Welcome to the October edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. Remember, if you have an AUSPUBLAW opportunity, conference or significant public lecture that you would like included in this roundup, please contact us at auspublaw@unsw.edu.au.

Mason Conversation

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and UNSW Law

Date: 4 October 2016

Time: 6:15–7:30pm

Location: Law Theatre, UNSW Law School

The Inaugural Mason Conversation will feature a dialogue between Sir Anthony Mason, Professor George Williams and audience members. Sir Anthony will discuss present trends and future challenges for Australian law and government, and reflect on influences and milestones in his long career as barrister, judge and public figure.

The series is named in honour of Sir Anthony and his outstanding generosity and contribution over decades to the University of New South Wales, and in particular to UNSW Law and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law community.

For more information, see the website.

The Public Interest Law Careers Guide Launch

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and Progressive Law Network

Date: 5 October 2016

Time: 6:00–7:00pm

Location: Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Are you a law student or lawyer wondering what lies beyond the corporate law path? Are you interested in public interest law?

The Progressive Law Careers Guide is an online resource, and this free launch will be interactive, with the chance for you to hear from a panel of young professionals working in areas such as human rights and government.

There are many opportunities for lawyers in non-profit organisations, statutory bodies and government in Victoria but it is often hard to find out what they are. This new guide will present dozens of organisations for you to consider, plus testimonials from people who’ve made a career in public interest law work.

The Guide aims to educate students and professionals about the Public Interest Law sector and provide much needed information on how best to pursue a public interest career. The Guide is also a useful resource for secondary school careers counsellors.

For more information, see the website.

Conference: Global Histories of Refugees in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Melbourne University Law School

Date: 6 – 8 October 2016

Location: Melbourne Law School

The plight of refugees has become the global issue of our times. The United Nations has estimated that over 65 million people worldwide are displaced as a result of conflict and persecution, the highest number since the 1990s. In most recent events, an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in 2011.

Throughout the twentieth century and now into the early decades of the twenty-first century, involuntary displacement of peoples has become a defining feature of the modern era. This 3-day international conference seeks to explore all aspects of the history of the past and present plight of refugees.

For more information, see the website.

Recent Developments in Aboriginal Title Law in Canada: Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia (2014 SCC 44) and its Impacts

Professor Kent McNeil

Date: 6 October 2016

Time: 12:00–1:00pm

Location: Supreme Court Library, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, Brisbane

In June, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a declaration of Aboriginal title to land for the first time in Canadian history. The judgment clarified a number of issues, including what is necessary to prove Aboriginal title, whether it is site-specific or territorial, the content of Aboriginal title and of the Crown’s underlying title, and the extent of provincial authority in relation to Aboriginal title land. But the decision also left a number of issues unresolved, in particular the relevance of Indigenous law to Aboriginal title and the continuing governance authority of Indigenous peoples. The decision will also affect land claims negotiations in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada, though it is still too early to assess the extent of this impact.

For more information, see the website.

2016 The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law / King & Wood Mallesons Annual Lecture

‘Peering Through the Human Rights-tinted Glasses’

Edward Santow

Date: 7 October 2016

Time: 1:00–2:00pm

Location: The Village Roadshow Theatrette, The State Library, Melbourne

What role should international human rights law play in addressing Australia’s most difficult social questions? Does human rights law provide a comprehensive answer to those questions, or does it provide a way to arrive at that answer? This speech will consider these questions by reference to some pressing issues, such as the proposal for marriage equality, the treatment of people in detention and the debate on free speech.

For more information and to register (free), visit the website.

10th Annual Whitmore Lecture

‘Judicial Review and the Shifting Sands of Legal Unreasonableness’

Delivered by the Hon Justice Margaret Beazley AO, President, NSW Court of Appeal

Council of Australian Tribunals

Date: 12 October 2016

Time: 6:00–7:30pm

Location: Federal Court of Australia, Law Courts Building, Queens Square, Sydney

For more information and to book tickets, see the website.


2016 Federal Election – What Happened to the Senate?

William Bowe

2016 Lecture Series

The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia and the Electoral Regulation Research Network

Date: 13 October 2016

Time: 6:00pm–7:15pm

Location: The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia, Western Perth

An analysis of how recent changes to the voting system impact on the current and future makeup of Australia’s Senate by Election Analysist and Editor of The Poll Bludger, William Bowe.

For more information, see the website.

