Welcome to the May 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.

AUSPUBLAW also maintains a a regularly updated (at least once a month) 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 public law that we believe will be of interest to our readers. You can find this page here.

Independent Review of Administrative Law: Lessons from the UK
Australian Institute of Administrative Law
Date: 6 May 2021
Time: 6:00 pm (AEST)
Location: Online

In 2020 the UK announced a snap review of Administrative Law. The Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA) had just weeks to provide evidence in response. The Terms of Reference asked whether present arrangements struck the right balance between “enabling citizens to challenge the lawfulness of government action and allowing the executive and local authorities to carry on the business of government”.

Our speakers were part of the ALBA team that drew together a comprehensive response.

Ms Catherine Callaghan QC has been practising at the English Bar since 2000. Before taking silk in 2018, Catherine was recognised as a leading junior in the latest editions of both the leading legal directories, Chambers UK 2018 and Legal 500 2017, for her expertise in public and regulatory law, professional discipline, civil liberties and human rights, education and employment law. She regularly acts for the UK Government and regulatory bodies, as well as individual claimants, in the Administrative Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court. Catherine was a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel of counsel from 2013 to 2018. She is also qualified as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand.

Ms Sheryn Omeri specialises in all aspects of Employment and Discrimination Law, including employment status, territorial jurisdiction and whistleblowing, as well as Public Law, Human Rights and Public International Law, International Criminal Law, and Clinical Negligence Law. Sheryn is instructed to appear at all levels of the Tribunal and Court structure, including the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal, County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Admitted as a legal practitioner of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia in 2005, and a door tenant at 7th Floor Wentworth Selborne Chambers in Sydney, Sheryn is one of a rare breed of barrister who is dual-qualified and who practices at both the English Bar and the Australian Bar.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Julius Stone Address 2021: Can the People be Sovereign?
Sydney Law School
Date: 6 May 2021
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm (AEST)
Location: Online

The notion of sovereignty goes back to Jean Bodin, a 16th century French jurist. For him the sovereign had to be a single individual or a majoritarian committee—whether of an elite or of the whole—and had to be able to dictate the law without external, uncontracted constraint, including the constraint of previously established laws. From the late 18th century, many argued that in a representative democracy or republic the people were sovereign, although not by constituting a majoritarian committee of the whole. The claim retains currency in popular and academic circles—it is a centrepiece of populism—but has always defied reconciliation with the original definition.

The claim and the definition may both stand, however, under a conception of the people as an organization that operates, via a multitude of mutually checking channels, as a corporate agent. Those who act in the name of that corporate people may each be externally constrained by organizational checks but those checks will represent only internal constraints on the body as a whole; they will be analogous to the constraint of majoritarian voting that Bodin himself allowed. Hence the collective people, suitably organized, can be sovereign, being free to dictate law without external, uncontracted constraint.

Will that entail democracy? Alas, no. Democracy requires that within the organization of the sovereign corporate people, ordinary individuals must enjoy equal powers of a kind that corporate popular sovereignty does not ensure. It requires power for individual citizens, not just power for the collective citizenry.

The Address will be delivered by Philip Pettit, Princeton University and Australian National University.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Taking Minutes and Wasting Years: Reviewing the Australian Public Service
Melbourne Law School Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, Accountability Round Table
Date: 7 May 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm (AEST)
Location: Law G08, Law Building, University of Melbourne, Melbourne VIC

Jim Carlton was closely involved in the establishment of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, just one of his many contributions to high level policy advice and skilled administration. He was a Cabinet Minister in John Howard’s government, then became CEO of the Australian Red Cross and, later, a member of the Accountability Round Table (ART).

Recent reports worry about the diminishing role of the public service in providing ‘frank and fearless’ independent advice to governments. For the Australian Public Service, major concerns include integrity and job security, concerns about loss of policy capacity, the ascendency of consultants over public service advice, and a drift of influence to ministerial staff who work without the accountability of the public sector.

This year Professor Glyn Davis AC will deliver the Jim Carlton Annual Integrity Lecture. In this lecture, Glyn will challenge us to rethink the loss of capability in our public agencies, and the consequences for integrity and informed debate in and beyond Parliament – all subjects Jim Carlton cared about passionately.

This lecture will draw on Glyn’s recent experience as a member of the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service, commissioned by Prime Minister Turnbull and reporting late in 2019 as Our Public Service Our Future.

