Welcome to the March 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.

JSI Seminar Series: Strong Popular Sovereignty and Constitutional Legitimacy

Julius Stone Institute

Date: 8 March 2018

Time: 6pm

Location: Sydney University, New Law Building

Recent critiques of attempts to ground constitutional legitimacy in the constituent power of a strong popular sovereign have tended to focus upon the tension between strong popular sovereignty and central assumptions of liberal constitutionalism. Foremost among these assumptions are the need to reconcile disagreement regarding controversial matters of common concern and the value of the rule of law. The weakness of such critiques, however, is that they presuppose a commitment to liberal principles and values that an advocate of strong popular sovereignty need not share. In this paper, Associate Professor George Duke argues that recourse to liberal assumptions is unnecessary in order to demonstrate the inability of a theory of strong popular sovereignty to issue in a viable account of constitutional legitimacy. Theories of constitutional legitimacy grounded in strong popular sovereignty and constituent power, Duke contends, simply lack the basic resources for an adequate theory of constitutional legitimacy because they do not offer normative grounds for an assessment of whether any particular constitution is or is not legitimate. The paper is structured in three sections. Section 1 demonstrates that Carl Schmitt’s theory of constitutional legitimacy – which remains the primary source of contemporary appeals to strong popular sovereignty and constituent power – sustains a normative interpretation. Section 2 then develops a minimal constraint on an adequate normative theory of constitutional legitimacy. Finally, in section 3, Duke demonstrates why a normative account of constitutional legitimacy based on strong popular sovereignty and constituent power is, at least without supplementation from normative concepts derived from a weaker conception of popular sovereignty, unable to meet this constraint.

To register, please see the website.

The Uluru Statement: Towards Truth and Justice

University of Western Australia

Date: 12 March 2018

Time: 6pm

Location: UWA, Fox Lecture Theatre

For over a decade, Australians have been debating whether and how to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within Australia’s constitutional system. One of the most important moments in that debate occurred in May 2017, when hundreds of First Nations delegates gathered at a First Nations Constitutional Convention in Uluru to deliver the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Through the Uluru Statement, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples offered a clear and powerful vision of constitutional recognition, calling for voice, treaty and truth-telling.

Professor Megan Davis has been an influential figure in discussions over Indigenous constitutional recognition. As a member of the Federal Government’s Referendum Council, she played a pivotal role in the process that led to the Uluru Statement. In this lecture, Professor Davis will reflect on a decade of debates over constitutional recognition and examine the centrality of truth and justice to Indigenous aspirations for constitutional reform.

High Court Judges and Political Loyalties

Centre for International and Public Law

Date: 14 March 2018

Time: 3pm

Location: ANU Staff Library.

What are judicial loyalties, and how do they condition the exercise of judicial power? This paper explores the informal dimension of judicial politics and its implications for our understanding of judicial power in weakly institutionalized democracies.

It explores how loyalty commitments influence judicial behavior, particularly in cases of political importance, and reflects on the complex relationship between the presence and pervasiveness of informal connections between judges and politicians and the rise of judicial power, especially in Latin America.

The paper also discusses the research strategy employed to investigate these issues in Venezuela, across different types of regime, with special attention to the Supreme Court during the late democratic period (1989-1998), and after the onset of Chavismo (post-1999). Finally, the paper ponders the challenges associated with exploring informal judicial dynamics in comparative perspective.

Details here.

The Federal Court and the Constitution

Australian Academy of Law, The Australian Association of Constitutional Law and the Centre for International and Public Law

Date: 15 March 2018

Time: 5:30pm

Location: University House, ANU.

At its inception, the role of the Federal Court in the development of constitutional law was not entirely clear, nor was its relationship to other courts such as the High Court and the State Supreme Courts.

Forty years on, the Federal Court has come to play a significant role, as explained in a joint paper by Federal Court Justice John Griffiths and ANU Law Professor James Stellios. Justice Griffiths presented the paper at a conference in Sydney last year to mark the 40th anniversary of the Federal Court, and this evening Professor Stellios will present it in Canberra under the auspices of the Australian Academy of Law.

Commenting on the paper will be former High Court and Federal Court Justice Professor William Gummow AC.

Register here.

Interpreting UNDRIP—Theoretical Dimensions

University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law

Date: 15 March 2018

Time: 1pm

Location: Level 3, TC Beirne School of Law

In this paper, Professor Dwight Newman considers the implications of theory on legal interpretation as it has the potential to bear on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The project arises in the context of increasing calls to implement into the domestic law of various states aspects of or the entirety of UNDRIP through legislative and/or judicial means.  UNDRIP is not a treaty, so standard principles of treaty interpretation do not necessarily apply to it.  However, to the extent that it is an international instrument subject to potential domestic implementation, it has characteristics of a legal text, albeit one situated within some particularly unique cross-cultural dimensions.  This paper considers some more general legal theory arguments on the place of text, context, intent, and purpose as they might be applied within this distinctive setting, relating them briefly to particular examples from the UNDRIP articles on land rights, consultation/consent to natural resource projects, and Indigenous religious freedom.

