Welcome to the October 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.

The 2021 Solomon Lecture: ‘Solving Public Problems with Data’
Office of the Information Commissioner Queensland
Date: From 28 September 2021
Location: Online

International Access to Information Day (IAI Day) is recognised each year in Australia and around the world on 28 September. The day raises awareness of every individual’s right of access to government-held information, and the public sector’s responsibility to release information unless it would not be in the public interest to do so. The theme for 2021 is ‘Open by design: government transparency everyone can see’ and promotes the value of proactively releasing information in times of crisis and recovery.

To mark the occasion the Office of the Information Commissioner Queensland will present the 2021 Solomon Lecture ‘Solving Public Problems with Data’. This virtual lecture, delivered by Professor Beth Simone Noveck, will discuss how a focus on public problem solving and improving people’s lives changes how we think about data. She will discuss specific policy prescriptions for creating a right to know that fosters better government, stronger citizenship and more agile solutions to contemporary challenges.

Beth Simone Noveck is the author of Solving Public Problems: A Practical Guide to Fix Our Government and Change Our World. She is a professor at Northeastern University, where she directs the Burnes Center for Social Change and its partner project The Governance Lab. She is also the Chief Innovation of the State of New Jersey.

Find more information and watch the lecture online from 28 September.

Festival of Conversations: Performances and Ideas
Institute for International Law and the Humanities, University of Melbourne
Date: 5 October – 12 October 2021
Location: Online

The Institute for International Law and the Humanities was established in 2005 by Anne Orford. This year we (belatedly) celebrate 15 years of IILAH via a series of online conversations, in person performances and exchanges of ideas, capped off by the launch of the Routledge Handbook of International Law and the Humanities. Join us for the celebration!

Three Little Words: Art and Law
5 October, 12:00-1:00pm (AEDT)

The Past, Present, and Future of International Law and the Humanities
7 October, 5:00-6:00pm (AEDT)

Violent Modernities: Cultural Lives of Law in the New India (OUP 2021) - Oishik Sircar in Conversation with Dianne Otto
12 October, 1:00-2:00pm (AEDT)

Book Launch of the Routledge Handbook on International Law and the Humanities
14 October, 4:30pm (AEDT)

For more information, and to register, click here.

The Public International Law Webinar Series
Sydney Centre for International Law, University of Sydney Law School
Date: 6 October – 26 October 2021
Location: Online

The organisers are pleased to invite you to attend a public international law webinar series that will bring together leading public international law practitioners, academics and arbitrators to discuss topical issues of global importance. The webinar series will be launched by keynote addresses by Professor Shotaro Hamamoto and Professor Simon Chesterman who will discuss “Issues of Legitimacy in the International Legal Order”.

There are five weekly webinars in this series. The webinars are free of charge, but places are limited, and prior registration is required.

Keynote Addresses by Professor Shotaro Hamamoto and Professor Simon Chesterman
6 October, 7:30-8:30pm (AEDT)

New Horizons for Investor-State Disputes
13 October, 8:00-9:00pm (AEDT)

Climate Change and International Disputes
20 October, 7:30-8:30pm (AEDT)

How States Negotiate Their Treaties
26 October, 7:30-8:30pm (AEDT)

The Public International Law Year in Review
Date TBA, 8:30-9:30pm (AEDT)

For more information, and to register, click here.

Displacement and the Academy: Emerging Scholars with Lived Experience Talk Shop
Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and Justice; Forced Migration Research Network; and the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network
Date: 7 October 2021
Time: 6:00-7:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

Join us for a vital, virtual discussion about the principles and practice of academic research, led by emerging scholars with lived experience of displacement.

At a time when many universities are trying to become more inclusive, the pandemic is prompting a rethink of traditional academic practice. Is this a moment for new possibilities? Our panel will consider the opportunities as well as the current challenges for scholars with lived experience – exploring the unique pressures, problems, influences and expectations that rest on those whose path to scholarship was informed by displacement.

Introduced by GAIN Chair Professor Geoff Gilbert, and moderated by the Kaldor Centre’s Dr Tamara Wood, four early-career thought leaders will come together to discuss ways to overcome structural barriers to education and research dissemination, and career pathways for refugees in academia.

Our panel will include:

  • Tina Dixson, Queer feminist activist and doctoral scholar at the Australian National University
  • Ahmad Akkad, doctoral scholar at Warwick University
  • Khulud, doctoral scholar at Monash University
  • Thae Oo Khaing, doctoral scholar at the Australian Catholic University

For more information, and to register, click here.

