Welcome to the October 2015 edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. The Events Roundup is divided into two sections. The first provides information on public law events happening in the next two months. The second provides a list of more distant events.

Remember, if you have a conference or significant public lecture that you would like included in this roundup, please contact us at auspublaw@unsw.edu.au.

Gabrielle Appleby

AUSPUBLAW Blog Coordinator


Public Law Events: October-November 2015


8 October 2015: 21st Lucinda Lecture: ‘Of lions and squeaking mice in anxious times’

Monash University Law School

Emeritus Professor H P Lee presents ‘Of lions and squeaking mice in anxious times’: From time to time most countries will encounter threats to the security of the state polity, ranging from a wartime situation to the contemporary terror threats. Extraordinary legislation is often resorted to as a means of protecting public safety. Such legislation inevitably draws the courts into the spotlight. Perilous times present the courts with a dilemma. This lecture seeks to canvass that dilemma and the lessons that can be learnt from past judicial experience in Australia and some selected jurisdictions.

Further information can be found on the website.


14 October 2015: Law Oration 2015: Australian Federal Democracy

Victorian Law Foundation and Melbourne Law School

The 2015 Law Oration will be delivered by Laureate Professor Emeritus Cheryl Saunders AO, Director of Studies in Government Law and Co-Director of Studies in Public and International Law at the University of Melbourne, on the topic of ‘Australian Federal Democracy’. The Constitution creates Australia as a federal democracy. The framers of the Constitution had a vision of what that meant, by the standards of their time. More than 100 years later, both federalism and democracy are under strain in Australia, in a variety of interconnected ways. This Oration explores the potential of the compound concept of federal democracy, revitalised for the conditions of the 21st century, as the lens through which problems might be analysed and solutions devised, within the framework of the current Constitution. In doing so, it draws on approaches to the design and operation of federal democratic systems in other comparable countries as a source of insight for Australia.

Further information can be found on the website.


18 November 2015: Public Lecture: The High Court of Australia and the First World War

Constitutional Centre of Western Australia and Australian Association of Constitutional Law

Professor John Williams (University of Adelaide) presents The High Court of Australia and the First World War. The First World War was a defining moment in the history of Australia and also in the lives of those who were affected, both at home and at the front.  The High Court of Australia adjudicated on many critical moments in the prosecution of the war.  Individual judges, like other parents, dealt with the tradegy and loss of that terrible conflict.

Further information can be found on the website.


20 November 2015, Kaldor Centre Annual Conference

Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW

Theme: Protection Elsewhere, But Where? National, Regional and Global Perspectives on Refugee Law

The keynote speaker will be Erika Feller, former Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at UNHCR and currently a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

For further information visit the website. 


Future Public Law Events


Hold the date: 10 December 2015, Final Courts Roundup

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW

This annual seminar is hosted by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, Comparative Constitutional Law Project and the Australian Association of Constitutional Law (NSW Chapter). The seminar provides an outline of recent constitutional developments in several overseas jurisdictions that are of key interest to Australian constitutional lawyers. This year’s panellists are Dr Jason Varuhas (UNSW): UK and New Zealand; Associate Professor Mila Versteeg: (University of Virginia): European Union; Professor Jacob Gersen (Harvard University): USA.


11 February 2016: Public Law in the Classroom Workshop

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW Law, and the Public Law and Policy Research Unit, University of Adelaide

This annual event about public law teaching practice and research will feature a keynote and panel discussion on The Politics of Teaching Public Law, a session on tools and techniques in the public law classroom and a final session on Critical Thinking Through Theory and Re-reading. For further information, please see the flyer or visit the website.


Hold the Date: 12 February 2016: 2016 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW Law

Annual conference on constitutional law looking at decisions of the High Court, Federal and State courts.


14-15 April 2016: The National Law Reform Conference

Australian National University

The National Law Reform Conference will be a forum for research about future directions in six key areas of law in society, including public (constitutional law, Indigenous constitutional issues, governance, administrative law).

For further information, visit the website.


19-20 May 2016: Symposium on Quasi-constitutionality and Constitutional Statutes

New Zealand Centre for Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington, the International Society of Public Law (ICON·S) and Boston College Law School

It is now uncontroversial to state that, even in countries with a master-text constitution, what counts as fundamental law cannot be reduced to a single canonical document. Constitutional conventions, international obligations, and constitutional jurisprudence are frequently, and indeed correctly, considered part of a country’s constitution. Increasingly, judges and scholars alike attribute to “ordinary” laws what may be identified as a quasi-constitutional status. Reference is commonly made to superstatutes, to statutes with constitutional significance, and even to “constitutional” statutes. This symposium will convene scholars engaged in the comparative study of quasi-constitutionality. Subjects of inquiry may include quasi-entrenchment, quasi-constitutional rights, transitions to and from quasi-constitutional status or any issue examining the conceptual space between ordinary law and formal constitutionality.

For further information, visit the website.


12-14 September 2016: Cambridge Public Law Conference

University of Cambridge Centre for Public Law

Theme: ‘The Unity of Public Law?’

From 12 to 14 September 2016, the Centre for Public Law at the University of Cambridge will hold the second in a series of biennial international Public Law Conferences. Under the theme “The Unity of Public Law?” the conference will examine — through comparative, doctrinal, institutional and theoretical lenses — whether Public Law can or ought to be conceived of as a unified discipline. Keynote speakers include The Rt Hon Lord Reed (Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom), The Hon Robert French (Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia) and The Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias (Chief Justice of New Zealand). Registration for the conference is now open and a call for papers has been issued. Further information about the conference can be found on the website.