Julius Stone Address 2016: Professor Joseph Raz

‘The Democracy Deficit’

Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence

Date: 13 October 2016

Time: 6:00pm–7:30pm

Location: University of Sydney, Sydney

Is the authority and legitimacy of international organisation threatened or undermined by a democratic deficit, and what, if anything, can be done about it? In his lecture, Professor Raz will include observations about the reasons for the success and for the moral legitimacy of democratic decision-making in states, and their possible role in international bodies.

For more information and to register, see the website.

Seminar: Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals: Tricks and Traps for Users

Professor Matthew Groves and Ms Rieteke Chenoweth

Australian Institute of Administrative Law

Date: 13 October 2016

Time: 12:30pm

Location: Ground Floor, 4 National Circuit, Barton ACT

When does fairness require reliance on an interpreter in courts and tribunals? In what circumstances will use of an interpreter lead to legal error? When an interpreter is involved, how best can those involved obtain value from the interpretation process? What skills are required?

These and other issues will be the subject the seminar to discuss the law relating to use of interpreters in courts and tribunals.

For more information, see the website.

Legitimacy and the State Conference

Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence

Date: 14–15 October 2016

Time: Friday 8:30am–6:00pm; Saturday 9:00am–5:30pm

Location: University of Sydney, Sydney

Traditionally, legitimacy has been associated exclusively with states. But are states actually legitimate? And why should questions of legitimacy be about only them?

This Julius Stone Institute of Jurisprudence conference focuses on these two questions. It will examine both critiques and defences of the legitimacy of the state, and will consider assumptions about the nature of authority that inform the usual focus of discussions of legitimacy on the state. Finally, the conference will enquire into the legitimacy of supranational institutions and law beyond the state.

For more information, see the website.

Open State

10 Days of Collaboration, Innovation, Ideas & Enterprise

Date: 18-27 October 2016

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Open State is a 10-day program of events exploring how open and transparent decision-making and engagement can address the complex challenges of the future. It involves a number of conferences as well as talks and forums.

For more information on events and speakers, see the website.

Seminar: Application of Admin Law Principles to Technology Assisted Decision-Making

Katie Miller

Australian Institute of Administrative Law

Date: 19 October 2016

Time: 6:00–7:00pm

Location: Australian Government Solicitors, Level 21, 200 Queen Street Melbourne

Katie Miller was recently appointed Executive Director, Legal Practice at Victoria Legal Aid and is the immediate past President of the Law Institute of Victoria where she encouraged lawyers to adapt to change and digital disruption through innovation and greater use of technology.

Katie will discuss the application of administrative law principles to technology assisted decision-making. Technology assisted decision-making will make a difference to administrative decision-making – but will that difference be positive or negative and whose interests does it serve?

For more information and to book, see the website.

Celebrating 100 Years of the Solicitor General

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Date: 24 October 2016

Time: 6:00pm–7:30pm

Location: Banco Court, Level 13, Law Courts Building, Queens Square, Sydney

In 1916 the Solicitor-General Act was passed and an official office of Solicitor-General was created. Decades later the Commonwealth Solicitor-General evolved into what we recognise as the modern office: independent statutory counsel for the Commonwealth. This event celebrates 100 years since the passage of the 1916 Act.

Opening remarks will be given by Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE QC, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and Commonwealth Solicitor-General, 1964-1969. A panel of the former Commonwealth Solicitors-General will discuss and debate the history, legal position and practice of the office.

The panel will be chaired by Dr Gabrielle Appleby, Associate Professor UNSW Law, Co-Director of the Judiciary Project, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law.

For more information, see the website.

Selden Society 2016 Lecture Series

Lecture 5: Justices of the US Supreme Court – Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

The Hon Justice Margaret McMurdo AC

Date: 27 October 2016

Time: 5:15pm–7:00pm

Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of Queensland, Brisbane 

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman to be appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Throughout her long and distinguished legal career she has borne witness to changing attitudes and opportunities for women in the law. Justice O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006. She was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

As the first woman appointed as presiding judge of an Australian appellate court, the Hon Justice Margaret McMurdo AC explores Sandra Day O’Connor’s influence on generations of women lawyers and judicial officers, in the United States and Australia.

For more information, see the website.

Nineteenth Geoffrey Sawyer Lecture

‘Appellate Decision Making: Based on Evidence, Judicial Notice, Or …?’