Religious Freedom, Religious Discrimination and the Role of the Law
University of Queensland School of Law
Time: TBC
Location: The Banco Court, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, 415 George Street, Brisbane

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?

Presenter: Professor Carolyn Evans, Vice-Chancellor and President, Griffith University
Chair: The Hon Justice Sarah Derrington, Federal Court of Australia, President of the Australian Law Reform Commission
Commentator: Professor Patrick Parkinson AM, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland

For more information, and to register, click here.

Book Forum/Launch – Judicial Federalism in Australia: History, Theory, Doctrine and Practice
Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and Justice
Date: 8 October 2021
Time: 12:00-1:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

The Judiciary Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public law is delighted to invite you to a special event: a book forum to celebrate the launch of Judicial Federalism in Australia: History, Theory, Doctrine and Practice (Federation Press, 2021).

This book is the culmination of more than five years of work of the authors, Gabrielle Appleby, Anna Olijnyk, James Stellios and John Williams. It provides a holistic analysis of the federal dimension of Chapter III of the Constitution, including its historical foundations in the colonial justice system, through to the drafting of the federation and the subsequent development of State Chapter III jurisprudence by the High Court through the Kable principle. It provides, for the first time, an empirical study of the effect of this jurisprudence on the development and design of policies by the States.

Join the authors and a panel of esteemed commentators to discuss the book and celebrate its publication.

  • Professor Erin Delaney, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • The Hon. William Gummow AC, Distinguished Professor or Law, ANU, former Justice of the High Court of Australia
  • Brendan Lim, barrister, Centre Fellow at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law
  • Professor Sarah Murray, UWA Law School

For more information, and to register, click here.

2021 Hal Wootten Lecture – Living Greatly in the Law: Law and Progressive Social Change
University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and Justice; University of New South Wales Centre for Ideas
Date: 12 October 2021
Time: 6:30-7:30pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

Throughout his life and career, the late Professor Hal Wootten encouraged law students to think about “living greatly in the law”: living and working with a passion for justice, seeing the law in its social context and ensuring that the law serves those most in need. Hal understood that the law can create positive social change and encouraged lawyers to seek out opportunities “to give a little nudge that sends the law along the direction it ought to go”, which – in turn, he wrote – “can affect where the world goes”.

In this lecture, Jen Robinson will reflect on Hal’s legacy and the role of law in protecting human rights, addressing the climate crisis and contributing to progressive social change. Drawing on examples from her own practice and experience around the world, Jen will share her own journey, how she came to share and espouse Hal’s view about “living greatly in the law” and why it is more relevant now than ever before.

For more information, and to register, click here.

The High Court of Australia and Civil Liberties
Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, Melbourne Law School
Date: 13 October 2021
Time: 5:30-7:15pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

Our expert panel will critically analyse a series of recent important decisions by the High Court of Australia on civil liberties in the fields of immigration law, law enforcement, and Indigenous rights. The panel will reflect on the role of the High Court in protecting civil liberties more generally and broader themes that emerge from the High Court’s recent jurisprudence. There will then be an opportunity for questions and discussion.

Cases to be discussed include:

  • Smethurst v Commissioner of Police (unlawful search by police and remedies)
  • Roy v O’Neill (warrantless police entry onto land)
  • Lewis v ACT (damages and false imprisonment)
  • Northern Territory v Griffiths (compensation for loss of Native Title)
  • Love v Commonwealth (migration and Indigenous peoples)
  • Commonwealth v AJL20 (immigration detention)
  • Minister for Home Affairs v Benbrika (detention and judicial power)


  • Cheryl Saunders AO, Laureate Professor Emeritus at Melbourne Law School and Convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network
  • Michelle Foster, Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School and Director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness
  • Timothy Goodwin, Barrister at the Victorian Bar
  • Jason Varuhas, Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School and Director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies

For more information, and to register, click here.

Whose Move? Addressing Migration and Displacement in the Face of Climate Change
Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and Justice
Date: 19 October – 21 October 2021
Location: Online

At this crucial time in global policymaking, the Kaldor Centre Conference 2021 brings together world experts to share evidence, experience and solutions for people at risk of displacement in the context of climate change and disasters.

The following events are part of the virtual conference:

Today’s truths: What decision-makers need to know about human mobility and climate change
Experts set out the critical questions and principles that should guide responses to mobility in the face of climate change.

Moving beyond ‘climate refugees’: Readying law, policy and practice for displacement in a warming world
How does law help or hinder people on the move from the impacts of disasters or climate change?