This event is a collaboration between the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies and the Accountability Round Table.

For further information, and to register, click here.

International Law and the Ecologically Embedded Relational Individual
Centre for International and Public Law, ANU College of Law
Date: 14 May 2021
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 pm (AEST)
Location: Online

Guest Speaker:
Sara Seck, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University

Cassandra Steer, ANU College of Law

Zoom registration

The Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL), ANU College of Law is pleased to announce a new seminar series, entitled ‘The Politics of International Law’ led by Dr Ntina Tzouvala.

The international legal order is currently facing unprecedented challenges. At the same time, international law, understood both as academic discipline and professional practice, is undergoing profound transformations that throw into question certainties that have been taken for granted at least since the end of the Cold War.

This series will explore these fundamental questions, to historicise and theorise their origins, and imagine possible answers to our current problems. The seminars are designed to bring internationally-leading voices in the discipline in conversation with scholars from The Australian National University.

For further information, click here.

Charting a Better Recovery
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Human Rights Law Centre
Date:  20 May 2021
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 pm (AEST)
Location: Online

The twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the first economic recession in 30 years, have highlighted and deepened many of the cracks in our community, and shown the fragility of many things we take for granted. In tough times, many are struggling to make ends meet, keep a roof over their heads, and ensure they can access services like health care and education.

As public attention and political decision-making focuses to what recovery looks like in 2021, and what lessons need to be learned so that future crises are better handled, it is time to look at who is being left behind in the recovery, and how a stronger human rights focus like from an Australian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms can make our laws, policies and services better.

Hear from speakers that are at the frontlines of the issues, and the expertise to show what the solutions look like.

For further information, and to register, click here.

ANU Law and Philosophy Forum: Religious Freedom – Liberalism and Republicanism
ANU College of Law
Date: 24 May 2021
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm (AEST)
Location: ANU College of Law Moot Court, Building 6A, 5 Fellows Road, Acton ACT and online

The ANU Law & Philosophy Forum is delighted to announce its fourth meeting in 2021: a work-in-progress seminar with Dr John Tate, on his work on religious freedom, entitled Burqas, Burqinis and Marilyn Manson: Liberalism and Republicanism in the French and American Public Spheres.

Dr John Tate is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Newcastle, and specialises in political philosophy and the history of political thought. His particular interests include freedom of speech and expression, toleration, and issues relating to individual liberty and its limits within liberal democratic polities. Within his broad interest in the history and practice of liberalism, Dr Tate has special expertise and has published widely on the works of John Locke. In this work-in-progress seminar, Dr Tate will share his current work on the politics and law of religious freedom in France and America.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Book Launch: ‘The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law’
Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW, Hertie School Centre for Fundamental Rights, Refugee Studies Centre, Peter McMullin Centre on Stateless at the Melbourne Law School
Date: 25 May 2021
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm (AEST)
Location: Online

The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law is a groundbreaking new book which critiques the status quo in international refugee law and sets the agenda for future research. 

We invite you to join us to find out what the Handbook tells us about the situation for refugees today, and how international protection is – or isn’t – working at a time when mobility is curtailed for so many. A 65-chapter reference work involving 78 authors, including 48 women, the Handbook is global in scope, with 10 chapters focusing in detail on specific regions, including Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania and the Middle East. 

Professor Hilary Charlesworth will launch this state-of-the-art work and engage in a lively discussion with the three editors, Professors Cathryn CostelloMichelle Foster and Jane McAdam. The event will be chaired by refugee advocate and lawyer Nyadol Nyuon

For further information, and to register, click here.

Justice: the Political Economy of International Law
Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School, Amsterdam Centre for International Law at the University of Amsterdam
Date: 26 May 2021
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 pm (AEST)
Location: Online

The Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) at the University of Amsterdam, and Melbourne Law School’s Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH) are pleased to announce a new seminar series entitled ‘Unpacking Transitional Justice: International Law, Memory, and Power’ convened by Dr Eliana Cusato and Valeria Vázquez Guevara.

The aim of the Series is to bring together scholars from around the world employing interdisciplinary and critical approaches to the study of transitional justice and international law, broadly understood. The relationship between international law and societies ‘in transition’ has been subject to increased scholarly interest over the past years. By exploring how international law, memory, and power interact in current responses to the violence of the ‘past’, the Series intends to push the conversation forward, as well as build new research networks and opportunities for collaboration.

