Welcome to the June edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup. A big thank you to the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law’s social justice intern, Maximus Jones, for compiling this 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.

Australian Association of Constitutional Law: Changes to Rules and Call for Members

The Australian Association of Constitutional Law was formed in 1998 as a forum for scholars and practitioners of constitutional law throughout Australia. It has some 300 members, drawn from the judiciary, practising solicitors and barristers, academics and now students.

We encourage anyone with an interest in constitutional law to become a member and especially note that, following changes to the AACL Rules, we can now welcome student members.

Details of membership can be found here and the membership form is available here.

Members receive access to the AACL newsletter, which includes: details of the most recent High Court and other Australian court decisions concerning constitutional issues, decisions of a selection of other national superior courts, blog posts, publications and events.

Members are also welcome to propose and attend AACL events. Our activities are a way to build and maintain a strong community of constitutional law scholars, practitioners and students.

The objectives of the AACL are to:

  • develop and promote the discipline of constitutional law in Australia;
  • support teaching, research and the practice of the law which relates to the discipline;
  • provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and information between practitioners, teachers and other interested persons regarding the discipline;
  • increase public awareness and understanding of the discipline; and
  • liaise with other bodies in the promotion of any of the above objects

We welcome any feedback and comments as to how we can continue to meet those objectives. Please feel free to contact the AACL Secretary with any queries: Elisa Arcioni, elisa.arcioni@sydney.edu.au (Associate Professor of Public Law, University of Sydney Law School).

Thinking Creatively, Acting Routinely? Innovation, Design and Experimentation in the Policy Process: Public Lecture by Professor Jenny Lewis

The University of Melbourne

Date: 6 June 2018

Time: 6–7pm

Location: Theatre G08, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria

Governments around the world are turning to new approaches to designing public policy. A few main trends can be observed. The first is an emphasis on innovation in the public sector, which has seen the rise of innovation units and labs. The second is the growth of design approaches to policy, which rely on empathy and creativity rather than rationality and procedures. The third is a renewed focus on behavioural and experimental approaches to policy, including design experiments and ‘nudges’.

This lecture will address the question: is innovation, design thinking and experimentation fundamentally changing public policy-making?

Details and registration are available here.

Australia’s Protection of Human Rights: is a charter of rights a solution? Public Lecture by Professor Gillian Triggs

The University of Melbourne

Date: 6 June 2018

Time: 6–7pm

Location: Forum Theatre, Arts West, University of Melbourne, 148 Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria

While historically a good international citizen, Australia has failed over recent years to protect fundamental freedoms or to comply with its international human rights obligations. Australians no longer speak the language of human rights as we have become isolated from the human rights laws and jurisprudence of comparable nations. In this regressive environment, we have been unable to agree upon indigenous recognition, the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders imprisoned are unprecedented; we continue to detain without charge or trial hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees offshore; we hold indefinitely those unfit to stand trial; domestic violence, homelessness and elder abuse remain serious social problems.

Unlike every other democracy and common law country in the world, Australia has no Bill or Charter of Rights. Australia now needs a federally legislated Charter of Rights, at minimum, the so-called dialogue model, to provide a benchmark against which laws passed by Parliament and government discretions can be tested for compliance with the common law and our human rights treaties.

Details and registration are available here.

Lecture: Legalism and the Latham High Court in Emergency

Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, University of Melbourne

Date: 7 June 2018

Time: 1–2pm

Location: Room 611, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria

This lecture by Dr Patrick Graham considers the High Court’s treatment of emergency powers cases during the Second World War. It explores the role and meaning of legalism as an adjudicative technique with a particular focus on rulings against the government. It also considers the scope afforded by this style of judicial method – in the adjudication of the executive’s wartime legal powers – to unearth constitutional values.

Details and registration are available here.

Seminar: The authority and interpretation of regulations

Australian National University

Date: 7 June 2018

Time: 1–2pm

Location: ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University, ACT

Over the past 50 years, modern legal systems have increasingly turned to regulations—secondary legislation issued by departments and administrative bodies—to impose obligations on private parties, multiplying the occasions and significance of regulatory interpretation. But regulatory interpretation has received little jurisprudential consideration based on the assumption that statutory interpretation subsumes or identifies all that might be of interest in regulatory interpretation. Regulations, however, require their own interpretive approach. The speaker, Kevin M Stack, will defend a theory of regulatory authority and situate regulatory interpretation within contemporary jurisprudence.

