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

Before we get to the roundup, we would like to remind you that the deadline for expressing your interest to join the advisory council of the newly-formed ICON-S regional chapter, ICON-S AUS-NZ, is 8 February 2020. Please see our previous announcement, here, for further details on this and other aspects of ICON-S AUS-NZ.

We would also like to draw your attention to the following opportunity:

Call for Papers: ANU Law 60th Anniversary Conference – Public Law and Inequality
ANU College of Law
Date: 7 – 9 December 2020
Location: ANU College of Law, Australian National University ACT
Deadline for Applications: 2 March 2020

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Australian National University (ANU) College of Law and the 30th anniversary of the ANU Law Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL), ANU Law will host a major conference in Canberra, 8-9 December 2020.

As a precursor to the conference, on 7 December 2020, Professor Philip Alston – NYU Law, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, and the inaugural Director of CIPL – will deliver the annual public Geoffrey Sawer Lecture.

The theme of the conference is public law and inequality. Growing inequality is a defining challenge of our times. Yet the role of inequality in social, political and economic life is often muted (sometimes, invisible) in much public law scholarship. Notably, public law’s foundational concepts were forged in a social world where the inevitability of inequality was often taken for granted. The stuttering processes of democratization have rendered that assumption untenable.

Although public law scholarship has considered how the field can contribute to political equality, there has been less focus, particularly in recent decades, on the relationship between public law and material inequality. The question of whether equality is achievable in a world of yawning disparities in wealth can no longer be brushed aside.

How to public law concepts, institutions and norms frame or contribute to political and material inequality? How can public law and public law scholarship contribute to clear thinking about the set of problems associated with pervasive inequality in contemporary society?

We invite papers addressing these and similar themes along a variety of dimension (e.g. gender), from a number of perspectives (e.g. the experience of Indigenous Peoples) and across multiple disciplines. The conference will be of broad interest to constitutional and administrative law scholars, including those whose work focuses on history and theory of public law or its broader role in social, political, economic and cultural life.

We encourage abstracts from researchers at all stages of their career. Conference speakers receive a 20% discount on their conference registration fee.

Abstract submissions for this event are through an online portal. To submit an abstract, access the online portal here, fill out the online form (2 pages) and click submit. You will have the opportunity to review before submission. Please ensure you scroll to the bottom of the review page and click the ‘SUBMIT’ button. You will receive a confirmation email advising that your submission was successful.

The following details are required as part of the submission process: your abstract submission (max 400 words) and proposed presentation title; names and organisations of any co-authors; name, organisation and bio (max 250 words) of the presenting author.

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.

Bentham, Courts and Democracy
Network for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law, (Anti?) Constitutional Populism Research Project
Date: 5 February 2020
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Level 2 Board Room, UNSW Law Building (F8), Kensington Campus, Sydney NSW

This seminar looks at a neglected feature of Bentham’s design for representative democracy – his lengthy plan for the judicial branch of government. Please feel welcome to join us for drinks and nibbles from 5pm. The seminar will run from 5:30 to 7pm.

David Lieberman, James W. and Isabel Coffroth Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of California, Berkeley, will speak on the three-volume Constitutional Code which comprised Bentham’s most ambitious contribution to political theory and formed the major intellectual project of the final decade of his long career in law reform (1822-32). His paper examines a neglected feature of this design for representative democracy – Bentham’s lengthy plan for the judicial branch of government. Of the many influential advocates for constitutional democracy of his era, Bentham was unique in devoting so much systematic attention to courts and judicial procedure. Likewise, his constitutional program provided exceptional detail and discussion of a plan for a dense network of local courts providing free and rapid adjudication of legal disputes. Bentham rejected judicial functions now associated with liberal constitutionalism, such as the protection of entrenched rights and the preservation of constitutional norms. Instead, he emphasized the institutions and public resources required to ensure equal access to justice for the weakest members of the community. This emphasis helps clarify Bentham’s larger political strategy for advancing the happiness of the community and the manner in which he understood the specifically democratic character of his judicial plan. The latter theme requires special attention since so much of Bentham’s designs for courts and judicial procedure long predated his embrace of democratic radicalism.

For further information and to register, click here.

Book Symposium and Launch: Law, Love and Freedom
Centre for International Public Law, ANU College of Law
Date: 19 February 2020
Time: 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Location: Phillipa Weeks Staff Library, ANU College of Law, Building 7, Level 4, Room 7.4.1, 5 Fellows Road, Acton ACT

In this important work of legal and political philosophy, Associate Professor Joshua Neoh relates our most important mode of social organisation, law, to two of our most cherished values, love and freedom. The book elucidates the moral vision that underlies our modern legal order and traces our secular legal ideas (constitutionalism versus anarchism) to their theological origins (monasticism versus antinomianism). Law, Love, and Freedom brings together a diverse cast of characters, including Paul and Luther, Augustine and Aquinas, monks and Gnostics, and constitutionalists and anarchists. This book – and this Symposium – will be of interest to any lawyers, philosophers, theologians and historians, who are interested in law as a humanistic discipline.