The Hon Dr Annabelle Bennett AO SC

Centre for International & Public Law, ANU

Date: 27 October 2016

Time: 6:00–7:30pm

Location: Finkel Lecture Theatre, Australian National University

What do appellate courts do when faced with an argument or an issue not raised below? What do appellate courts do when they want to, or are asked to, come to a conclusion as to which there is no evidence? The principles seem clear but are they practised? Do courts confine themselves to issues raised or not raised by the parties? Where do popularly held views, or personal specialised knowledge, fit in?

 For more information, see the website.

Public Law Weekend 2016

Centre for International & Public Law

Australian National University

Date: 28 October 2016

Time: 9:00am–5:00pm

Location: National Museum of Australia, Canberra

This leading administrative law conference will be held at the National Museum of Australia on Friday, 28 October 2016. The Public Law Weekend, run by the Centre for International and Public Law, is one of Australia’s preeminent public law conferences.

The program this year will focus on a range of current and important administrative law issues and developments. The program features distinguished administrative law jurists, commentators and practitioners.

For more information, see the website.

Seminar: In Conversation with Chief Justice French

An Event to Commemorate the Retirement of the Chief Justice

Melbourne University

Date: 14 November 2016

Time: 6:00–7:00pm

Location: Melbourne University Law School

A Conversation with the Hon Chief Justice French AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, moderated by Professor Carolyn Evans, Dean and Harrison Moore Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School.

For more information, see the website.

Book Launch: The Law of Deliberative Democracy

Ron Levy and Graeme Orr

Date: 15 November 2016

Location: Queensland Supreme Court Library, Brisbane.

The Hon Justice Peter Applegarth will launch The Law of Deliberative Democracy, by Ron Levy and Graeme Orr.

For more information contact events@law.uq.edu.au.

The Jim Carlton Memorial Lecture

‘Integrity in Public Life’

The Hon Peter Baume AC

Date: 16 November 2016

Time: 6:30–8:00pm

Location: The David P Derham Lecture Theatre, Melbourne Law School

Accountability: Do programs work? (and how can we find out?) OR ‘Through a glass darkly…’ is jointly hosted by the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies (CCCS) at Melbourne Law School and Accountability Round Table (ART).

The speaker for the event is The Hon. Peter Baume, AC. The event will be chaired by Professor Adrienne Stone

For more information and to book tickets, see the website.

Seminar: Lifting the Veil – The Role and Ethics of the Government Lawyer

Associate Professor Gabrielle Appleby, UNSW

Date: 17 November 2016

Time: 1:00pm

Location: University of Tasmania, Faculty of Law Staff Common Room

If you look behind the veil of government you will find an impressive team of hardworking lawyers. And yet the role of government lawyers in Australia is under-theorised and under-studied. This paper considers the unique ethical challenges of the government lawyer in the distinct but interrelated roles of advocate and adviser. It will also draw from over 45 government and judicial officials to consider the ethical practice of government lawyers.

For more information, see the website.

Kaldor Centre Annual Conference 2016

‘From Refugee Emergency to Protracted Exile: The Role of “Time” in International Protection’

Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

Date: 18 November 2016

Time: 9:00am–5:30pm

Location: The University of New South Wales, Sydney

The Kaldor Centre Annual Conference brings together academics, practitioners and policymakers to discuss key challenges in international refugee law. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘From refugee emergency to protracted exile: The role of “time” in international protection’. The conference will explore various aspects of refugee protection through the lens of time. What are the implications of delay and expedited procedures for refugee status determination? How does the law shape refugees’ experience of time? Do we need to rethink the notions of ‘crisis’, ‘emergency’ and ‘development’ in refugee responses?

For more information, see the website.

International and Comparative Law Colloquium 2016

‘Legal Transplants in the 21st Century’

USQ School of Law and Justice

Dates: 24–25 November 2016

Times: Thursday 8:30am–5:00pm; Friday 9:00am–1:00pm

Location: USQ Toowoomba

The Colloquium aims to address the transplant and development of a human rights culture, and the reception of international and foreign law, in common law systems. The Colloquium is currently seeking submissions for individual or panel abstracts for consideration by 14 September 2016.

For more information, see the website.

Conference: New Ways Forward

‘Reform and Renewal in Constitutional Interpretation and Legal Education’

A Conference in Honour of Professor Michael Coper

ANU College of Law

Dates: 2 December 2016

Times: 9:00am–7:00pm

Location: University House, ANU

Michael Coper has had a distinguished career as a constitutional lawyer and educationalist, from influencing a dramatic change in the law on section 92 of the Constitution, to conceiving the pioneeringOxford Companion to the High Court of Australia, to urging law schools, nationally and internationally, to embrace a pervasive ethos of law reform, social justice and public service.

