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.

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Australia – A Land for Young Women? Exploring Young Women's Positioning in Contemporary Australian Family Violence Discourses

Author(s): Faith Gordon, Catherine Flynn, Bianca Johnston

Young women in Australia experience serious risks from intimate partner violence (IPV) as a form of family violence. However, there has been a lack of attention to the impact of this on young women and, as a result, these risks are not well understood. This article critically examines existing literature, policy and research and in doing so, specifically explores the ways in which young women aged between 10 and 20 years old are represented and positioned in contemporary family violence discourses. Framed by a review of socio-political and cultural history, the paper highlights the early colonial, patriarchal foundations of Australia, which have specific implications for the challenges that contemporary young women experience in situations of IPV. With a particular emphasis on the Australian context, this article employs both an intersectional and critical feminist lens, with a key focus on the dimensions of adolescent development and youth social geographies. Focusing specifically on these dimensions, including development, gender and age, highlights the important role that feminist social work perspectives and practices can contribute to uncovering, understanding and responding to young women's experiences of intimate partner violence through policy and advocacy.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Law and Gender

Rethinking Richardson: Sexual Harassment Damages in the #MeToo Era

Rethinking Richardson: Sexual Harassment Damages in the #MeToo Era

Author(s): Kieran Pender

The 2014 judgment in Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia Pty Ltd (‘Richardson’) had a seismic effect on workplace sexual harassment claims in Australia. Overnight, the ‘general range’ of damages awarded for non-economic loss in such cases increased from between $12 000 and $20 000 to $100 000 and above. The judgment has made Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) litigation considerably more attractive for plaintiffs and resulted in greater judicial recognition of the pain and suffering experienced by sexual harassment survivors. Richardson’s impact has also been felt beyond that immediate context, with the judgment cited in support of higher damages in discrimination cases and employment disputes. However, six years and over 40 judicial citations later, Richardson’s broader significance remains unclear—particularly following the emergence of the #MeToo movement. Drawing on a doctrinal analysis of subsequent case law and qualitative interviews with prominent Australian legal practitioners, this article evaluates Richardson’s legacy and considers how sexual harassment litigation may further evolve to reflect changing societal norms.

Co-authors: Madeleine Castles, Tom Hvala, Kieran Pender

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Centre: LRSJ

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

The Province of all Humankind: A Feminist Analysis of Space Law

The Province of all Humankind: A Feminist Analysis of Space Law

Author(s):

This chapter argues that greater diversity is needed in the space sector, and this will only be achieved when women feel they are truly part of the structures and institutions that govern space. International space law today contains many powerful remnants of the Cold War era, including gender-specific language in the OST which states that space shall be "the province of all mankind."

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Law and Gender

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Towards the Uberisation of Legal Practice

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

Uber and Airbnb signify new ways of working and doing business by facilitating direct access to providers through new digitalised platforms. The gig economy is also beginning to percolate into legal practice through what is colloquially known as NewLaw. Eschewing plush offices, permanent staff and the rigidity of time billing, NewLaw offers cheaper services to clients to compete more effectively with traditional law firms. For individual lawyers, autonomy, flexibility, a balanced life, well-being and even happiness are the claimed benefits. The downside appears that NewLaw favours senior and experienced lawyers while disproportionately affecting recent graduates. This article draws on interviews with lawyers in Australian and English NewLaw firms to evaluate the pros and cons of NewLaw.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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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.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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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.

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Centre: CIPL

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

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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.

