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.

Book cover

Restrictive Trade Practices Law in Australia

Author(s): Alex Bruce

This new textbook provides an engaging treatment of Australian competition law and is ideal for those studying the subject for the first time. Written in an explanatory and lively style, the text fosters a sound understanding of the legal principles of competition law in Australia and demystifies the economic concepts underpinning the law. The work focuses on the contemporary situation, including the recently enacted criminal and civil regime governing cartel conduct, and also explains the historical context using analogies from popular culture.

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Centre: CCL

Research theme: Administrative Law, Private Law

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

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

Animals and the Trade Practices Act

Animals and the Trade Practices Act: The Return of the Descartes Ghost

Author(s): Alex Bruce

French philosopher Rene Descartes thought animals were little more than inanimate objects without the capacity to think or feel pain. At the time, Descartes was influenced by the prevailing mechanistic conception of the natural world in which phenomena could be explained in simple mechanical terms.

This article examines the way in which the Trade Practices Act has been utilized by various litigants when the interests of those litigants have involved animals. It suggests that the dominating philosophical influence of the Act is grounded in Cartesian principles, thus making no differentiation in principle or application between animals and other inanimate objects as economic goods.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL

Research theme: Law and Religion, Private Law

Liar's Fall a Lesson for Us All

Liar's Fall a Lesson for Us All

Author(s): Kath Hall

Former Federal Court Judge Marcus Einfeld was taken from the NSW Supreme Court into custody last Friday, after being sentenced by Justice Bruce James to a two-year non-parol period for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Whilst clearly these charges and the court's sentence are very serious, the circumstances that led up to them are almost too crazy for many of us to believe. As the facts now show, throughout 2006 and 2007, Einfeld lied about driving a car that was caught speeding on camera.

The lies were contradictory, childlike and often hard to believe. Yet isn't one of the first lessons all children learn thou shalt not lie? If so, then why did this experienced, well regarded, former Australian judge lie to avoid a small speeding fine? Why did he not realise that adding one lie upon another and another would end up burying him in a deep and hopeless hole such as the one he is now in?

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

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

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

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 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

The Power of Rationalization to Influence Lawyers' Decisions to Act Unethically

Author(s): Kath Hall, Vivien Holmes

This article explores the psychological literature on rationalization and connects it with contemporary questions about the role of in-house lawyers in ethical dilemmas. Using the case study of AWB Ltd, the exclusive marketer of Australian wheat exports overseas, it suggests that rationalizations were influential in the perpetuation by in-house lawyers of AWB's payment of kickbacks to the Iraqi regime.

The article explores how lawyers' professional rationalizations can work together with commercial imperatives to prevent in-house lawyers from seeing ethical issues as those outside the organisation would see them. In particular, where lawyers over-identify with their client's commercial point of view and convince themselves that their role is primarily about providing 'technical' advice on commercial matters, wilful or unintended 'ethical blindness' can result. Lawyers can end up involved in or perpetuating serious misconduct by their client organizations.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

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

Cronullified: Can the Commonwealth Regulate Low Level Racist Speech?

Author(s):

Political commentary on race, multiculturalism and national identity can be very controversial because it often appears to demarcate a line between those Australians who are ethnic and cultural insiders and those who are outsiders. This type of speech can venture into the territory of being low level racial vilification speech. That is, speech that contains overtones that are hostile or contemptuous towards a particular racial group but which does not overtly espouse hatred. Low level racial vilification speech serves to exclude others from being truly equal within the community. Yet it does not appear to be effectively regulated under the Racial Discrimination Act. However, this type of speech deserves some form of public censure. In this article I analyse low level racial vilification speech in the context of political speech. I consider whether it is possible to implement a policy scheme where speech with racist overtones, as opposed to hate speech, can be subjected to some form of official censure whilst, in the interests of not unduly restraining political speech, not being prevented from being published or disseminated.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: International Law, Law and Technology, Private Law

Civil Procedure: Commentary and Materials 4th Edition Alternative Dispute Resolution

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien, Kath Hall

This chapter provides an overview of the theory and practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It discusses the growing need for methods other than litigation to resolve disputes, and focuses upon the growth of mediation, and to a lesser extent arbitration, in Australia. Other methods of dispute resolution are also discussed.

In the context of mediation, the structure of the mediation process is outlined, and the nature of consensual dispute resolution is explained. Four of the key features of mediation, namely accessibility, voluntariness, confidentiality and facilitation are analysed. Other issues such as power imbalance, enforceability of agreements to mediate and evaluation of mediation are also discussed.