Details available here.

‘New Citizenship’ Conference: Law, Legal Status and Belonging in the 21st Century

Sydney Law School, the Constitutional Reform Unit & Sydney Centre for International Law

Dates: 15-16 March 2018

Location: Sydney Law School

Laws and policies governing citizenship and nationality are undergoing dramatic challenges and changes in Australia and around the world. This conference will explore these developments, with interdisciplinary perspectives on: new citizenship deprivation regimes; changes to naturalization tests and eligibility; evolution of dual citizenship and entitlements of dual citizens; changes to immigration laws affecting access to citizenship; the impact of international law on national citizenship laws, and many more.

For more information, see the website.

George Winterton Memorial Lecture

University of Western Australia

Date: 26 March 2018

Time: 6pm

Location: Court 42, Supreme Court of Western Australia, David Malcolm Justice Centre, Level 14, 28 Barrack Street, Perth

Supported by Corrs Chambers Westgarth, the 2018 George Winterton Memorial Lecture, titled ‘Constitutional Interpretation’, will be delivered by The Hon. Justice James Edelman and will consider the nature and theory of constitutional interpretation and how the Constitution should be construed. For more information please see the website.

An Australian Bill of Rights

Amnesty—ANU Law 2018 Speaker Series

Dates: 18 April 2018

Time: 7pm

Location: QT Canberra, 1 London Circuit, Canberra

Former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Gillian Triggs will examine the state of play of human rights in Australia and revisit the case for an Australian Bill of Rights.

Gillian was the driving force behind the AHRC’s inquiry into children in immigration detention, and during her tenure as AHRC President, she witnessed major challenges to the protection of human rights in Australia. She is also an expert in international law and a passionate advocate for the rights of asylum seekers and indigenous Australians.

Register now for this rare opportunity to hear one of Australia’s leading human rights experts set out what must be done to strengthen human rights protections in Australia.

This is a free event as part of the Amnesty-ANU Law 2018 Speaker Series.

Experiences of the Referendum Council on Constitutional Reform (TBC)

University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law

Dates: 20 April 2018

Time: 1pm

Location: Level 2, TC Beirne School of Law

Details are still to be confirmed. Please see the website.

IACL World Congress 2018‘Violent Conflicts, Peace-Building and Constitutional Law’

Dates: 18-22 June 2018

Location: Seoul

This will be the tenth World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law (‘IACL’). The theme of the World Congress is ‘Violent Conflicts, Peace-Building and Constitutional Law’.

The Congress is the major 4-yearly event organised by the IACL and includes several plenary keynote sessions as well as many workshops. The Congresses bring together constitutional lawyers, scholars and judges from across the world and are a wonderful opportunity to expand one’s own knowledge of constitutional law, make connections across borders and present one’s work in a constructive and interested environment.

Those interested are encouraged to consider attending the Congress and submitting a paper to one of the workshops (the deadline is end of March 2018).

If you are considering attending, have any questions or want to discuss your ideas for proposed papers or workshops, please feel free to contact Elisa Arcioni (elisa.arcioni@sydney.edu.au) or Professor Adrienne Stone (Vice President of the IACL): a.stone@unimelb.edu.au. The AACL can provide a letter noting the significance of the Congress if that would assist in any applications for funding and if there is sufficient interest, we will arrange a social gathering for the Australian constitutional lawyers who attend the Congress.

For more information, see the website.

2018 ICON-S (International Society of Public Law) Conference

Dates: 25-27 June 2018

Location: Hong Kong

The overarching theme of the Conference will be ‘Identity, Security, Democracy: Challenges for Public Law.’ It will feature addresses by esteemed lawyers including the Hon Geoffrey Ma, Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, and the Right Hon Lord Neuberger, former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The conference will convene panels, featuring distinguished academics and practitioners, on the topics of Diversity, Identity and Human Rights, Courts and Democratisation, and Technology and Public Law. Professor Rosalind Dixon will deliver closing remarks.

For more information, see the website.

Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Annual Conference

Bond University

Dates: 6-8 July 2018

Location: Bond University, Gold Coast

The 2018 Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Conference will be held at Bond University on the Gold Coast from 6-8 July.  Professor John Gardner will deliver the opening keynote.

The annual book symposium will focus on Professor Margaret Davies’s recent book, Law Unlimited, with commentary from Associate Professor Ben Golder (UNSW), Dr Honni van Rijswijk (UTS) and Professor William MacNeil (SCU).