This seminar will be presented by Associate Professor Christine Schwöbel-Patel (University of Warwick) and Dr Hannah Franzki (University of Bremen).

For further information, and to register, click here.

COVID-19 in Asia: China, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia in Focus
Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney, Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria, Australian Network for Japanese Law
Date: 28 May 2021
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm (AEST)
Location: Online

This book-related webinar introduces Covid-19 in Asia – Law and Policy Contexts.

This is a book for an extraordinary time, about a pandemic for which there is no modern precedent. It is an edited collection of original essays on Asia’s legal and policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, which, in a matter of months, swept around the globe, infecting millions. It transformed daily life in almost every corner of the planet: lockdowns of cities and entire countries, physical distancing and quarantines, travel restrictions and border controls, movement-tracking technology, mandatory closures of all but essential services, economic devastation and mass unemployment, and government assistance programs on record-breaking scales. Yet a pandemic on this scale, under contemporary conditions of globalization, has left governments and their advisors scrambling to improvise solutions, often themselves unprecedented in modern times, such as the initial lockdown of Wuhan.

This collection of essays analyzes law and policy responses across Asia, identifying cross-cutting themes and challenges. It taps the collective knowledge of an interdisciplinary team of sixty-one researchers both in the service of policy development, and with the goal of establishing a scholarly baseline for research after the storm has passed. The collection begins with an epidemiological overview and survey of the law and policy themes. The jurisdiction-specific case studies and cross-cutting thematic essays cover five topics: first wave containment measures; emergency powers; technology, science, and expertise; politics, religion, and governance; and economy, climate, and sustainability.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Global Public Law Virtual Book Seminar Series 2021
Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the Faculty of Law, UNSW
Date: 28 May – 22 October 2021
Location: Online

The aim of this series is to invite leading scholars in public law around the globe to share ideas from a recent book with an Australian audience. The Series will be hosted by the G+T Centre and feature Australian-based commentators from both within and outside the Centre to discuss the book with the authors.  It will also involve a collaboration with AUSPUBLAW, to develop a special blog series featuring commentary on the book for an Australian audience. 

1pm – Friday 28 May
Richard Albert, Constitutional Amendments: Making, Breaking and Changing Constitutions (OUP, 2019)
Commentators: Professor Gabrielle Appleby and Dr Paul Kildea
Chair: Rosalind Dixon

1pm – Friday 17 September
Joanna Bell, The Anatomy of Administrative Law (Hart, 2020)
Commentators: Dr Mark Aronson and Dr Janina Boughey
Chair:  Dr Lisa Burton Crawford

5pm – Friday 20 August
Kent Roach, Remedies for Human Rights Violations: A Two-Track Approach to Supra-national and National Law (CUP, 2021)
Commentators: TBC
Chair: Dr Janina Boughey

5pm – Friday 22 October
Aileen Kavanagh The Collaborative Constitution (CUP, forthcoming)
Commentators: Professor Rosalind Dixon and Joshua Aird
Chair: Professor Rosalind Dixon

For further information, and to register, click here.

The Commonwealth Parliament and Preventive Detention: The High Court’s Decision in Minister for Home Affairs v Benbrika (2021) 95 ALJR 166
University of Sydney Law School, Sydney Institute of Criminology
Date: 30 June 2021
Location: Online

The effect of Fardon v AG (Qld) (2004) 223 CLR 575 is that a State or Territory Parliament may validly authorise its Supreme Court to commit to prison a person who poses an unacceptable risk of committing a serious sexual offence if released at the end of his or her prison sentence. But, in the same case, Gummow J (with whom Kirby J agreed on this point) contended that Chapter III of the Commonwealth Constitution prevents the Commonwealth Parliament from passing similar legislation. In Minister of Home Affairs v Benbrika (2021) 95 ALJR 166, a majority of the High Court held that his Honour was wrong. This seminar considers the reasons that the majority Justices gave for rejecting Mr Benbrika’s attack on Division 105A of the Criminal Code (Cth), which authorises a State or Territory Supreme Court to impose continuing detention orders on terrorist offenders who pose an unacceptable risk of committing certain terrorist offences if released into the community. The seminar also examines the more liberal approach adopted by Gageler and Gordon JJ in their respective dissents. The seminar suggests that Benbrika is consistent with the Court’s recent decisions in cases where ‘law and order’ measures are attacked on Chapter III grounds.