Details and registration are available here.

Book Launch: ‘The Alchemists: Questioning Our Faith in Courts as Democracy-Builders’ by Dr Tom Gerald Daly

Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, University of Melbourne

Date: 7 June 2018

Time: 4:30–6pm

Location: Room 920, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria

Can courts really build democracy in a state emerging from authoritarian rule? This book presents a searching critique of the contemporary global model of democracy building for post-authoritarian states, arguing that it places excessive reliance on courts.

Tom Gerald Daly is an MLS Fellow at Melbourne Law School, Co-Convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network, Associate Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law at Edinburgh Law School, and a consultant on public law, human rights and democracy-building. His research focuses on the connections between law, policy and democratic governance, with a particular focus on young democracies.

Details and registration are available here.

Book Launch: ‘Encounters with Constitutional Interpretation and Legal Education: Essays in Honour of Michael Coper’, edited by James Stellios

Centre for International and Public Law, ANU

Date: 7 June 2018

Time: 5:30–6:30pm

Location: ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University, ACT

What do constitutional interpretation and legal education have in common? For one thing, they share the same tension between theory and practice, between form and substance, between process and outcomes, between constancy and change, and between local and comparative perspectives. Each also has a substratum of fundamental underlying values that demand, but do not always receive, clear articulation. For another thing, they have both been the subject of illuminating examination by Michael Coper over the course of a long and distinguished career.

Authors including Justice Stephen Gageler, the Hon Michael Kirby and Sir Anthony Mason, come together in this book to celebrate Coper’s achievement, and take his various contributions as a jumping off point for their own further scholarly insights. This book also contains a substantial reflective commentary by Michael Coper himself. The Hon Robert French AC will speak at the launch.

Details and registration are available here.

Advancing Equality Law: Public Lectures by Professors Colm O’Cinneide and Susan Sturm

Berkeley Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Study Group

Date: 12 June 2018

Time: 6–8pm

Location: Rooms G08 and 106, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria

This event consists of two lectures. Professor Colm O’Cinneide will present on ‘The Ambition(s) of Equality Law: From Non-discrimination to Transformation’. He will discuss the widening legal construction of anti-discrimination and its increasing recruitment in a project of social transformation, which involves ambitions such as protecting individuals against general patters of unequal treatment, breaking down patters of structural disadvantage, and guaranteeing substantive inequality.

Professor Susan Sturm’s lecture is entitled ‘Addressing Bias in and Through Legal Institutions’. This talk aims to reframe both the goals and the arenas of activity for undertaking structural approaches to bias and embedded inequality, and the role of law in promoting those changes.

Details about both lecture and registration are available here.

IACL World Congress of Constitutional Law 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.

Submission of proposals for papers closed on 30 March. However, registration is still open and those interested are encouraged to consider attending the Congress.

If you are considering attending or have any questions, 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.

Government Lawyers Conference (Vic)

Law Institute of Victoria

Date: 22 June 2018

Location: LIV Lecture Theatre, 470 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria

Victoria’s inaugural Information Commissioner Sven Bluemmel will launch this year’s conference with a keynote presentation discussing how government departments can enable better information sharing while meeting their overarching privacy obligations.

Following this, panellists will discuss key strategies and practical tips for succeeding as a government lawyer. The conference will conclude with an insightful address on ethics for government lawyers by The Honourable Justice Niall, former Solicitor General and current judge of the Court of Appeal.

Details are available here.

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.

A preliminary program for the conference is available here. For more information, see the website.

Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Annual Conference

Bond University

Dates: 6-8 July 2018

Location: Bond University, 14 University Drive, Robina, QLD

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).

For more information, see the website.

Third Biennial Public Law Conference

Melbourne Law School

Dates: 11-13 July 2018

Location: Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria

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 80 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 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.

Registration closes on Friday 29 June 2018.

For more information, see the website.

25th World Congress of Political Science

‘Borders and Margins’

Dates: 21-25 July 2018

Location: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Cnr Merivale & Glenelg Streets, South Bank, Brisbane, Queensland

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.

Sir John Forrest Lecture 2018: State of the Federation Address

The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia

Date: 25 July 2018

Time: 5:45pm

Location: Perth, Western Australia

Details to be confirmed. Check the website for updates.

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, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland

Professor Adrienne Stone, University of Melbourne, is the speaker.

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.

To register online for the seminar, go to CPD/Events at the QLD Bar website.