Abstracts for both the ASLP Conference and the Postgraduate Workshop should be emailed to Professor Jonathan Crowe (ASLP President) by Friday 27 April. Abstracts should be approximately 100 words in length.

For more information, see the website.

Third Biennial Public Law Conference

Melbourne Law School

Dates: 11-13 July 2018

Location: Melbourne Law School

The Public Law Conference series is the pre-eminent regular forum for the discussion of public law matters in the common law world. Melbourne Law School will host the Third Biennial Public Law Conference, co-organised by the University of Melbourne and the University of Cambridge.

The 2018 conference, co-convened by Mark Elliott (Cambridge) and Jason Varuhas (Melbourne), will feature approximately 70 speakers from across the common law world, and bring together over 300 delegates to discuss the most important issues in public law today. The convenors have confirmed the participation of a number of leading judges and scholars from common law jurisdictions. The full list of confirmed speakers can be found here.

The theme of the conference is ‘The Frontiers of Public Law’. The theme is intended to invite engagement with a range of questions concerning both boundaries within public law and the boundaries of public law. Among the questions that fall within the theme are ones concerning the relationship between and the respective boundaries of public and private law; the distinction between domestic and international law, and public law’s response to it; the notions of global administrative and constitutional law and their relationship with domestic systems of public law; the boundary between law and politics viewed from a public law perspective; and the scope of application of public law norms. A fuller description of the conference theme can be found here.

For more information, see the website.

World Congress of Political Science

‘Borders and Margins’

Dates: 21-26 July 2018

Location: Brisbane

The post-Cold War acceleration of globalization and the multi-layered consequences of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have had profound effects on borders. These borders create margins, through which administrative and military bureaucracies, NGOs, activists, and more-or-less organized criminals and terrorists operate, empirically and conceptually. The evolution of information technologies has transformed the traditional ‘border as a barrier’ by enclosing people into groups with common identities and interests, dispersed throughout the globe but virtually connected.

For more information, see the website.

Constitutional Law – “Who is Afraid of Proportionality?”

University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law

Date: 9 August 2018

Location: TC Beirne School of Law

The Australian High Court in McCloy v NSW adopted ‘structured proportionality analysis’ as part of Australian constitutional law and, in doing so, it appears to have brought Australian constitutional law at least somewhat more into alignment with global constitutional thinking. Almost immediately, however, the move has attracted controversy both within the Court and with external detractors of proportionality who regard it as ill-suited to the Australian constitutional context. This paper will examine the nature of proportionality, having regard to its roots in Europe and its migration through the rest of the world. Although taking the critiques of proportionality seriously, it will seek to show that proportionality is an acceptable method of analysis in Australian constitutional law. However, it will be argued that proportionality poses some challenges for the courts and for the rule of law that require careful navigation.

For more information, see the website.

Long Live Democracy?

The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences, Oxford Internet Institute

Dates: 20-21 September 2018

Location: University of Oxford

This conference is about questioning the theses of democratic renewal – and democratic decay – in a digital world. We are looking for rigorous research to understand the role of digital platforms in democratic processes and the development of institutional arrangements that ensure that democratic systems remain free, fair and open. Current democratic and government structures are in urgent need of institutional renewal if they are to survive in the 21st century. But we also remain optimistic that harnessing the potential of internet-mediated technologies can help build a new and better democracy. Hence we seek to place critical attention on the potential role of internet mediated activity in undermining core aspects of democracy; yet also call for positive, optimistic contributions which highlight the many ways in which the internet has allowed existing democracies to grow and change.

Papers due 12 March 2018.

For more information, see the website.

2018 National Administrative Law Conference: Administrative Law in the 21st Century and Beyond

Australian Institute of Administrative Law

Dates: 27-28 September 2018

Location: University of New South Wales, Sydney

The overarching theme for the 2018 AIAL National Administrative Law Conference will be ‘Administrative Law in the 21st Century and Beyond’. This invites consideration of a range of current and future-focussed issues. We seek papers that explore both emerging issues and new ways of looking at ‘old problems’. We particularly note the following relevant subthemes:

– the impact of technology on administrative decision making and review;

– judicial review and challenges to major executive policy;

– international/global administrative law, including both the impact on domestic law and Australia’s place in the global administrative law order; terrorism and national security and administrative law;

– debates around a national integrity agency;

– Indigenous issues and administrative law, including broader governance issues; and

– the intersection of environment and planning law and administrative law, at both a state and federal level.

The Institute encourages contributions on these Conference subthemes but is also interested in   finding space for those with fresh perspectives or ideas not reflected in the suggested range of topics above.

Please send written proposals for a paper by Friday 6 April 2018 by email to: aial@commercemgt.com.au

For more information, see the website.

Kaldor Centre Annual Conference 2018

Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

Date: 23 November 2018

Location: University of New South Wales

Save the date. More information will be available soon.