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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Populism, Backlash and the Ongoing Use of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement System: State Responses to the Appellate Body Crisis

Author(s): Imogen Saunders

Since 2017, World Trade Organization (‘WTO’) Member States have been unable to reach a consensus on Appellate Body (‘AB’) appointments and reappointments. The United States is spearheading a populist backlash against procedural and substantive aspects of the dispute settlement system of the WTO. As a consequence of this, the AB is now facing an unprecedented crisis. The jewel in the crown of the WTO dispute settlement system will be missing: yet countries are still bringing complaints. This paper considers US actions through the framing of populism and backlash, and assesses responses from other countries.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: International Law, Legal History and Ethnology

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The Pandemic Paradox in International Law

Author(s): Jeremy Farrall, Imogen Saunders

This article examines a series of paradoxes that have rendered the international legal order’s mechanisms for collective action powerless precisely when they are most needed to fight COVID-19. The “patriotism paradox” is that disengagement from the international legal order weakens rather than strengthens state sovereignty. The “border paradox” is that securing domestic populations by excluding non-citizens, in the absence of accompanying regulatory mechanisms to secure adherence to internal health measures, accelerates viral spread among citizens. The “equality paradox” is that while pandemics pose an equal threat to all people, their impacts compound existing inequalities.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: International Law, Legal History and Ethnology

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Navigating the Backlash against Global Law and Institutions

Author(s): Jeremy Farrall, Jolyon Ford, Imogen Saunders

This article considers the recent ‘Backlash’ against global norms and institutions fuelled by various contemporary political developments within and between states. Understanding the shape, significance and drivers of this phenomenon better is a pre-requisite to developing and analysing possible responses by Australia and other states. The recent rise of populism and ‘illiberal democracy’ especially within major Western democracies has challenged the longstanding and widespread commitment of those states to the rules-based order. These phenomena have also eroded the traditional global leadership, in multilateral forums, of key powers including UN permanent members the United States and the United Kingdom. The populations of these and other states have responded to perceptions of economic and political disempowerment by pressuring political representatives to focus their energies domestically. In order both to appeal and respond to domestic political forces, leaders in these states have sought to target or sometimes scapegoat the international institutions that have hitherto been so useful to their foreign policy agenda. This article examines the consequences of understanding the current populist moment as part of a Backlash against global law and institutions and the ramifications of the Backlash frame for international peace and security. It also considers the implications of the Backlash frame for the international human rights system, the impact of the turn inward for global trade and finance and the Backlash against environmental norms.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL, CIPL, LGDI

Research theme: Human Rights Law and Policy, International Law, Law and Technology, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, Regulatory Law and Policy

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Navigating the Backlash: Re-integrating WTO and Public International Law?

Author(s): Imogen Saunders

The debate about the extent of the interaction between WTO law and public international law has existed for as long as the WTO itself. While WTO case law confirms a willingness of panels and the Appellate Body to embrace interpretative rules of general international law, engagement with non-trade obligations under non-WTO treaties has been more patchy. Nonetheless, the reality of competing international legal obligations on States will continue to grow. Could a deliberate shift to consider non-WTO obligations in WTO disputes help maintain the relevance of the institution?

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: International Law, Legal History and Ethnology

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When Is the Advancement of Religion Not a Charitable Purpose?

Author(s): Pauline Ridge

This article addresses the question of why religious groups receive charitable status in relation to religious activities by considering when the current law does not grant charitable status to purposes that advance religion. The jurisdictional focus is upon Australian law, with some reference to other jurisdictions whose law also derives from the English common law of charity. After an overview of the charity law landscape in Australia, the article explains and critically evaluates the grounds upon which charitable status may be refused to purposes that advance religion. The article then considers two considerations that have emerged in twenty first century charity law and that are relevant to the charitable status of religious groups. These concern human rights, particularly the right to freedom of religion, and the use of charity law to regulate religious activity.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Religion, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law

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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.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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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.