Speaking at the Symposium will be Professor Phillip Pettit (Princeton University; ANU), Associate Professor Nicole Roughan (University of Auckland) and Associate Professor Joshua Neoh (ANU).

Following the Symposium, Professor Sally Wheeler OBE MRIA FAcSS FAAL (Pro-Vice Chancellor for International Strategy and Dean of ANU College of Law) will officially launch the book; and there will be drinks and nibbles.

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, Kensington 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.

Transnational Counterterrorism: Australian Perspectives
Centre for International and Public Law, ANU College of Law
Date: 20 February 2020
Time: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Moot Court, ANU College of Law (Building 6A), 5 Fellows Road, Acton ACT

Countering terrorism is an increasingly transnational activity, with cooperation in intelligence and security, the proliferation of international laws on countering terrorism, the development of regional and sectoral organisations involved in counter terrorism, and the continued penetration of domestic law and policy by transnationally-determined priorities and approaches.

As a major intelligence actor, but not a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Australia is both a norm entrepreneur and a recipient of international norms. Australia’s domestic counter-terrorism law framework has also been influenced by approaches to countering terrorism in other countries. This raises questions of the rule of law and accountability in at least two dimensions: first, how does and can Australia foster a rule of law-based approach to countering terrorism in its international and transnational activity, and secondly what challenges does the reception of transnational counter-terrorism in Australia pose to the rule of law and accountability ‘at home’.

For further information, and to register, 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.

SCIL International Law Year in Review Conference
Sydney Centre for International Law, Sydney Law School
Date: 21 February 2020
Time: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Location: Sydney Law School, Common Room, Level 4, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown NSW

The Sydney Centre for International Law at Sydney Law School is delighted to present the eighth International Law Year in Review Conference, to be held at the Law School on Friday 21 February 2020.

This annual ‘year in review’ conference gives participants insight into the latest developments in international law over the preceding year, especially those most salient for Australia.

The day will commence with a keynote address by Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky (UN Independent expert on debt, the financial obligations of states and human rights, OHCHR), on the theme of “Private Debt and Human Rights.”

The conference will then traverse recent developments in public international law, treaty-making, international criminal law, international environmental law, and international trade and investment law. Speakers will include leading academics, practitioners and government lawyers.

Participation will enable lawyers and non-lawyers alike to remain abreast of important trends in international affairs.

For further information, and to register, click here.

The Case of Prorogations: Brexit and Judicial Review of Advice to the Queen
Australian Association of Constitutional Law – Queensland Chapter
Date: 27 February 2020
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Location: Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament House, 2A George Street, Brisbane City QLD

Please joint the AACL for an expert panel discussion of the recent decision of the UK Supreme Court in Miller [No 2] (R (Miller) v Prime Minister; Cherry v Advocate-General for Scotland [2019] UKSC 41; [2019] 3 WLR 589). With the Brexit deadline looming late last year, the UK Supreme Court broke new ground by concluding that it could review the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament. Is it a ‘one off’ or merely the first example?

Catch up on the decision, its significance, and possible implications for judicial review of prorogations and other execises of non-statutory executive power in Australia.

The speakers are Neil Larie, Clerk of Parliament; Sandy Thompson, Solicitor-General for Queensland; and Tony Keyes, Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.

For further information and to register, click here.

Whistleblowing: What Is It, Who Does It, When Is It Lawful, When Is It Mandatory?
Australian Academy of Law
Date: 25 March 2020
Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Location: Court Room 1, Level 21, Law Courts Building, Queens Square, Sydney NSW

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protection) Act 2019 has focused attention on what was already a subject of much interest, importance and discussion. The Act amends the Corporations Act 2001 and the Tax Administration Act 1953 to permit and protect disclosures and protect disclosers, in the areas that they cover. But the topic is broader, for example:

 – What are the relevant principles of the general law relevant to whistleblowing?
– What if the facts disclosed by the whistleblower turn out to be incorrect?
– Does the discloser’s motivation matter, eg a disgruntled employee or a trade competitor?
– Are journalists in a special position – should they be?
– In what circumstances must an employee or associate of a taxpayer disclose to the Commissioner of Taxation that tax is being evaded?

An expert panel who have a special interest in the subject will speak on these and other questions.

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 .