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Centre: CIPL

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

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Social Status: The Last Bastion of Discrimination

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

Despite the increasing inequality between rich and poor, there is resistance towards proscribing discrimination on the basis of socioeconomic status. This resistance is marked in Anglophone countries, namely, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, the US and South Africa, countries that are located in the high inequality/low mobility extreme in terms of socioeconomic status. This article argues that the resistance is associated with the embrace of neoliberalism, a political value system that extols the free market, individualism and profit maximisation. The commitment to competition policy necessarily produces inequality in contradistinction to equality, which informs the philosophical underpinnings of anti-discrimination legislation. Even in the comparatively few jurisdictions where legislation on the basis of social status or a cognate attribute exists, the legislative model is restrictive and the number of complaints minuscule. Most notably, an overview of the Anglophone countries reveals that there is a dearth of complaints involving national and multinational corporations, the primary wealth creators of the neoliberal state that are also major employers. Although employment generally gives rise to the preponderance of discrimination complaints on grounds such as race and sex, it is suggested that the resistance to social status discrimination serves to protect private corporations from scrutiny.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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Oral History, Gender and Law

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

This article considers the relationship between law and gender by sharing information about an oral history project analysing the experience of women lawyers in the public, civic space and women’s experience of lawyering in Australia and of Australian lawyers working in the international context.

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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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Equal Consideration and Informed Imagining: Recognising and Responding to the Lived Experiences of Abused Women Who Kill

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

Equality is a fundamental concern of human existence. Expressed in the principle of equality before the law it requires that those who come before the law are entitled to be treated as being of equal value and to be given ‘equal consideration’. In circumstances where those who come before the law are marked by their differences, giving of equal consideration requires that difference be understood and taken into account. The identification of difference does not of itself determine the question of whether different treatment is warranted in the interests of equality. However, this article argues that understanding difference is a precondition for the promotion of true equality and that, in pursuit of understanding difference, it is necessary for us to acknowledge the limitations of our capacity to understand the lived experience of ‘others’ and to actively work to engage with these experiences. In the context of the criminal justice system, we over abused women who kill as illustrative of this need, focusing upon the availability and operation of self-defence in England/Wales, Queensland and Victoria. In doing so, we consider the capacity of the law, legal process and legal actors to engage with the lived experiences of these women, highlighting the im portance of ‘informed imagining’.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education

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Women Judges, Private Lives: (In)Visibilities in Fact and Fiction

Author(s): Margaret Thornton, Heather Roberts

Once unseen, women are now visible in increasing proportions on the bench in common law courts, although this reality has generally not percolated into fictional worlds, where ‘the judge’ is invariably male. Fiona, cast by Ian McEwan as the protagonist, in The Children Act, is a notable exception. In the novel, McEwan directs our gaze beyond the traditional separation of judicial identity into public/private (visible/invisible) facets of life and raises questions regarding the impact of life on law, and law on life. This article draws on McEwan’s work to illuminate a study of how judicial swearing-in ceremonies tell the stories of Australian women judges. At first glance, this may seem an unusual pairing: The Children Act is an international best-selling work of fiction whereas the official records of court ceremonial sittings are a somewhat obscure body of work largely overlooked by scholars. However, the speeches made in welcome in open court on these occasions by members of the legal profession and by the new judge in reply, offer glimpses of the attributes of women judges not discernible in formal judgments. These ‘minor jurisprudences’ challenge the familiar gendered stereotypes found in the sovereign body of law.

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Centre:

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Human Rights Law and Policy, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal Education, Private Law

Visual: Representations, Technologies, and Critique

Law and the Visual: Representations, Technologies, and Critique

Editor(s): Desmond Manderson

In Law and the Visual, leading legal theorists, art historians, and critics come together to present new work examining the intersection between legal and visual discourses. Proceeding chronologically, the volume offers leading analyses of the juncture between legal and visual culture as witnessed from the fifteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Editor Desmond Manderson provides a contextual introduction that draws out and articulates three central themes: visual representations of the law, visual technologies in the law, and aesthetic critiques of law. A ground breaking contribution to an increasingly vibrant field of inquiry, Law and the Visual will inform the debate on the relationship between legal and visual culture for years to come.