Read on SSRN

Centre:

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

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Artificial Islands and Territory in International Law

Author(s): Imogen Saunders

Artificially created islands are a contemporary reality, created and used for military and non-military purposes. Analysis of such islands has largely been limited to their status under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regime. Their position under general international law, however, remains unclear. In particular, the question of whether artificial islands can constitute sovereign territory remains unanswered. This article analyses the concept of territory in international law in the context of artificial islands, arguing that both the doctrine of territory and the strictures of UNCLOS do not prevent artificial islands as constituting territory, capable of sovereign appropriation: albeit territory not generating a territorial sea. Indeed, understanding artificial islands as potentially constituting territory allows for a more comprehensive positioning of such islands in regards to other general international law doctrines including the unlawful acquisition of territory.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: International Law, Legal History and Ethnology

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.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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Not-for-Profit Law and Freedom of Religion

Author(s): Pauline Ridge

The discussion in this chapter of particular intersections between English not-for-profit law and the right to freedom of religion highlights some problems in the existing law. The following suggestions for reform merit further attention. First, ‘religion’ should be defined as widely as possible in order to protect freedom of religion and to promote clarity in legal reasoning. Secondly, in relation to Article 14’s application to religious groups a conceptual framework is needed to determine when it is legitimate for the State to discriminate between religious groups by way of fiscal policy and to more clearly delineate the margin of appreciation afforded to the State when doing so.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Religion, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law

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Modern Equity: Revolution or Renewal from Within?

Author(s): Pauline Ridge

Peter Birks spearheaded a revolution in thinking about Equity. This paper questions how successful that revolution has been. Two narratives of modern Equity are identified: the revolutionary narrative commenced by Birks and one counter-narrative that is apparent in contemporary case law. Three particular strands of these narratives are then discussed. They concern the integration of the Common Law and Equity; conscience-based reasoning; and judicial method. Illustrations are taken largely from the law governing third party ancillary liabilities that protect equitable rights. Claims against recipients of property protected by Equity, particularly the claim for unconscionable retention of benefit following receipt of misappropriated trust property, are used to illustrate the integration of the Common Law and Equity and the use of conscience-based reasoning. Judicial method is discussed in the context of equitable accessory and recipient liability. Reference is also made to the doctrine of undue influence, the change of position defence, mistaken gifts and private law claims tainted by illegality.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CCL

Research theme: Law and Religion, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law

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Telling a History of Australian Women Judges Through Courts' Ceremonial Archives

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Swearing-in ceremonies are held to mark the investiture of a new judge on the bench. Transcribed and stored within courts’ public records, these proceedings form a rich ‘ceremonial archive’. This paper showcases the value of this archive for the (re)telling of Australian legal history and, particularly, a history of Australian women lawyers. Using a case study drawn from the swearing-in ceremonies of women judges of the High Court, Federal Court, and Family Courts of Australia between 1993 and 2013, the paper explores what this archive reveals about the Australian legal community’s attitudes towards women in the law. It argues that despite the regional and jurisdictional differences between these courts, recurring themes emerge. Notably, while feminising discourse dominates the earlier ceremonies, stories of the judges’ personal and judicial identity come to display a more overt feminist consciousness by the end of the Labor Governments in power in Australia between 2007 and 2013.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, The Legal Profession

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Women Judges, 'Maiden Speeches,' and the High Court of Australia

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Since the Australian High Court was established in 1903, ceremonies have been held to mark the swearing-in of a new Justice. This chapter utilizes the speeches made at the swearing-in ceremonies of Gaudron, Crennan, Kiefel, and Bell as a prism to explore the representation of women judges in the Australian legal community, and in particular, the Australian High Court.

These ceremonies are a rich resource by virtue of the two kinds of speeches made on these occasions. First, leaders of the Australian legal community make speeches welcoming the new High Court judge to the bench. In a legal system where federal judges are chosen behind closed doors, the welcome speeches have performed a key role in introducing the new judges to the public, and attesting to their skills as lawyer and judge. Importantly, the litany of a new judge’s accomplishments on these occasions contextualizes the concept of “merit” in a High Court appointment. Furthermore, the speech by the Commonwealth Attorney-General has provided a measure of public justification of his decision to appoint a particular judge. This chapter explores how the welcome speakers have grappled with the novelty of the feminine in the stories about the four female High Court judges. I argue that gender too often dominated this narrative, to a discriminatory and feminizing effect. In this regard, however, Bell’s ceremony may signal a new direction in the Australian legal community’s attitude toward female judges.

