Welcome to the October edition of the AUSPUBLAW Australian Public Law Events Roundup.

We are very excited that from October, the AUSPUBLAW blog will be co-facilitated by the Australian Association of Constitutional Law in partnership with the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW. As part of this transition, watch our new Recent Decisions page, outlining recent key Australian High Court public law decisions, with links to summaries of these decisions. Also included on this page will be any significant international and foreign decisions in constitutional law that we believe will be of interest to our readers.

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. The roundup is published once a month on the first business day of the month, so please let us know in time for that deadline.

UNSW Law Book Forum: ‘The Child’s Right to Development”
UNSW Law and the Australian Human Rights Institute
Date: 1 October 2019
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Level 2 Common Room, UNSW Law Building (F8), Kensington Campus, Sydney NSW

Author: Dr Noam Peleg (UNSW Law)

Chair: Scientia Professor Louise Chappell (UNSW Law)

Commentators:  Professor John Tobin (The University of Melbourne); Dr Faith Gordon (Monash University); Ms Megan Mitchell (National Children’s Commissioner)

This book provides a comprehensive account of how child development and the right to development of children have been understood and utilised in international children’s rights law. The book argues that conceptions of childhood that focus either on children’s future as adults, or on children’s lives in the present, overlook the hybridity of children’s lived experiences. The book therefore suggests a new conception of childhood – namely, ‘hybrid childhood’ – which accommodates respect for children’s agency and human dignity in the present, in the process of growth, and in the outcomes of this process when the child becomes an adult. Consequently, and building on the capability approach’s idea of human development, the book presents a radical new interpretation of the child’s right to development under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It offers a comprehensive interpretation of the right to development, and situates it in the broader context of children’s lives and children’s law.

This event is free of charge, but you are kindly requested to register attendance here.

Burns v Corbett [2018] HCA 15 and the Future of State Administrative Tribunals
Victorian Bar and Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 1 October 2019
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Location: Neil McPhee Room, Level 1 Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne VIC

Chair: Ms Julia Watson, Victorian Bar
Speakers: Mr Mark Costello, Victorian Bar; Associate Professor Luke Beck, Monash University

The High Court’s decision in Burns v Corbett significantly narrowed the jurisdiction of State tribunals. The High Court held that the Australian Constitution precludes a State tribunal, in this case the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal, that is not a ‘court of a State’ from adjudicating disputes involving any of the matters set out in ss 75 and 76 of the Australian Constitution, even when the dispute involves the application of State legislation. The decision affects all areas of law including anti-discrimination disputes, residential tenancy disputes and building and construction disputes.

This seminar will examine the decision in Burns v Corbett and the legislative responses to it in various jurisdictions.

For more information and to register, click here.

2019 Sir George Turner Lecture: Artificial Intelligence – The Implications for the Legal Profession, the Rule of Law and the Adversarial Process
Melbourne Law School
Date: 1 October 2019  
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Woodward Conference Centre, Level 10, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are increasingly employed for decision-making in both public administration and private enterprise. Although a late arrival in law, AI is already used for documentary discovery and document review in commercial transactions. The court too is now beginning to exploit digitisation.

Just as AI can displace lawyers in determining relevance, it might one day offer more demanding services, including adjudication. It is uncertain to what extent AI would penetrate the administration of justice. But if we are going to have a say in future evolution, we need to understand the technological direction of travel and its challenges. Such understanding cannot provide complete control over change, but may help us ensure that it is beneficial.

Lecture presented by Professor Emeritus Adrian Zuckerman (University of Oxford). For more information and to register, click here.

2019 John Toohey Oration – The Development of Native Title: Opening Out Eyes to Shared History
UWA Law School and John Toohey Chambers
Date: 2 October 2019
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Location: Perth Town Hall

UWA Law School and John Toohey Chambers invite you to join us for the 2019 John Toohey Oration. 

The John Toohey Oration honours the career and contribution to public life of a distinguished graduate of The University of Western Australia, Justice John Leslie Toohey. After graduating in Arts and Law, the Honourable John Leslie Toohey AC QC went on to become an outstanding legal practitioner and one of the country’s most eminent jurists.

The 2019 John Toohey Oration titled ‘The Development of Native Title: Opening Out Eyes to Shared History’ will be delivered by Justice Michelle Gordon AC. The lecture will address the relationship between history, facts and law in native title.

