Welcome to the December 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. 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.

Sentinel or Undertaker: the Supreme Court and the Indian Constitution
Melbourne Law School and the Victorian Bar Association
Date: 2 December 2019
Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
Location: Woodward Conference Centre, Melbourne Law School, 10th Floor, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

Melbourne Law School and the Victorian Bar are delighted to present Professor Arun Thiruvengadam as the recipient of the James Merralls Fellowship in Law for 2019. The 2019 lecture will focus on constitutional law in India.

On January 26, 2020, the Constitution of India will complete 70 years of existence. This lecture focuses on one critical institution that it created: the Supreme Court of India, which sits atop the unitary judiciary that was conceived to be the guardian of the text of the Constitution and its ‘Fundamental Liberties’ chapter in particular.

In this lecture, Professor Thiruvengadam proposes to situate the Indian Supreme Court in a comparative and historical context to assess how it has functioned across India’s post-colonial journey. Lauded in the literature of comparative constitutional law as a powerful and influential court, the Indian Supreme Court has weathered several crises across its 70-year-old history. In the process, it has evolved many new and innovative doctrines and techniques to fulfill its mandate. At the same time, it has struggled to meet some of its original goals, faltering at crucial moments. The lecture will cover broad trends in that history while focusing on its record in the last few tumultuous years since Prime Minister Modi took office in May 2014. Observers of the Court agree that it may be witnessing its sternest test yet.

For further information and to register, click here.

Democracy and the Administrative State
Network for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law and the ARC Discovery Grant research project, Constitutional Populism: Friend or Foe of Constitutional Democracy?
Date: 3 December 2019
Time: 5:30 to 7:00 pm (light refreshments from 5:00 pm)
Location: Level 2 Boardroom, UNSW Law Building, Kensington Campus

Speaker: Edward L Rubin, Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University

Theories of democracy are abundant, and becoming more so, but none seem to incorporate the administrative nature of the state. Either they ignore it, which makes the theory a form of alternative history, akin to science fiction, or they treat administration as a hostile force that democracy needs to control. Given the stability of modern democratic regimes, this seems implausible, but there is an even stronger basis for objection. In historical terms, the advent of both democracy and modern administrative governance in the Western World occurred at the same time, which is the end of the Eighteenth Century. The theory that this paper proposes is that this is not a temporal coincidence, but reflects a basic transformation of attitudes and beliefs – specifically the worldview that social institutions are supposed to serve the needs and desires of the populace.

For more information and to register, click here.

The United Nations and the Pacific Islands
University of Queensland School of Law
Date: 4 December 2019
Time: 12:00pm
Location: Room 343, General Purpose South Building, University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD

Twelve Pacific Island Countries are full members of the United Nations, and a number of other territories benefit from UN association in some way. This seminar, presented by Associate Professor Graham Hassall (Victoria University of Wellington) outlines current research on the relationship between the UN and the Pacific region from independence to contemporary times. It seeks to examine (1) the contribution the UN has made to the small states of the Pacific, commencing with the process of gaining independence and to strengthening the capacities of PIC member countries to develop their economies, institutions, and societies; (2) the participation of Pacific states in the UN’s General Assembly and Economic and Social Council, as well as in the UN’s many ancillary programs; and (3) the role of small island countries in global multilateral organizations such as the United Nations. The fundamental question beneath this examination is the extent to which the UN’s current structure and operation provides avenues for effective and meaningful participation by small states, such as those in the Pacific. 

For further information and to register, click here.

Uncertain Futures: EU Citizenship in the Shadow of Brexit
Melbourne Law School
Date: 5 December 2019
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Location: Room 317, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Melbourne VIC

If the UK leaves the European Union, over 60 million British citizens, including over 1.2 million living in the EU-27, face being stripped of their EU citizenship rights, and 3.8 million EU-27 citizens resident in Britain face an uncertain future in the UK in terms of the continued exercise of their EU citizenship rights. Which remedies are suitable for their predicament? And what does this tell us about the nature, pedigree and future of (supra-national) citizenship? Free public lecture presented by Dr Rueven Ziegler.

For further information and to register, click here.

JSI Seminar Series: Democracy and the Administrative State
Sydney Law School
Date: 5 December 2019
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: Sydney Law School, Common Room, Level 4, New Law Building (F1), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown NSW

Professor Edward L. Rubin (Vanderbilt University) presents this seminar. Theories of democracy are abundant, and becoming more so, but none seem to incorporate the administrative nature of the modern state.