The second element of the swearing-in ceremony is the judge’s response to the welcome speeches. As his or her inaugural speech as a member of the High Court, this speech is the judicial equivalent of the “maiden speech” by members of parliament. The judge’s speech is delivered in a setting rich with contradiction: a statement from the bench, yet of no judicial force; liberated in content and style from the boundaries of a legal dispute and yet constrained by the weight of convention regarding the “appropriate” remarks for an incoming judge; and, a statement of individual identity, values, and principles made from the “identity-less” judge of the common law tradition. For present purposes, the critical feature of the inaugural speeches of Australia’s four female High Court judges is how they tell their stories and the place of gender in that narrative. I argue that these speeches reflect a continuing pressure faced by women judges to distance themselves from the perception of their “otherness” on the bench. This pressure manifested first in Gaudron’s speech, Women Judges, “Maiden Speeches,” and the High Court of Australia when she tempered her bold acknowledgment of her identity as the first woman to join the High Court with affirmations of her sameness with her brother judges. Significantly, twenty years later, Bell’s swearing-in speech continued to display both a self-conscious silencing of her feminine voice and statements affirming her distance from outsiders on the bench.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, The Legal Profession

Women Judges

Women Judges, 'Maiden Speeches,' and the High Court of Australia

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Since the Australian High Court was established in 1903, ceremonies have been held to mark the swearing-in of a new Justice. This chapter utilizes the speeches made at the swearing-in ceremonies of Gaudron, Crennan, Kiefel, and Bell as a prism to explore the representation of women judges in the Australian legal community, and in particular, the Australian High Court.

These ceremonies are a rich resource by virtue of the two kinds of speeches made on these occasions. First, leaders of the Australian legal community make speeches welcoming the new High Court judge to the bench. In a legal system where federal judges are chosen behind closed doors, the welcome speeches have performed a key role in introducing the new judges to the public, and attesting to their skills as lawyer and judge. Importantly, the litany of a new judge’s accomplishments on these occasions contextualizes the concept of “merit” in a High Court appointment. Furthermore, the speech by the Commonwealth Attorney-General has provided a measure of public justification of his decision to appoint a particular judge. This chapter explores how the welcome speakers have grappled with the novelty of the feminine in the stories about the four female High Court judges. I argue that gender too often dominated this narrative, to a discriminatory and feminizing effect. In this regard, however, Bell’s ceremony may signal a new direction in the Australian legal community’s attitude toward female judges.

The second element of the swearing-in ceremony is the judge’s response to the welcome speeches. As his or her inaugural speech as a member of the High Court, this speech is the judicial equivalent of the “maiden speech” by members of parliament. The judge’s speech is delivered in a setting rich with contradiction: a statement from the bench, yet of no judicial force; liberated in content and style from the boundaries of a legal dispute and yet constrained by the weight of convention regarding the “appropriate” remarks for an incoming judge; and, a statement of individual identity, values, and principles made from the “identity-less” judge of the common law tradition. For present purposes, the critical feature of the inaugural speeches of Australia’s four female High Court judges is how they tell their stories and the place of gender in that narrative. I argue that these speeches reflect a continuing pressure faced by women judges to distance themselves from the perception of their “otherness” on the bench. This pressure manifested first in Gaudron’s speech, Women Judges, “Maiden Speeches,” and the High Court of Australia when she tempered her bold acknowledgment of her identity as the first woman to join the High Court with affirmations of her sameness with her brother judges. Significantly, twenty years later, Bell’s swearing-in speech continued to display both a self-conscious silencing of her feminine voice and statements affirming her distance from outsiders on the bench.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, The Legal Profession

Using Discourse Theory

Introduction: Using Discourse Theory to Untangle Public and International Environmental Law

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

The world is talking, pondering, and strategising about the environment. Ever more of the environment has been identified, publicly contemplated, or designated for despoliation and resource extraction. Remote and ‘wild’ places like the rugged Australian Kimberley and the far reaches of North America are now subject to advanced plans for fossil fuel extraction. Environmental disasters, including fires, floods, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunami, and schemes to alleviate or prevent future human suffering from catastrophe, have occupied governmental and organisational attention. Meanwhile, concerns about environmental degradation, and in particular human-induced climate change, dominate Western media and national and international politics, and are connecting communities through conversation and localised action. The nature, breadth and extent of global responses to climate change are also points of contention between the developing and developed worlds.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