The process of arbitration is then introduced, and the requirements of the Commercial Arbitration Acts are outlined. Finally, court-annexed mediation and arbitration, and the role of the legal profession in ADR practice are discussed.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

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

Civil Procedure: Commentary and Materials 4th Edition Alternative Dispute Resolution

Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien, Kath Hall

This chapter provides an overview of the theory and practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It discusses the growing need for methods other than litigation to resolve disputes, and focuses upon the growth of mediation, and to a lesser extent arbitration, in Australia. Other methods of dispute resolution are also discussed.

In the context of mediation, the structure of the mediation process is outlined, and the nature of consensual dispute resolution is explained. Four of the key features of mediation, namely accessibility, voluntariness, confidentiality and facilitation are analysed. Other issues such as power imbalance, enforceability of agreements to mediate and evaluation of mediation are also discussed.

The process of arbitration is then introduced, and the requirements of the Commercial Arbitration Acts are outlined. Finally, court-annexed mediation and arbitration, and the role of the legal profession in ADR practice are discussed.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

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

Digital Copyright and Disability Discrimination: From Braille Books to Bookshare

Author(s):

In Australia, blind people are able to access texts in braille and books on tape, but the demand for these media is decreasing. Blind people today are increasingly reliant on texts in electronic form, and these are much less readily available in Australia. Electronic texts are more portable and less cumbersome than large braille volumes, and are much faster to navigate than audio recordings. However, in Australia it is difficult for blind people to get access to a wide range of electronic texts and there exists no scheme enabling such access. At the same time sighted people are using electronic text and other digital media at an ever-increasing rate. In order to approximate the same level of access as sighted people, blind people require access to accessible electronic versions of all published material.

The authors suggest that given the legal imperatives of Australia's domestic legislation, treaty obligations and social values, that there exists a moral imperative to create a scheme providing blind people with access to digital print media.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: International Law, Law and Technology, Private Law

Digital Copyright and Disability Discrimination: From Braille Books to Bookshare

Author(s):

In Australia, blind people are able to access texts in braille and books on tape, but the demand for these media is decreasing. Blind people today are increasingly reliant on texts in electronic form, and these are much less readily available in Australia. Electronic texts are more portable and less cumbersome than large braille volumes, and are much faster to navigate than audio recordings. However, in Australia it is difficult for blind people to get access to a wide range of electronic texts and there exists no scheme enabling such access. At the same time sighted people are using electronic text and other digital media at an ever-increasing rate. In order to approximate the same level of access as sighted people, blind people require access to accessible electronic versions of all published material.

The authors suggest that given the legal imperatives of Australia's domestic legislation, treaty obligations and social values, that there exists a moral imperative to create a scheme providing blind people with access to digital print media.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: International Law, Law and Technology, Private Law

Digital Copyright and Disability Discrimination: From Braille Books to Bookshare

Author(s):

In Australia, blind people are able to access texts in braille and books on tape, but the demand for these media is decreasing. Blind people today are increasingly reliant on texts in electronic form, and these are much less readily available in Australia. Electronic texts are more portable and less cumbersome than large braille volumes, and are much faster to navigate than audio recordings. However, in Australia it is difficult for blind people to get access to a wide range of electronic texts and there exists no scheme enabling such access. At the same time sighted people are using electronic text and other digital media at an ever-increasing rate. In order to approximate the same level of access as sighted people, blind people require access to accessible electronic versions of all published material.

The authors suggest that given the legal imperatives of Australia's domestic legislation, treaty obligations and social values, that there exists a moral imperative to create a scheme providing blind people with access to digital print media.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: International Law, Law and Technology, Private Law

Legal Regulation of Religious Giving

Author(s): Pauline Ridge

The article considers the legal regulation of religious giving in nineteenth century England. Three leading cases, decided between 1871 and 1887, are discussed. Each case involves a woman of Roman Catholic, or Roman Catholic-like persuasion, making a substantial testamentary or inter vivos gift to the religious body with which she is associated. It is argued that whether the gift was construed as an outright gift or a trust for purposes was crucial to its enforceability. Two key themes are considered: autonomy concerns in relation to religious giving (including reasons why these concerns were more pressing with respect to inter vivos gifts) and the different levels of legal recognition of religious giving. The law during this period took an active role both in managing the relationship of religious groups with the state and in controlling the activities of religious groups; conversely, suppressed religious groups managed to operate around, and outside, the law.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Religion, Private Law

The Class Action as Sheriff: Private Law Enforcement and Remedial Roulette

Author(s): Peta Spender

This essay will explore the effect of developments in class action law and practice upon remedial law, and investigate the state of health of the compensation principle.