Places are limited, registration is essential – click here to register.

The Gerard Brennan Lecture: Just How Common is the Common Law? A Comparative Perspective
Bond University Law School
Date: 3 October 2019
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Location: Basil Sellers Theatre, Building 6 – Bond University, 14 University Drive, Robina QLD

Countries who were members of the British Empire were required to be uniform in their decision-making.  That time has passed.  The late 20th century in particular has seen divergences more so than convergences between common law courts, in particular those of Australia, Canada and the UK, in the application and development of aspects of the common law.  Why did this occur and what does this mean for the common law?  Is uniformity of the common law across jurisdictions a goal worth pursuing?  Is it realistic?  Indeed is it possible?

Presented by the Hon Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC. For more information and to register, click here.

Limitations on Judicial Review – Where To From Here?
Melbourne Law School
Date: 8 October 2019
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Courtroom 8A, Level 8, Federal Court of Australia, 305 William Street, Melbourne VIC

Part of the Judges in Conversation series.

The often tense relationship between the judiciary and the executive that plays out when courts exercise their supervisory jurisdiction over administrative action is frequently framed by legislative attempts to limit the scope or even possibility of that supervisory function. ‘Privative’ or ‘ouster’ clauses are the paradigm case of such legislative attempts, but are increasingly just one among a number of devices that might operate to restrict the scope of judicial review. Conditions of contemporary government and politics increasingly also raise questions about the scope of judicial review of executive or ‘prerogative’ power exercised without any statutory foundation.

In this ‘Judges in Conversation’ event, Justice Debbie Mortimer (Federal Court of Australia) will engage Professor David Feldman (University of Cambridge) in a conversation about these and other developments with a view to assessing the present and future state of judicial review in both Australia and the United Kingdom. This timely conversation will provide insights into the latest developments in both countries, including crucial questions about the possibilities and limits of judicial responses to unfolding events associated with Brexit in the United Kingdom.

For further information and to register, click here.

Julian Burnside QC – Refugees: What Can Be Done?
ANU College of Law
Date: 9 October 2019
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Location: Theatre 2, Cultural Centre Kambri, Univeristy Avenue, Acton ACT

There are currently 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Most of them are internally displaced: there are about 25 million refugees on the move, looking for a safe place to live. About 37,000 people each day are forced to flee their home due to persecution and conflict. In this climate, a durable solution is urgently required.

Julian Burnside AO QC is a barrister, and one of Australia’s leading human rights and refugee advocates. We are incredibly fortunate that Mr Burnside is joining us to share his expertise on important areas for domestic and international refugee law reform.

We are also privileged to be learning from Mr Burnside about his experiences practising human rights law, and the possible avenues that the next generation of aspiring human rights lawyers can pursue.

For more information and to register, click here.

The Two University Freedoms: Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech
ANU College of Law
Date: 10 October 2019
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Location: Phillipa Weeks Staff Library, Building 7, ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Rd, Acton ACT

Two concepts are much bandied about in contemporary public debate about universities: Academic freedom and freedom of speech. Almost everyone agrees that they are very important but opinions differ wildly as to what these two freedoms require. In this seminar, Professor Stone argues that two freedoms are quite distinct: Academic freedom springs from the university’s mission to advance and disseminate knowledge whereas freedom of speech is important because universities are also institutions of civil society.

Professor Adrienne Stone (University of Melbourne) argues for the primacy of the university’s teaching and research mission. Teaching and research are ordinarily enhanced by a strong and vibrant public debate and culture of freedom of speech. However, where freedom of speech undermines or disregards academic standards and values, freedom of speech should give way.

For more information and to register, click here.

Human Rights and Climate Change Conference
Friends of the Earth Climate Frontlines, the University of Queensland’s Human Rights Consortium, the Pacific Islands Council of Queensland and Pacific Climate Warriors 350
Date: 11 October 2019
Location: Global Change Institute, Building 20, University of Queensland St Lucia Campus, St Lucia QLD

Australian and Pacific Island Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples are on the front line of the global climate crisis. They are also leaders in charting responses to this crisis that can uphold human, and including Indigenous, rights.

This one-day event will bring together speakers from across Australia and the Pacific to identify the specific human rights, including Indigenous rights, challenged by the climate crisis. It will also create a forum for strategic alliance building across NGOs, researchers and community organisations to support on-going rights based climate campaigning, research and education.