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Centre: CLAH

Research theme: Law and Gender, Law and Religion

Power, Control and Citizenship: The Uluru Statement from the Heart as Active Citizenship

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

Who governs and how they govern is central to the questions of power, control and citizenship that are at the core of a democratic society. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is the outcome of the 12 First Nations Regional Dialogues culminating in the National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017. There the First Peoples from across the country formed a consensus position on the form constitutional recognition should take. This article argues that the Uluru Statement from the Heart affirms a commitment to ‘active citizenship’ that draws from a belief in the equal power of the governors and the governed. This understanding of the Uluru Statement from the Heart enables it to be promoted as a document for all Australians, both in the spirit of reconciliation and in its affirmation of a commitment to an equality underpinning Australian citizenship in the 21st century. By examining how citizenship in Australia has evolved as a legal concept and by reflecting on how law is a fundamental tool for providing a ‘meaningful limitation of the lawgiver’s power in favour of the agency of the legal subject’, this article examines the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a commitment to the importance of recognising the nature of the proper relationship between the law giver and those subject to the law — the citizenry. To exercise power within a democratic framework, as opposed to brute force or sheer will over the subject, involves recognising the agency of the citizenry. This idea not only enables reconciliation to be a meaningful and restorative act but one that recalibrates the exercise of power in Australia to benefit all Australians by affirming a commitment to all Australians equal citizenship as active agents.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

CHALLENGING THE LEGAL PROFESSION A CENTURY ON: THE CASE OF EDITH HAYNES*

Challenging the Legal Profession A Century On: The Case of Edith Haynes

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This article focuses on Edith Haynes' unsuccessful attempt to enter the legal profession in Western Australia. Although admitted to articles as a law student in 1900, she was denied permission to sit her intermediate examination by the Supreme Court of WA (In re Edith Haynes (1904) 6 WAR 209). Edith Haynes is of particular interest for two reasons. First, the decision denying her permission to sit the exam was an example of a 'persons' case', which was typical of an array of cases in the English common law world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in which courts determined that women were not persons for the purpose of entering the professions or holding public office. Secondly, as all (white) women had been enfranchised in Australia at the time, the decision of the Supreme Court begs the question as to the meaning of active citizenship. The article concludes by hypothesising a different outcome for Edith Haynes by imagining an appeal to the newly established High Court of Australia.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Court records as Archives

Court Records As Archives: The Need for Law Reform to Ensure Access

Author(s): Andrew Henderson, Kim Rubenstein

The Federal Court of Australia performs a fundamentally important role within Australia’s democratic system. It has served as a site for the disputation, negotiation and resolution of issues fundamentally important to Australian society. It does so in the context of a constitutional system affirming the principle of separation of powers and the rule of law, as a means of preserving and enforcing the rights of individuals and navigating the boundaries of the powers of the state. In that context, its records, gathered both through the internal workings of the court and through the cases that come before it, contain a narrative shaping our contemporary understanding of the rights of the individual and the role of the state. Despite the importance of its records in that narrative, the preservation and access to the Federal Court’s records continues to be seen through the lens of traditional understandings of the management of litigation. This paper explores the Federal Court’s role within the broader context of constructing our understanding of the roles and responsibilities of citizenship and illustrates the importance of the Court’s records as an archival resource. In doing so, it highlights the parallels and inconsistencies between traditional archival institutions and the Court in relation to selection, preservation and access to records.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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How the Higher Education 'Industry' Shapes the Discipline of Law

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

This article argues that a constellation of factors combine to encourage law graduates to pursue a career in corporate law at the expense of alternative destinations. Most notable are the increasingly high tuition fees law students are charged, but the respective roles of government, the admitting authorities, law schools and the profession cannot be discounted. Each change in policy renders resistance more difficult. The proposed higher education changes contained in the 2017 Australian Federal Budget are exemplary. As it is already assumed that law can be offered cheaply while charging high fees, the Budget cuts could induce universities to increase the number of law students as well as the cost of discretionary law degrees, such as the Juris Doctor. This would not only increase competition for law-related jobs in the labour market, but it would also effect a more vocational orientation to the law curriculum.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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Lessons Lost in Sentencing: Welding Individualised Justice to Indigenous Justice