The compensation principle requires that plaintiffs should as nearly as possible be awarded a sum of money that will place them in the same position as if they had not suffered a wrong. The principle has occupied a central position in modern private law to provide standing to plaintiffs and to limit the powers of courts. Yet commentators such as Berryman argue that the compensation principle is in decline and suffering a death by a thousand cuts. Some of the deepest cuts have been inflicted by the modern class action.

This argument will be examined by reference to class actions in Australia, Canada, and the US, using the vitamins antitrust litigation in those jurisdictions as a case study.

The overall hypothesis is that whilst the compensatory principle is being assailed by the calls for the class action to deter corporate misconduct, the principle still acts as a moral compass. Corrective justice has not entirely yielded to instrumentalism, but the current autonomous, individualistic, and substantive law model of corrective justice under private law needs to adjust to group procedural justice as practised in law firms and in the courts.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

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

The Psychology of Corporate Dishonesty

Author(s): Kath Hall

Despite the large amount of literature that has been written over the last 30 years on the regulation of corporate misconduct, relatively little attention has been addressed to developing a detailed understanding of the human element of corporate dishonesty. Corporations are not by themselves dishonest. Their dishonesty comes from the decisions and actions of individuals within the organization. Yet, important questions on what affects individuals in their decision-making on dishonesty have received limited scholarly attention. This article assists in addressing this gap by developing a psychologically informed perspective on the problem of corporate dishonesty. Drawing on a range of literature from cognitive and organizational psychology, it argues that we need to understand well behaviors that we seek to regulate well. All regulation rests on assumptions and predictions about human behavior. If we do not accurately recognize the factors that affect decision-making on corporate dishonesty, we are poorly equipped to design regulation that influences this behavior.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Private Law

The New Corporate Law

Author(s): Stephen Bottomley

Corporate social responsibility is back on the corporate law reform agenda. From an Australian perspective, the evidence for this is found in the simultaneous but separate inquiries that, at the time of writing this paper, are being conducted into this topic by the Australian Parliament's Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, and by the Australian Government's Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC). These developments are supported by the many standards, guidelines, principles, and codes promulgated by non-government bodies, industry groups and other international organisations.

Cynics might dismiss these developments as part of a regular cycle of corporate law reform. After all, as we will see, this is not the first time that corporate social responsibility has appeared on the reform agenda. Others might suggest that, finally, this is an idea whose time has come. The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which this renewed, and widespread, attention to corporate social responsibility is being reflected in the substance of our systems of corporate law. Is it possible, and meaningful, to talk of a 'new corporate law' in which the concerns of people other than shareholders (or, indeed, the non-financial concerns of shareholders) are to be given serious attention?

The plan of the paper is as follows. We begin with a brief survey of recent developments in different common law jurisdictions, with an emphasis on Australia, that have implications for the idea of corporate social responsibility. The focus here is not just on statutory developments, but also on the wider array of codes, guidelines and so on that were adverted to earlier. From this base, we then draw and elaborate upon two conclusions. The first is that the shareholder primacy model continues to exert a powerful, although sometimes misunderstood, effect on the capacity of legislators to respond to corporate social responsibility concerns. In particular, it has the potential to constrain the actions of directors in responding to those concerns, it constrains the power of shareholders to put these concerns in front of the board, and it constrains the capacity of non-shareholders to bring these concerns to the attention of company managers. The second conclusion is that much of the action regarding corporate social responsibility therefore occurs outside the parameters of the statutes, and it is in this sense that we can talk about a 'new corporate law': a system of corporate regulation that depends as much on (if not more on) non-statutory mechanisms and methods, which in many cases can have a more immediate impact on corporate operations. The final part of the paper examines some of these themes in more detail, by way of a 'case study' of the position of corporate employees. Whatever definition one takes of corporate social responsibility, it is undeniable that the financial and physical well-being of a company's employees must be a central concern. Recent corporate collapses and policy responses to them in Australia provide a stark illustration of the limited extent to which corporate law has been able to respond to the challenges of corporate social responsibility.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Social Justice, Legal Theory, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

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