Does the data on climate and disaster displacement add up?
What do we know, how do we know it, and what more do we need to know to inform policies on climate change and mobility?

Should I stay or should I go? Planned relocations
When whole communities need to relocate, who decides – to move at all, and if so, where?

Litigating climate change displacement: Cutting-edge cases and decisions
From Alaska to the Torres Strait, litigation is raising creative arguments about climate change displacement.

To Glasgow and beyond: Building support for people moving away from climate change
How can we promote meaningful action to support those most at risk of displacement in a warming world?

For more information, and to register, click here.

2021 Derek Fielding Memorial Lecture
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties
Date: 20 October 2021
Time: 6:00-8:00pm (AEST)
Location: Online or In-person at the Queensland Law Society House, Level 2 / 179 Ann Street, Brisbane City, Queensland 4000

QCCL is pleased to present the 2021 Derek Fielding Memorial Lecture. This year’s lecture will be presented by Queensland Law Society President Elizabeth Shearer, and will focus upon issues of Access to Justice.

Elizabeth Shearer is the Chair of the Access to Justice Pro Bono Committee. Elizabeth is a director of Shearer Doyle Law, incorporating Doyle Family Law, a specialist family law practice, and Affording Justice, focused on meeting the needs of “the missing middle” who are not accessing solicitors when they need help for everyday legal problems. Elizabeth is also a Director of the Law Council of Australia and a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Access to Justice Committee.

Note: In order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, the venue capacity is limited to 120pax. Bookings are therefore essential if you wish to attend in person. For those who cannot attend in person, we ask that you reserve an online ticket and a link to the livestream will be provided to you.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Kerr’s Vision Splendid for Administrative Law: Still Fit for Purpose?
Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and Justice
Date: 21 October – 22 October 2021
Location: Online

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Report of the Commonwealth Administrative Review Committee, chaired by Sir John Kerr. The NSW Chapter of the AIAL, together with the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW Law & Justice, are hosting a symposium on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 October 2021, to mark this important anniversary and to provide a forum to discuss the changes in, and future of, administrative law in Australia.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Health and Human Rights in the Climate Crisis: Charting Challenges and Solutions
Australian Human Rights Institute, University of New South Wales; Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, University of Southern California; The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney
Date: 21 October – 29 October 2021
Location: Online

During the COVID-19 pandemic the world has shown its capacity to mobilise and act in the face of an unprecedented public health crisis. How can we build on this momentum to address the challenges arising from the threat of climate change and its impact on our health?

In the lead up to COP26, the conference will showcase the research, policies and practice of experts in the fields of public health, climate science, law and human rights to support global developments to address climate change.

Drawing on our shared experiences of increasing climate threats, including fire, floods and temperature rises, the conference will serve as a call to global governments to take urgent steps that recognise the link between the increasing burden on under-resourced public health systems, the exploitation of the natural world and altered climatic conditions.

The conferencewill take the form of a series of keynote addresses, panel discussions and workshops over the period of 21-29 October 2021 and will be of interest to frontline health workers, human rights advocates, medical professionals, academics, researchers, policy advisors, NGOs and media professionals.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Reforming Global Governance for Improved Pandemic Prevention and Response
Melbourne Law School
Date: 26 October 2021
Time: 6:00-7:00pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

Lecture by Gian Luca Burci, Adjunct Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed or confirmed many serious gaps and flaws in the legal and institutional frameworks (both global and regional) that should prevent, contain and respond to the international spread of diseases, and that should prevent outbreaks from becoming pandemics. COVID-19 has rudely tested many fields of international law and policy beyond health, from human rights and trade to transport and financial stability. The disruption brought about by almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to discussions and negotiations – at times controversial and divisive – about the most urgent reforms to ensure that this will be the last pandemic.

Since the end of 2020, discussions and negotiations have pointed to a few main themes:

  1. The weakness of the International Health Regulations as the sole global legal instrument for pandemic prevention and containment;
  2. The need to provide the international community with stronger legal tools through a new “pandemic treaty”;
  3. Ambivalence around the role and effectiveness of WHO and the need for new institutional arrangements; and
  4. The challenge of rethinking the way in which life-saving medical countermeasures are developed, manufactured and allocated.