Either they ignore it, which makes the theory a form of alternative history, akin to science fiction, or they treat administration as a hostile force that democracy needs to control. Given the stability of modern democratic regimes, this seems implausible, but there is an even stronger basis for objection. In historical terms, the advent of both democracy and modern administrative governance in the Western World occurred at the same time, which is the end of the Eighteenth Century. The theory that this paper proposes is that this is not a temporal coincidence, but reflects a basic transformation of attitudes and beliefs – specifically the worldview that social institutions are supposed to serve the needs and desires of the populace. This view not only manifested itself in the political realm, but also in the economic realm, where the Industrial Revolution was based o

For further information and to register, click here.

“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

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. Papers can look at design and functioning of institutions such as political parties, legislatures, political executive, bureaucracy, courts, 4th branch/integrity institutions, media, and civil society, and their role in strengthening or undermining constitutional democracy.

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

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, including registration details, is available here.

The Future of Freedom of Speech and Religion after Israel Folau
Deakin Law School
Date: 7 December 2019
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Law Institute of Victoria, Level 13, 140 Williams Street, Melbourne VIC

Israel Folau is one of Australia’s most prominent rugby players, known for sharing provocative content on social media. His sacking by Rugby Australia has been highly controversial, with some suggesting it influenced the outcome of the 2019 federal election.

This Folau affair implicates numerous areas of law and raises fundamental questions for the future of public debate in Australia, and has potentially significant implications for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Deakin Law School is hosting a conference to investigate the major aspects of the Folau matter and its implications for Australian law and society. This conference will make an important contribution to the public debate on religious freedom and the proposed Religious Discrimination legislation, providing a forum to facilitate informed discussion.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Holding the Exercise of Public Power by Private Entities to Account
The Victorian Bar and the Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 10 December 2019
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Location: Neil McPhee Room, Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East, Melbourne VIC

Private entities sometimes exercise public power or perform governmental functions and often deliver services on behalf of governments. In these situations, complex public law issues concerning control and accountability arise. This seminar examines some of those issues.

Dr Catherine Button QC will discuss case law considering the status in Victoria of the English Court of Appeal’s decision in R v Panel on Take-Overs and Mergers; Ex parte Datafin plc [1987] 1 QB 815, which holds that exercises of public power by private entities are amenable to judicial review on the ordinary public law grounds.

Dr Yee-Fui Ng will explore the control and accountability of statutory corporations and government-owned and -controlled companies in Australia, and explain why statutory corporations are more accountable than government-owned and -controlled companies.

This seminar will be chaired by Peter Hanks QC, of the Victorian Bar.

For further information and to register, click here.

Sentinel or Undertaker: the Supreme Court and the Indian Constitution
Melbourne Law School and Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Date: 10 December 2019
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Level 17, 8 Chifley, 8/12 Chifley Square, Sydney NSW

Melbourne Law School and Corrs Chambers Westgarth are delighted to present Professor Arun Thiruvengadam as the recipient of the James Merralls Fellowship in Law for 2019.

The 2019 lecture will focus on constitutional law in India. On January 26, 2020, the Constitution of India will complete 70 years of existence. This lecture focuses on one critical institution that it created: the Supreme Court of India, which sits atop the unitary judiciary that was conceived to be the guardian of the text of the Constitution and its ‘Fundamental Liberties’ chapter in particular.

In this lecture, Professor Thiruvengadam proposes to situate the Indian Supreme Court in a comparative and historical context to assess how it has functioned across India’s post-colonial journey. Lauded in the literature of comparative constitutional law as a powerful and influential court, the Indian Supreme Court has weathered several crises across its 70-year-old history. In the process, it has evolved many new and innovative doctrines and techniques to fulfill its mandate. At the same time, it has struggled to meet some of its original goals, faltering at crucial moments. The lecture will cover broad trends in that history while focusing on its record in the last few tumultuous years since Prime Minister Modi took office in May 2014. Observers of the Court agree that it may be witnessing its sternest test yet.

For further information and to register, click here.

Constitutional Café
Australian Association of Constitutional Law
Date: 11 December 2019
Time: 5:15 – 6:30 pm
Location: The Courtyard, Level 16, GPO Exchange, 10 Franklin Street, Adelaide SA

Hosted by guest Chef the Honourable Justice Kelly, with quest speakers including the Solicitor-Genral and the Crown Solicitor, the event promises to cook up quite a storm.

For further information and to register, click 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

Writing law’s history has long been understood as a purposeful practice, both necessary and never complete, as the eminent British historian FW 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.

This conference will examine the value of studying law’s history in its many forms.

Further information, including registration details, is available here.

The UK Supreme Court and Brexit
Australian Association of Constitutional Law and Centre for International and Public Law, ANU College of Law
Date: 12 December 2019
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Attorney-General’s Department, 3-5 National Circuit, Barton ACT

Join Dr Ryan Goss, ANU Law Associate Professor, and Andrew Chapman, Senior General Counsel, Office of General Counsel at Australian Government Solicitor, as they discuss what the UK Supreme Court ruling means for Brexit.