This event will include keynote addresses from Dr Anne Poelina – Nyikina Warrwa Traditional Custodian from the Mardoowarra, Tony McAvoy SC – Australia’s first Indigenous Senior Counsel, and Genevieve Jiva, coordinator Pacific Islands Climate Action Network.

The day will include panel sessions and round table discussions on:
– the right to a healthy environment: what’s under threat?
– displacement, migration and re-settlement
– opportunities for climate litigation
– youth and climate change
– community leadership and involvement in planning for climate change
– gender, rights and climate change

For further information and to register, click here.

Call for Applications: 2019 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellowships in the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law
Deadline for applications: 13 October 2019

Applications are invited from suitably qualified female doctoral and early career scholars to participate in the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law at Melbourne Law School during 2020. The Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellowships allow outstanding female doctoral and early career researchers the opportunity to visit Melbourne and work with the program for one to two months each year.

The Fellows will be closely integrated into the Laureate Project and the academic life of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, taking part in project events and workshops, and participating in work-in-progress seminars.

Applications close 13 October 2019. Further information is available here.

Living the Public Law Dream
Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 14 October 2019
Time: 4 pm
Location: Law Lecture Theatre, University of Western Australia
Speakers: Joshua Thomson SC (WA Solicitor-General); the Hon Melissa Parke (United Nations Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen); Senior Member Lisa Eddy (SAT, WA)
Chair: Assoc/Prof Sarah Murray

The Global Compacts: A Missed Opportunity or a Promising Tool?
Statelessness Research Initiative, University of Melbourne Law School
Date: 17 October 2019
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Location: Room 608, Level 6, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham St, Melbourne VIC

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) were broadly adopted in December 2018. The adoption of the global compacts has been one of the main developments on international migration governance for decades.

This talk will explore the process for adoption of the compacts focusing particularly on the GCM and also looking at its content. It will explore whether the compacts could be used as a tool or whether their adoption has been a missed opportunity. The talk will also focus on the global architecture for implementation of the global compacts and how new mechanisms and processes are developing.

For more information and to register, click here.

The Implied Freedom of Political Communication
Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 22 October 2019
Time: 12:00 – 1:00pm
Location: Room 1, Level 1, 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide SA (Flinders University Victoria Square)

The South Australian Chapter of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law invites members and the public to a seminar, featuring Dr Chris Bleby SC (Solicitor-General for South Australia) and Kelly Scott (Public Law Section, Crown Solicitor’s Office). Topics include the nature and operation of the implied freedom; its reach across federal and State legislative power; an essential roadmap to structured proportionality analysis.

To register, click here or contact sachapter@aacl.asn.au.

Digital Legislation
Law, Science and Technology Program, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland
Date: 23 October 2019
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Seminar Room 3, UQ Brisbane City, Level 6, 293 Queen Street, Brisbane QLD

In this talk, Professor Guido Governatori will introduce the paradigm of Digital Legislation, namely, norms in a normative system that are available in a digital format, executable by machine and understandable by humans. He will present a vision of Digital Legislation and its benefits, and also outline a technical roadmap to implement this vision.

Professor Guido Governatori leads the research activities on Legal Informatics and Computational Law at CSIRO’s Data61.

More information on this event is available here.

Climate Change, Human Rights and Constitutional Law: Can Recent Cases in the Netherlands and the US Translate to Australia?
Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 24 October 2019 (date to be confirmed)
Location: Gibbs Room, Inns of Court, 107 North Quay, Brisbane
Speakers: Dr Chris McGrath (to present on the Urgenda case) and Kent Blore (to present on Juliana v United States
Chair: Stephen Keim SC  

Patron’s Address: The Academy and the Courts: what do they mean to each other today?
Australian Academy of Law
Date: 31 October 2019
Time: 5:15 for 5:30 pm
Location: Banco Court, Level 3, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, 415 George St, Brisbane QLD

One of the purposes for which the AAL was founded was to provide a bridge between the academy and the courts. This draws attention to their relationship in the past and the present. To what extent does the judiciary look to the academy for the purposes of its decision-making? What does the academy take from those decisions? Was there a time when the courts looked to the academy more often and when the academy spoke to the courts? What, if any, changes have taken place which affect the possibility of this communication? The Patron’s address, delivered by The Hon Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, will discuss these and related topics.