The seminar is presented by Dr Andrew Dyer, who is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School, having been appointed the inaugural Colin Phegan Lecturer in Legal Reasoning at the beginning of 2014.

For further information, and to register, click here.

2021 ALAA Conference
Sydney Law School, UTS Law, Australasian Law Academics’ Association
Date: 4 July – 6 July 2021

Conference theme: Boldly Academic: Defining, Supporting and Celebrating Legal Scholarship

The ALAA conference will be jointly hosted by The University of Sydney Law School and University of Technology Sydney Law Faculty. The conference will be a hybrid model, with all conference sessions being accessible for in-person attendance or Zoom attendance. Speakers may elect to present either in-person or via Zoom. In-person attendance will depend on state and federal government health guidelines in place at the time of the conference.

The theme of the Conference has been chosen to enable exploration and celebration of legal scholarship and the role of the academic.

For further information, click here.

ECA Symposium in Law and Justice
Sydney Law School
Date: 9 – 10 July 2021

The University of Sydney Law School is pleased to announce a trial Symposium for Early-Career Academics (ECAs) in Law to be held on the mornings of 9 and 10 July 2021. The organisers are Dr Jeff Gordon and myself. As a trial, the Symposium will be open to ECAs in law from Sydney and Canberra. We are delighted to invite you to submit an abstract for the Symposium. The theme of the Symposium is Directions in Australian Legal Methodology.

The objective of the Symposium is to provide a supportive environment for ECAs to present their work, receive feedback, and meet other ECAs (especially beyond their own institution). The Symposium will be held face-to-face or online over two mornings on 9 and 10 July 2021. We plan to have five to eight sessions of 60-90 minutes each. Each session will be chaired by a senior academic. Each speaker will have about 30 minutes to present their paper and answer questions from the audience. We will also invite senior academics and/or practitioners to lead lunchtime discussions on issues and challenges that are of particular interest to ECAs.

For further information, click here.

National Administrative Law Conference
Australian Institute of Administrative Law
Date: 22 – 23 July 2021
Location: RACV City Club, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 2000

The AIAL National Administrative Law Conference is Australia’s pre-eminent administrative law conference, having been conducted since 1991. Following cancellation of the Conference last year due to COVID-19, we are pleased to advise that it will be going ahead this year in Melbourne on 22 and 23 July, hosted by the Victorian Chapter of the AIAL.

The aim of the Conference is to provide those involved or interested in Australian administrative law with the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues, share practical experiences and consider future developments.

The overarching theme for the 2020 AIAL National Administrative Law Conference will be Administrative Law on the Edge. The Conference will explore the many-faceted ‘edges’ of administrative law in the Commonwealth, States and Territories, including:
– intersecting areas of law and other areas of knowledge, for example, the law of interpretation and constitutional law
– the nature of any ‘boundary lines’ of administrative law
– the metes and bounds of jurisdictional error
– the capacity of civil and administrative tribunals to deliver administrative justice, having regard to the original intent of providing fast, low cost efficient reviews
– the scope to challenge the exercise of non-statutory executive power
– whether the performance of government functions that are ‘outsourced’ is outside administrative law bounds
– the scope to challenge automated ‘decision-making’.

The Conference will incorporate the 2021 AIAL National Administrative Law Lecture to be delivered by Professor Matthew Groves, Alfred Deakin Professor, Deakin University Law School. The Lecture will commence at 4:45 pm 22 July. This event is open to the public at no cost but registration for non-conference attendees will be required.

For further information, and to register, click here.

Religious Freedom, Religious Discrimination and the Role of the Law
University of Queensland School of Law
Date: 7 October 2021
Time: 5:00 – 6:45 pm (AEST)
Location:  The Banco Court, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, 415 George Street, Brisbane QLD

Religious freedom and freedom from discrimination on the basis of religion are well-established rights in international law and many jurisdictions have a substantial case-law that examine both of these rights, including the tensions between them. While some limited forms of these rights are protected in the constitution, to date there has been a relatively limited case law in Australia. With the development of statutory bills of rights and increased social tensions between secular and religious Australians, however, the law is increasingly being asked to step into conflicts that involve religion. What can we learn from the Australian case law to date and from other similar jurisdictions that can help Australian courts and legal policy makers with the complex issues that arise in this realm?

For further information, and to register, click here.