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

Indigenous offenders are heavily over-represented in the Australian and Canadian criminal justice systems. In the case of R v Gladue, the Supreme Court of Canada held that sentencing judges are to recognise the adverse systemic and background factors that many Aboriginal Canadians face and consider all reasonable alternatives to imprisonment in light of this. In R v Ipeelee, the Court reiterated the need to fully acknowledge the oppressive environment faced by Aboriginal Canadians throughout their lives and the importance of sentencing courts applying appropriate sentencing options. In 2013, the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in Bugmy v The Queen. The Court affirmed that deprivation is a relevant consideration and worthy of mitigation in sentencing. However, the Court refused to accept that judicial notice should be taken of the systemic background of deprivation of many Indigenous offenders. The High Court also fell short of applying the Canadian principle that sentencing should promote restorative sentences for Indigenous offenders, given this oft-present deprivation and their over-representation in prison. In this article, we argue that Bugmy v The Queen represents a missed opportunity by the High Court to grapple with the complex interrelationship between individualised justice and Indigenous circumstances in the sentencing of Indigenous offenders.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education

Did Defensive Homicide in Victoria Provide a Safety Net for Battered Women Who Kill? A Case Study Analysis

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

This article seeks to draw conclusions about the potential impact of the Crimes Amendment (Abolition of Defensive Homicide) Act 2014 (Vic). We do so by considering whether defensive homicide served as a safety net in the 2014 case of Director of Public Prosecutions (Vic) v Williams. The article presents a detailed analysis of the trial transcript and sentencing remarks to support the contention that the defence did in fact achieve this purpose. The conclusion rests, principally, upon understanding the jury finding that Williams killed in the belief that her actions were necessary for her own protection, but apparently determined that she had no reasonable grounds for that belief (thereby failing the legal test of self-defence as it then stood). Having looked at how the 2014 legislation also amended relevant evidence laws, and reinforced jury directions to accommodate considerations of family violence, we then consider the implications of these reforms for battered women who kill. We suggest that, in the absence of the offence of defensive homicide, women like Williams may in the future be convicted of murder, even when they kill in response to family violence and with a genuine belief that their actions are necessary in self-defence.

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Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education

Law Student Wellbeing: A Neoliberal Conundrum

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

The discourse around student wellness is a marked feature of the 21st century Australian legal academy. It has resulted in various initiatives on the part of law schools, including the development of a national forum. The phenomenon relates to psychological distress experienced by students ascertained through surveys they themselves have completed. Proposed remedies tend to focus on improving the law school pedagogical experience. This article argues that the neoliberalisation of higher education is invariably overlooked in the literature as a primary cause of stress, even though it is responsible for the high fees, large classes and an increasingly competitive job market. The ratcheting up of fees places pressure on students to vie with one another for highly remunerated employment in the corporate world. In this way, law graduates productively serve the new knowledge economy and the individualisation of their psychological distress effectively deflects attention away from the neoliberal agenda.

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Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

Squeezing the Life Out of Lawyers: Legal Practice in the Market Embrace

Author(s): Margaret Thornton

Neoliberalism is the dominant ideology of our time and shows no sign of abating. The undue deference accorded the economy and capital accumulation means that comparatively little attention is paid to the pressures this involves for workers. Although conventionally viewed as privileged professionals, lawyers in corporate law firms have been profoundly affected by the neoliberal turn as firms have expanded from local to national, to global entities, with the aim of maximising profits and making themselves competitive on the world stage. Although corporate clients may be located in a different hemisphere they still expect 24/7 availability of lawyers in contrast to what they normally expect of other professionals, such as accountants. A corollary of global competition is the ratcheting up of billable hours, which has engendered stress and depression. The pressure for firms to be more productive has resulted in increased levels of incivility, including bullying. Despite a plethora of reports attesting to the deleterious effects of stress, scant attention is paid to the neoliberalisation of legal practice. This article argues that the tendency to individualise and pathologise the adverse effects of stress and uncivil behaviours deflects attention away from the political factors that animate them.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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