For further information and to register click here.

Public Law Weekend 2019: Technology, Public Law and Public Administration
Centre for International and Public Law – ANU College of Law
Date: 1 November 2019
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Australian Centre on China in the World, Building 188, ANU College of Law, Fellows Lane, Acton ACT

The conference will bring together legal scholars, computer scientists, government legal advisers and public sector integrity experts to discuss the unique set of challenges automation and AI present to liberal democratic governments, administration and public law.

Speakers: the Honourable Justice Nye Peram; Professor Lyria Bennett Moses; Dr Lachlan McCalman; Dr Will Bateman; Associate Professor Julia Powles; Professor Terry Carney AO; Dr Nóra Ní Loideáin; Daniel Stewart; Kate Miller.

For further information and to register, click here

Public International Law: The role of the International Court of Justice from an Australian perspective
International Law Section, Law Council of Australia
Date: 5 November 2019
Time: 7:45 – 9:00 am
Location: Clayton Utz, 1 Bligh St, Sydney NSW

This lecture, presented by Dr Christopher Ward SC, will consider the Australian experience of public international law through its engagement with the International Court of Justice. It will touch upon issues of jurisdiction, the structure of the Court and Australia’s role in developing the Court and participation in the work of the Court, including as a litigant and through membership of Judges of the Court. It will consider the continuing relevance of the International Court of Justice in an increasingly fragmented international litigation landscape.

Dr Christopher Ward SC is an experienced advocate and specialist in public international law and international commercial law.

For more information and to purchase a ticket, click here.

Protecting Rights, Addressing Inequality: Writs as Constitutional Transfer
UNSW Law School and Konrad Adenaur Stiftung
Date: 15-16 November 2019
Time: 9.45 am – 3.45 pm
Location: Level 2, Law Building, UNSW Sydney, Kensington NSW

Constitutional writs – the remedies of habeas corpus, certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto – are an important remedy both historically and for contemporary modes of administrative adjudication. In the immediate post-colonial era, the constitutional writs were a remedy sought for the protection of rights against the power of the state. While the postcolonial courts in Burma were among the first to develop the constitutional writs in 1948-1949, it is in India that the writs became associated with judicial activism. The writs in constitutional form were also included in places such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, among other countries.

This workshop seeks to investigate the history, development and variations of this model of constitutional adjudication, following the transformation from the common law remedies of England to a constitutional means of protecting rights. It will also consider the symbolic status of constitutional writs, how the importance of these remedies has changed over time and under what conditions. This workshop seeks to draw attention to the role of constitutional writs as legal transfer and consider these remedies as the intersection of constitutional and administrative law and rights protection. The constitutional writs have important implications for the protection of rights against the power of the state and for addressing inequality.

Further information and registration available here.

Kaldor Centre Annual Conference 2019
Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law
Date: 26 November 2019

Good decisions: Achieving fairness in refugee law, policy and practice 

Every day, decisions are made about whether people need international protection because they are at risk of persecution or other forms of serious harm. A variety of people make these life-or-death calls – immigration officials at the airport, tribunal members and judges, public servants, even Ministers themselves. In another sense, the decisions are also made by the general public, because the politicians they elect to public office will shape the overall approach. This conference explores aspects of refugee decision-making from the micro to the macro level – from individual cases through to wider public policy. It asks how we can ensure that refugee decision-making is fair, transparent and protection-sensitive, with outcomes that are consistent with international law. 

For more information and to register, click here.

22nd Geoffrey Sawer Lecture: the Reserve Powers in Times of Political Crisis
Centre for International and Public Law – ANU College of Law
Date: 27 November 2019
Time: 6:30 – 7:00 pm
Location: Finkel Theatre, John Curtin School of Medical Research, 131 Garran Rd, Acton ACT

Brexit in the United Kingdom and the Turnbull/Dutton leadership challenge in Australia have given rise to serious consideration about how a Prime Minister might advise the Queen or Governor-General, and whether reserve powers might be exercised, with respect to matters including royal assent, the prorogation or dissolution of Parliament, the appointment and dismissal of a Prime Minister and the exercise of the caretaker conventions. What was previously regarded as inconceivable, has been seriously contemplated. This lecture, given by Professor Anne Twomey (University of Sydney), will place these controversies in the context of constitutional principles, such as the rule of law and representative government, to consider how reserve powers can best operate as a matter of hard or soft power in a manner that supports, rather than opposes, those principles.

