information for curricular reform.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

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

Using Assessment Practice to Evaluate the Legal Skills Curriculum

Author(s):

A comprehensive audit of the skills curriculum offered to students in a Bachelor of Laws program yielded important insights about the collective impact of assessment tasks on the hidden and operational skills curriculum. This qualitative case study supports the views (1) that assessment tasks provide significant skills practice and performance opportunities for students; (2) that assessment provides students with important cues about what type of learning is valued; and (3) that review of assessment practices across the curriculum can provide important information for curricular reform.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

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

Feminism and the Changing State: The Case of Sex Discrimination

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper examines the ambiguous relationship between feminism and the state through the lens of sex discrimination legislation. Particular attention will be paid to the changing nature of the state as manifested by its political trajectory from social liberalism to neoliberalism over the last few decades. As a creature of social liberalism, the passage of sex discrimination legislation was animated by notions of collective good and redistributive justice, but now that neoliberalism is in the ascendancy, we see a resiling from these values in favour of private good and promotion of the self through the market. This cluster of values associated with neoliberalism not only serves to reify the socially dominant strands of masculinity, it also goes hand-in-glove with neoconservatism, which is intent on restricting the inchoate freedoms of women. The erosion of social liberal measures has caused many feminists to feel more kindly disposed towards the liberal state. Some attempt to unravel the contradictions relating to feminism and the state with particular regard to the key discourses of equality of opportunity.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

'Otherness' on the Bench: How Merit is Gendered

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This paper focuses on the construction of merit as the key selection criterion for judging. It will show how merit has been masculinised within the social script so as to militate against the acceptance of women as judges. The social construction of the feminine in terms of disorder in the public sphere fans doubts that women are appointable - certainly not in significant numbers to the most senior levels of the bench. It is argued that merit, far from being an objective criterion, operates as a rhetorical device shaped by power. The paper will draw on media representations of women judges in three recent Australian scenarios: an appointment to the High Court; the appointment of almost 50 percent women to Victorian benches; and the scapegoating of a female chief magistrate (resulting in imprisonment) in Queensland.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Whistleblowing and Scientific Misconduct: Renewing Legal and Virtue Ethics Foundations

Author(s):

Whistleblowing in relation to scientific research misconduct, despite the benefits of increased transparency and accountability it often has brought to society and the discipline of science itself, remains generally regarded as a pariah activity by many of the most influential relevant organizations. The motivations of whistleblowers and those supporting them continued to be questioned and their actions criticised by colleagues and management, despite statutory protections for reasonable disclosures appropriately made in good faith and for the public interest. One reason for this paradoxical position, explored here, is that whistle blowing concerning scientific misconduct lacks the policy support customarily derived from firm bioethical and jurisprudential foundations. Recommendations are made for altering this situation in the public interest.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy

Uncertainty and Exclusion: Detention of Aliens and the High Court

Author(s): Matthew Zagor

In a series of judgments in late 2004, the High Court found that the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) unambiguously provides for the indefinite detention of unlawful non-citizens, and that such a law is constitutionally valid. The cases are significant not only for reflecting different approaches to statutory construction, the aliens power and the potential protections offered by Ch III - the manifest issues before the Court - but for the broader perspectives of Australia's constitutional arrangements and the control of public power. With specific reference to the judgments in Al-Kateb and Re Woolley, this paper argues that the majority were inherently informed by a largely unstated assumption about the Court's constitutional role that relies upon an unprecedented deference to the other branches of government, as well as an attitude towards aliens as a category - reflected in the rhetoric of control, exclusion and unlawfulness - that echoes a regrettable part of Australia's constitutional inheritance. By neglecting to state or address these assumptions upfront, and by failing to present a coherent test to stand in the stead of the protection which earlier case law had promised, the majority's reasoning loses both its moral authority and legal coherency.

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

Chair of the Citizenship Council

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This chapter appears in a collection honouring Sir Ninian Stephen, former Australian High Court Judge and Governor General. The chapter examines Sir Ninian's contributions to citizenship law in both a domestic and international context. Indeed, the chapter straddles both aspects of this book's division: Sir Ninian's domestic and international contributions. It begins by concentrating upon his Australian contributions in this field and then moves on to reflect in particular on his judgment in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the case of Proscecutor v Dusko Tadic, which had important statements about nationality in an international humanitarian law context. As I too am interested in both jurisdictions, the chapter reflects upon the contrasts and similarities of Sir Ninian's contribution to those different jurisdictions and what they may tell us about Sir Ninian's framework for thinking about citizenship. In doing so, it is my contention that Sir Ninian is a role model to all seeking to be cosmopolitan citizens in an ever increasingly connected world.

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

Advancing Citizenship: The Legal Armory and its Limits

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This Article considers the use of litigation as one mechanism to make citizenship more inclusive. It examines three Australian High Court decisions on citizenship in which the author was also counsel. While addressing the promotion of inclusive approaches to citizenship as a legal status, the Article argues that advocates must consider a range of avenues for advancing their clients' claims. In doing so, the Article also presents a normative critique of citizenship legislation as not paying enough attention to the individual's affiliation with Australia. The cases highlight rules that overlook certain individuals without giving sufficient consideration to their special circumstances, demonstrating that a person's identity is not always reflected in law.

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

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