For further information and to register, click here.

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Asylum: Australian and Global Perspectives
Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law
Date: 12 December 2019
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Location: Baker McKenzie, Tower One, Level 46, 100 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney NSW

Despite landmark legal changes in Australia and elsewhere recognising equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people, many countries continue to criminalise and demonise the everyday lives of LGBTIQ people. In at least six United Nations member States, consensual same-sex activity between adults is punishable by death, and violence and persecution of LGBTIQ people is rife in many more countries. Claiming asylum in a Western liberal democracy on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity can be fraught. 

Fifteen years ago, members of Australia’s High Court slammed refugee decision-makers for asking an applicant about Madonna, Bette Midler and Greco-Roman wrestling during a protection hearing. Surely things have changed?

What are the challenges for an LGBTIQ person seeking asylum today? Does the Australian refugee system ensure protection for LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in Australia, and how does it compare with other refugee-receiving countries?

Find out at a special panel event offering Australian and global perspectives on refugee protection for LGBTIQ people. The panel will be moderated by Ghassan Kassisieh (Equality Australia) and the panel members will be Sarah Dale (RACS), Minoo Eslami (UNSW), and Associate Professor Reuven Ziegler (University of Reading).

For further information and to register, click 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, UNSW Sydney

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.

2020 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner
Gilbert + Tobin Centre for Public Law
Date: 21 February 2020
Time: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Art Gallery of New South Wales¸ Sydney NSW

The 2020 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner will be the nineteenth consecutive staging of this flagship event. It will be held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Friday 21 February 2020. Participants at this event are updated on recent important developments in the High Court, Federal Court and States Courts and the surrounding issues that will emerge in 2020 and beyond. This event is organised by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the Faculty of Law, UNSW with the support of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

Associate Professor Elisa Arcioni will deliver the morning keynote on the year in constitutional law in the High Court, with Ms Kate Richardson SC providing comment. In Session 2, the Hon Justice Andrew Bell will discuss the 2019 term in the Federal and State Courts, followed by Ms Phillippa Mott speaking on Spence v Queensland. In Session 3, Mr Craig Lenehan SC will speak about the Principle of Legality: From Al-KAteb to M47, followed by Professor Anne Twomey discussing the UK Supreme Court judgment in R (Miller) v The Prime Minister and Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland and its implications for Australia. Session 4 will focus on issues relating to Chapter III Courts and the Kable principle, with discussion from Mr Mark Hosking of BMW Australia Ltd v Brewster and Westpac Banking Corporation v Lenthall; and from Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh on Vella v Commissioner of Police (NSW). Session 5 focuses on the implied freedom of political communication: Comcare v Banerji and Smethurst v Commissioner of Police will be discussed by Ms Julia Watson and Mr Peter Dunning QC respectively, and the session will conclude with comment from Dr Daniel Joyce speaking more broadly on the implied freedom and the freedom of the press.

The Conference Dinner will be held at NSW Parliament House, and the dinner speaker is the Hon Justice Virginia Bell.

For further information and to register, click here.

National Treaties Summit 2020
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation, Melbourne Law School and the National Native Title Council
Date: 16 – 18 April 2020
Location: University of Melbourne, Melbourne VIC

Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), the University of Melbourne and the National Native Title Council (NNTC) will be collaborating with other key partners and stakeholders to host the National Treaties Summit as a landmark gathering of First Nations representatives, leading academics, politicians and supporters to engage in a national dialogue of agreement-making and treaty. The University of Melbourne will host the Summit with an anticipated 500 delegates and participants from across Australia.

The Summit will be a chance to compare and share experiences from the Australian jurisdictions, to explore international experience and to contribute to the momentum of treaty and agreement-making across Australia.

The Summit will involve keynote speakers, debates, dialogue fora and we hope to culminate in a communiqué statement of the Summit’s key findings and the agreed core principles to inform current and future agreement-making processes. We want tangible outcomes.

We hope the Summit will be an opportunity for political announcements and/or statements of support (e.g. Federal Support, other state/territory treaty processes announcement, a framework for the development of a Makarrata Commission).

Importantly, while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the primary stakeholder in Treaty, there is an opportunity for the Summit to influence non-Indigenous Australians. As with reconciliation, Treaty must be owned and committed too by all parties and all Australians need to understand what Treaty is and why it is crucial for them.

This Summit intends to complement and support the efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership (e.g. the work of the Uluru Statement leaders) in this space and any other planned fora that progresses the treaty/agreement making agenda for First Nations peoples.

For further information and to register, click here .