‘Swearing Mary’: The Significance of the Speeches Made at Mary Gaudron's Swearing-in as a Justice of the High Court of Australia

Author(s): Heather Roberts

During the High Court of Australia’s first century, Mary Gaudron served as the first and only female member of its bench. This paper commemorates the 25th anniversary of Gaudron’s appointment to the High Court by examining the speeches made at her swearing-in ceremony, in February 1987. Largely ignored by scholars, swearing-in ceremonies provide unique insights into the history of courts and the personality and philosophy of their judges. Through the prism of Gaudron’s swearing-in ceremony, this paper showcases the significance of these occasions as a commentary on the institutional and intellectual life of the Court. In particular, Gaudron’s swearing-in ceremony tells a fascinating story of institutional and gender politics in the High Court: the legal community’s varied response to the novelty of a woman High Court Justice; Gaudron’s intricate balancing between her distinctive vision of her obligations as a mentor to women lawyers and her role as ‘one of seven’ on a collegiate bench; and the perennial tension between innovation and tradition in legal method.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, The Legal Profession

Book Review - Michael Kirby

Book Review: Michael Kirby: Paradoxes and Principles

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

Janet Malcolm, in her brilliant rumination on the problem of biography in The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, writes:

… the narratives called biographies pale and shrink in the face of the disorderly actuality that is a life. … The goal is to make a space where a few ideas and images and feelings may be so arranged that a reader will want to linger awhile among them, rather than to flee…

A desire to linger awhile is certainly my reaction to reading and enjoying this fulsome account of the first 70 years of Michael Kirby’s life (drawing on over 117 metres of personal records held by the National Archives of Australia, extensive speeches and other papers prepared by the subject, not to mention his court judgments). Brown also skilfully makes space for a few central images and feelings to assist one’s progress through this extensive and absorbing book. The opening image shared with the reader is of the Khyber Pass, where Kirby was travelling for the second time with partner Johan van Vloten. It is 17 December 1973 and ‘This time, at least, there were no guns’. Three and a half years earlier, Afridi tribesmen ‘brandishing rifles’ asked if he was British and ‘the young Australian traveller answered yes’.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

A Mirror to the Man

A Mirror to the Man: Reflecting on Justice William Deane: A Private Man in Public Office

Author(s): Heather Roberts

Sir William Deane was a member of the High Court of Australia during one of its most creative periods, from 1982 to 1995. His decisions displayed a notable commitment to social justice and a willingness to extend the constitutional protection of human rights. These tendencies were particularly prominent during the Mason Court years (1987-1995), manifesting in decisions including Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1; Dietrich v The Queen (1992) 177 CLR 292; Leeth v Commonwealth (1992) 174 CLR 455; and the political communication cases of 1992 and 1994. Although his judgments displayed a clear vision of his judicial responsibilities, Deane adopted a strict extra-judicial silence regarding the principles that informed his judicial philosophy. However, as Australia's 22nd Governor-General Deane was more open regarding his personal beliefs and their influence on his performance of those duties. This article utilises Deane's public statements as Governor-General to shed light on the foundations of his judicial philosophy. In particular, as Governor-General Deane drew on his Christian faith to support his commitment to highlight the cause of indigenous reconciliation and the plight of the disadvantaged in Australia. This article argues that Deane's spiritual convictions, as articulated in his vice-regal statements, can also be regarded as underpinning his understanding of his role as High Court Justice.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Constitutional Law and Theory, Law and Gender, Law, Governance and Development, Legal History and Ethnology, Private Law, The Legal Profession

Citizenship and the Boundaries of the Constitution

Citizenship and the Boundaries of the Constitution

Author(s): Kim Rubenstein

Citizenship is a prime site for comparison between different constitutional systems, for the idea of citizenship, and the ideals it is taken to represent, go to the heart of how states are constituted and defined. Who is governed by the constitution? What are the boundaries of the constitution? The definition of the class of 'citizens' of a state and the identification of their rights, privileges and responsibilities is one way to answer these questions, and is a core function of national constitutions and a central concern of public law. In this chapter, we consider several written constitutions and attempt to convey some of the diversity in constitutional approaches to this fundamental and universal project for nation states.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL, CLAH

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

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