For further information and to register, click here

Legal Education Research Conference
Date: 27 – 28 November 2019
Location: UNSW Law Building (F8), Kensington Campus, Sydney NSW

The theme of the 2019 conference is: ‘Teaching as a Subversive Activity’. We are excited to be featuring panels, papers, posters and performances on legal education research related to the theme, which we have drawn from Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s classic Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969). We take this to mean the consideration of research into legal education as lifetime learning, as ‘crap-detecting’, as creating meaning, as transformative and as developing world-changing thinking within the legal context.

In an age when everyone aspires to teach critical thinking skills in the classroom (or, at least, no teacher would say they want to produce uncritical students!), what does it mean today to be a subversive law teacher? Who or what might a subversive law teacher seek to subvert – the authority of the law, the university, their own authority as teachers, perhaps? Are law students ripe for subversion, agents of, or impediments to, subversion?

Keynote speakers: Emerita Professor Raewyn Connell; Professor David Dixon; Professor Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos; Emerita Professor Margaret Thornton; Professor Prue Vines.

For more information and to register, click here. Registration is free for everyone.

“Constitutional Resilience in South Asia” Workshop
The Asian Law Centre and Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne Law School
Date: 5-7 December 2019
Location: The Asian Law Centre and Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne Law School, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

Concerns about the stability of democracies, even long-established democracies, have been rising globally. As a region, South Asia has had a tumultuous and varied relationship with constitutional democracy.

Despite presenting a wide range of examples of democratic experimentation in the global South, and housing a huge chunk of humanity, the region has remained relatively ignored by constitutional law and democracy scholars. This workshop aims to begin to address this lacuna by bringing together scholars (especially early career scholars) working on the region to workshop papers on the resilience of democratic institutions in one or more countries in the region. 

For further information, see here.

2019 Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference: Survive, Thrive, Die. Law in End Times
Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand and Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice
Date: 5-7 December 2019
Location: School of Law and Justice, Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus, Southern Cross Drive, Bilinga QLD

Social upheaval, political uncertainty, the end of history, or climate collapse: increasingly, such narratives seem to justify the state of exception in a plethora of contexts, slowly eroding the idea that social, political, and environmental stability can ever be achieved through the rule of law. The conference invites socio-legal scholars to re-imagine the question of law in the face of the ‘end times’.

Further information is available here.

Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society Annual Conference: Does Law’s History Matter? The Politics of our Disciplinary Practices
Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society (ANZLHS)
Date: 11-14 December 2019
Location: City Queen Campus, Victoria University, 256 Queen St, Melbourne VIC

Writing law’s history has long been understood as a purposeful practice, both necessary and never complete, as the eminent British historian F.W. Maitland noted more than a century ago. Today with the flourishing of imperial and postcolonial scholarship, Maitland’s advocacy of researching law’s past prompts renewed attention to the progenitors, methods and politics of our disciplinary practices. The imperative of capturing and presenting that knowledge seems greater than ever before. Yet for those of us engaged in historical study it can often appear that what we do, and why we do it, is not always well recognised or as valued as it should be. Simultaneously, questions abound about the implications of our practice and its political impact or purpose.

For this conference, we invite those who bring an historical perspective on law to consider together the many ways our work has in the past, and continues into the future, to matter. For example: what is the politics in our chosen methods, or the value in our choice of subject matter? Does it matter how we present and produce work for different audiences (court, academy, or public), or has it mattered in the past? Does it matter to the reception of our work what sources we find and why we use them? And does it matter with whom we write; and whose laws, and experiences of law, we write about? What can we learn from critical study, however incomplete?

Further information is available here.

Public Law in the Classroom 2020
Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW, the Public Law and Policy Research Unit, University of Adelaide, and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University
Date: 20 February 2020
Location: UNSW Law Building (F8), Kensington Campus, Sydney NSW

Public Law in the Classroom has become a community-building forum in which teachers of Australian public law can share ideas and inspire one another. The 2020 Workshop will be opening with a panel session on how technology has changed public law and how we must respond in the classroom, and closing with a panel on Increasing student awareness of public lawyering.

For further information and to register for the conference, click here.