Whatever normative and institutional solutions will eventually be agreed upon, they will have to treat pandemics as a continuum requiring interventions at different stages as well as systemic risks not dissimilar to climate change and nuclear safety. The lecture will provide an opportunity to discuss some of the blind spots and crucial points along the “pandemic continuum” that should be addressed as a matter of priority, including prevention of zoonotic spillover and a health-sensitive mechanism to promptly share pathogen samples and genetic sequences as well as the benefits deriving from their utilization.

For more information, click here.

Corruption and Human Rights Sanctions in Australia: What to Expect?
Australian National University Transnational Research Institute on Corruption
Date: 27 October 2021
Time: 7:00-8:15pm (AEDT)
Location: Online

In common with other countries’ practice, the Australian Government has the power to subject individuals and companies to extrajudicial targeted sanctions, such as asset freezes and travel bans. It has now committed to introducing a reform of the Australian sanctions regime by the end of 2021. This follows a Parliamentary inquiry that recommended that Australia put in place a ‘Magnitsky’ sanctions regime to target foreigners engaged in corruption or gross human rights abuse, in line with overseas partners as the US, UK and Canada.

The introduction of corruption and human rights sanctions raises a host of questions of law and policy. How will they contribute to existing criminal justice responses? How can sanctions designations be credible, consistent and free of undue political influence? How should due process be ensured?

This webinar brings together Australian and international speakers to explore the lessons that the Australian government and wider expert community should draw from existing overseas experience in considering these questions. It is organised by ANU College of Law and the Transnational Research Institute on Corruption.

Chair: Anton Moiseienko, ANU College of Law


  • Geoffrey Robertson QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Anna Bradshaw, Peters & Peters
  • Adam Masters, Transnational Research Institute on Corruption

For more information, and to register, click here.

14th Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory
Melbourne Law School
Date: 22 November – 23 November 2021
Location: Online

The Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory is an annual interdisciplinary workshop hosted by graduate researchers. The Forum brings together research students and early career researchers from a range of academic disciplines to engage with social, political, theoretical, and methodological issues raised by law and legal theory.

The 14th Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory will take place on 22-23 November 2021 as a fully virtual event. The forum brings together graduate researchers and early career scholars from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to think methodically, theoretically and critically about law and theory. This year’s theme is Utopia and the legal imagination.

The world is in the early stages of a global pandemic; the ramifications of which are both immediate, and still partly unknown. In the midst of very real suffering, is there a place for some reflection on worlds past, present and future? Arundhati Roy suggested this pandemic could be a ‘portal’ to a different world, suggesting we are at a critical juncture for generating utopian thinking; while Rebecca Solnit observed that disasters ‘begin suddenly and never really end.’ What can this period tell us about hope, creating new futures, and our histories?

For more information, click here.

ANU Law 60th Anniversary Conference: Public Law and Inequality
Australian National University College of Law
Date: 16 February – 18 February 2022
Location: ANU College of Law, Australian National University, Canberra

As part of The Australian National University’s 75th anniversary and to belatedly celebrate the 60th anniversary of ANU Law  and the 30th anniversary of the Centre for International and Public Law (CIPL), a major public law conference will be held at the ANU College of Law in Canberra on 16-18 February 2022.

The conference will be a face-to-face event for Australian-based speakers and attendees, with international speakers and attendees able to participate through a webinar format, which will include a live audience in Canberra. We understand that much of Australia is currently subject to travel restrictions, but are hopeful that domestic borders will reopen in advance of our conference in December. If domestic travel is not possible, the entire conference will be available as an online event for affected participants within Australia.

Conference theme: Public Law and Inequality

Growing inequality is a defining challenge of our times, domestically and globally. 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 democratisation have rendered that assumption untenable.

However, 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 equality. The question of whether equality is achievable in a world of yawning disparities in wealth can no longer be brushed aside.

How do 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 inequity in contemporary society?

For more information, and to register, click here.

32nd Annual Conference of the Samuel Griffith Society
Samuel Griffith Society
Date: 29 April – 1 May 2022
Location: Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach Hotel, Corner of Princess Street and The Grand Parade, Brighton-Le-Sands NSW 2216

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Sydney, the 32nd Annual Conference of the Samuel Griffith Society has been postponed until 2022.

The Samuel Griffith Society was founded in 1992. The Society aims to undertake and support research into our constitutional arrangements, and to encourage and promote widespread debate about the benefits of federalism, and to defend the great virtues of the present Constitution.

The Samuel Griffith Society holds a major conference each year and smaller events on an occasional basis. The Society is widely renowned for its prestige and the eminence of its speakers. Persons of all ages and from all disciplines are encouraged to attend our events.

For more information, and to register, click here.