Property Rights and Human Rights: New Possibilities in an Age of Inequality

Monash University Law Chambers

Dates: 9-10 August 2018

Location: Monash University Law Chambers, Melbourne

The debate on property rights and human rights has renewed relevance as a result of global inequality, mass movements of people, and modern forms of slavery. While the underlying issue remains tensions between the distributional consequences of property and property as a source of freedom from interference, the context has shifted from protection against arbitrary state takings to the emancipatory possibilities (and limitations) of property for people often excluded by the state, including refugees and the internally displaced, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, victims of human trafficking, farmers and forest-dwellers, and households subject to disability or extreme poverty. This conference explores the new possibilities of property rights and human rights in an age of inequality.

Details are available here.

Book Launch: ‘Foundations of Indirect Discrimination Law’ co-edited by Tarun Khaitan and Hugh Collins

Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, University of Melbourne

Date: 23 August 2018

Time: 5–8pm

Location: Room 920, Level 9, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria

This seminar will start with a panel discussion by Professor Beth Gaze, Professor Cordelia Fine, Professor Karen Farquharson, Dr Dale Smith and Associate Professor Tarun Khaitan, chaired by Professor Anna Chapman. It will be followed by a launch by the Hon Justice Michael Kirby of the new book.

Indirect discrimination (or disparate impact) concerns the application of the same rule to everyone, even though that rule significantly disadvantages one particular group in society. Ever since its recognition by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1971, liberal democracies around the world have grappled with the puzzle that it can sometimes be unfair and wrong to treat everyone equally. The law’s regulation of private acts that unintentionally (but disproportionately) harm vulnerable groups has remained extremely controversial, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. In original essays in this volume, leading scholars of discrimination law from North America and Europe explore the various facets of the law on indirect discrimination, interrogating its foundations, history, legitimacy, purpose, structure, and relationship with other legal concepts. The collection provides the first international work devoted to this vital area of the law that seeks both to prevent unfair treatment and to transform societies.

Details here.

WA Schools Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia

Dates: 4-5 September 2018

Location: Perth, Western Australia

Details to be confirmed. Check the website for updates.

Government Lawyers Conference 2018 (Qld)

Queensland Law Society

Date: 14 September 2018

Location: Law Society House, Auditorium, Level 2, 179 Ann Street, Brisbane, Queensland

The key professional development conference in the Queensland calendar for legal professionals in the government, policy and administrative spheres, whether in federal, state or local jurisdictions, or in-house with government owned corporations and universities. Hear from, and network with, experts in their field and fellow colleagues from a range of government departments. The event will close with networking drinks.

Program coming soon. Check the website for details.

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.

For more information or to register 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, Kensington, Sydney, NSW

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.

For more information, see the website.

Public Law Weekend 2018

Centre for International and Public Law, ANU

Date: 2–3 November 2018

Location: Australian Centre on China in the World, 188 Fellows Lane, The Australian National University, ACT

The Public Law Weekend is one of Australia’s pre-eminent public law conferences. This year’s program will focus primarily on administrative law issues and developments.

Confirmed speakers include: the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler, the Hon Justice John Basten, the Hon Justice John Griffiths, the Hon Justice Rachel Pepper, the Hon Justice Janine Pritchard, Gabrielle Appleby, Mark Aronson, Judith Bannister, Will Bateman, Janina Boughey, Lisa Burton Crawford, Matthew Groves, Graeme Hill, Leighton McDonald, Kim Rubenstein, Kristina Stern, Daniel Stewart and Greg Weeks.

Registration for this event will open soon. Check the website for updates.

Happy Anniversary? Reflecting on Marriage Equality

ANU Gender Institute

Date: 12 November 2018

Location: ANU

Coinciding with the first anniversary of the survey announcement in November 2017, this symposium engages with the legacy of the Australian, as well as international, campaigns for marriage equality. It will dive into debates about the value of marriage equality, the nature of marriage equality campaigns, and the value, or not, of public votes on rights-based issues. This symposium focuses on two overlapping streams: Marriage Campaigns and Marriage Debates.

More details available here.

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.

Public Law in the Classroom 2019: A Workshop for Teachers of Australian Public Law

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

Date: 14 February 2019

Location: Law Building, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney, NSW

Save the date. More information will be available soon.

2019 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner

Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Date: 15 February 2019

Location: Art Gallery of New South Wales and Parliament House, Sydney

Save the date. More information will be available soon.