In the year of his 70th birthday, the ANU College of Law is celebrating Michael’s career by holding a conference with the general theme of reform and renewal in constitutional interpretation and legal education, using as a launch pad select aspects of Michael’s contributions in these areas. Over 20 eminent speakers will range over new and different ways of thinking about and doing law and legal education, from the vagaries of legal doctrine, to the realities of the judicial process, to the insights we can draw from biography and imagery, to the purposes and values that underpin the role of law schools.

For more information, see the website.

Save the Date: Final Courts Roundup

The Comparative Law Project, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and the Australian Association of Constitutional Law (NSW Branch)

Date: 11 December 2016

Public Law in the Classroom 2017

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

Date: 16 February 2016

Time: 10:30am–4:00pm

Location: University of New South Wales, Sydney

The day will be presented in three sessions, with plenty of time for discussion and sharing of practice in each. The first session will examine the way in which public law theories and values shape our teaching. The second session will showcase cutting edge teaching practices, techniques, and technologies, as well as research into public law teaching and is currently open for abstracts. The final session will be a panel discussion on the possibilities and challenges presented by the research-teaching nexus in public law.

The workshop is now calling for abstracts until 30 September 2016. For more information, see the website.

2017 George Winterton Memorial Lecture

‘Sir Owen Dixon Today’

Professor William Gummow AC QC

Sydney Law School

Date: 16 February 2017

Time: 6:30pm–7:45pm

Location: Banco Court, Supreme Court of NSW, Sydney

More than half a century since his retirement and nearly 90 years since he joined the High Court, Sir Owen Dixon remains at the forefront of the judicial pantheon. Yet in the period following his death in 1972 some law teachers and even judges tended, to his detriment, to associate with Dixon the epithet “legalism”; this was seen to cloak undisclosed “policy choices” and, at best, as a crippling formalism. But even a cursory reading of decisions over the last 20 years reveals continued recourse to his judgments.

This paper seeks to indicate how Dixon’s reputation was acquired and the characteristics of his thought and work which today sustain much of that reputation.

For more information, see the website.

Save the Date: 2017 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Date: 17 February 2017

Location: Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney and NSW Parliament House.

20th Commonwealth Law Conference

‘Thriving in a Global World: Building on the Rule of Law’

Commonwealth Lawyers Association

Dates: 20–24 March 2017

Location: Melbourne

The theme of the 2017 conference, “Thriving in a global world: building on the rule of law” presents a unique canvass to consider legal issues in our globalised world that both innovate and challenge lawyers practicing today.

The conference sessions will focus on current trends in Corporate & Commercial law; the legal profession; the rule of law, and other contemporary legal topics. It is the ideal venue to meet and discuss with professional colleagues topics relevant to your professional area of interest.

For more information, see the website.


Save the Date: Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference of the Transnational, International and Comparative Law and Policy Network

‘The Law and Politics of Control and Power’

Transnational, International and Comparative Law and Policy Network

Date: 26–27 May 2017

Location: Bond University, Gold Coast

A ‘call for abstracts’ will be released in December 2016 and will be due by 20 March 2017. Selected papers will be invited to submit to a special issue of the Bond Law Review, a peer-reviewed journal.

For more information, see the website.

International Association of Genocide Scholars Conference 2017

‘Justice and the Prevention of Genocide’

TC Bernie School of Law and the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Dates: 9–13 July 2017

Location: University of Queensland, Brisbane 

Nearly seven decades after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the hopes embedded in that document remain largely unfulfilled. The theme of the 2017 IAGS conference revisits the two core components of the Convention: justice for acts of genocide and prevention of future genocides.

Submissions exploring any topic related to the study of genocide are welcome, and submissions on the following themes are particularly encouraged:

  • Application of international and domestic law for justice, accountability and prevention
  • Theories and methods of prevention of genocide and mass atrocities
  • Indigenous experiences of and responses to genocide, in particular Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
  • Cases of genocidal violence in the Asia Pacific region
  • Sexual and gender-based violence
  • Genocide and disability
  • Justice and prevention in the context of refugees of genocide
  • Representations of genocide in culture, art and museum studies
  • Genocide education
  • Genocide and human rights
  • Intersections between genocide studies and peace studies

Submissions are due 15 December 2016. For more information, see the website.