Seminars and Events

Forthcoming events | Past events

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Forthcoming events

Date Event

Past events

Date Event
22 August 2017

Sydney Ideas - Hong Kong Twenty Years After the Hand-Over

This forum will examine developments in Hong Kong in the 20 years since it became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and prospects for Hong Kong's future under Chinese rule.

Seminar details


17-18 August 2017

Corporate Governance and Regulation: East Meets West

This two day conference discusses key developments in the field of corporate governance and regulation in Australia, the United States and Asia.

The conference is convened by The University of Sydney Law School together with the National University of Singapore, University of Auckland, Vanderbilt University, Yonsei University, and includes many leading national and international scholars in the field of corporate governance.

The conference will traverse a range of topical contemporary issues in corporate governance and regulation including:

  • The nature of the corporation and its regulatory implications
  • Lessons from the rise of independent directors in Australia and Asia
  • Comparative analysis of directors' duties (and legal safe harbours) in Australia, the United States and Asia
  • The exceptionalism of corporate governance in China - an international comparison of the Chinese board of supervisors system
  • Comparative analysis of whistleblowing as a corporate governance technique
  • The changing role of shareholders in corporate governance - shareholder activism and the rise of shareholder Stewardship Codes in Asia
  • Developments in merger litigation
  • Administrative regulation-making in Australia and the United States

Conference details

 14 August 2017

Law & Business Seminar: The Mixed Progress of Corporate Governance in China

Co-sponsored by the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at The University of Sydney Law School and the China Studies Centre at The University of Sydney.

Seminar details
 17 March 2017

The Transnational Corporate Lawyers of Dubai, Jakarta and Singapore

Legal connections across Asia are undergoing a radical reconfiguration. Transnational corporate lawyers, and the global law firms for which they work, are undertaking new modes of documenting and disputing legal relationships. As a consequence, commercial relationships across the region have undergone dramatic changes over the last three decades. Essentially, the map of Inter-Asian legalities is being quietly redrawn. Within this new legal ecology transnational corporate lawyers act as intermediaries. They facilitate commercial relationships between businesses and other actors, such as governments, across Asia and beyond.

Three global cities – Dubai, Jakarta and Singapore – are important nodes of commercial and legal connection. Transnational corporate lawyers act the administrators of globalization as they mediate between intricate business and government relationships across Asia and their activities provide the glue for commercial networks that connect Asia to the rest of the world. By theorizing these interconnections across Asia this paper will seek to interrogate the ways that Asian cultures, histories and politics are impacting upon definitions of ‘law’ and are arguably reshaping what it means to be a contemporary ‘lawyer’.


About the Speaker:

Dr Jeremy Kingsley is a legal scholar and anthropologist. He is a Senior Lecturer (tenure-track) at Swinburne Law School, Melbourne, Australia.

Dr Kingsley received his LLM and PhD degrees in Law at the University of Melbourne and his BA and LLB from Deakin University. He has been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute and then a Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute, both at the National University of Singapore (NUS). While at NUS, he lectured at Tembusu Residential College and within the Comparative Asian Studies PhD Program.

His research has focused upon religious and political authority in Indonesia and how this affects local governance. Dr Kingsley is currently undertaking a research project titled: “Inter-Asian Legalities”, which examines transnational corporate lawyers in Jakarta, Dubai and Singapore. He has undertaken extensive field research primarily on the eastern Indonesian island of Lombok, as well as in Jakarta, Morocco and Dubai. His work has been published in academic and public affairs journals.

Seminar details
17 February 2017

SCIL International Law Year in Review Conference

The Sydney Centre for International Law at Sydney Law School is delighted to present the fifth International Law Year in Review Conference. The conference will give participants insight into the latest developments in international law over the preceding year, especially those most salient for Australia.

Conference details

 16 February 2017

SCIL / CAPLUS Symposium: "International Investment Arbitration Across Asia"

Treaty-based investor-state arbitration (or ISDS more generally) is an increasingly topical issue, as FDI flows continue to grow, especially across Southeast Asia and the rest of the Asian region, and host states have begun to experience some claims brought by disgruntled foreign investors.

The symposium, organised by the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney (CAPLUS) and the Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL), with sponsorship from the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and Herbert Smith Freehills, builds on the lively and timely conference funded by Chulalongkorn University's ASEAN Studies Centre in Bangkok on 18 July 2016, which compared the experiences and policy debates in each of the ten ASEAN member states. Those country reports are now being revised for review and eventual publication in a leading journal, with versions then being combined with papers on pan-Asian investment treaties and arbitration to be presented on 16 February 2017, for a co-edited book published by the same legal publisher.

This upcoming symposium will bring together leading experts from Southeast Asia, North Asia, India and Oceania, including several from institutional partners of The University of Sydney. It will help round off a major cross-institutional and interdisciplinary research project into international investment dispute management more generally, funded by the Australian Research Council since 2014. The annual SCIL "International Law - Year in Review" symposium will also take place the next day, on Friday 17 February 2017.


Discussants/ Chairs:

Click here for updates on the symposium.

13 October 2016

Challenges to the bilateral investment regime? India, China and the Asian Region

About the seminar

This seminar will feature Professor Jaivir Singh, an eminent academic from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and a panel of experts from Sydney Law School and Sydney Business Law (Professors Gail Pearson, Vivienne Bath and Luke Nottage), and will discuss important issues and developments in India, China and the Asian region in relation to investment treaties, with a particular focus on the controversial issue of investor-State arbitration.

Professor Jaivir Singh, "Indian Reaction to BIT Arbitration."

Professor Singh will discuss the variety of reactions in India to investor-state dispute resolution ranging from setting up a New Model BIT, instituting internal reforms in some areas and noting some of the bravado on tax matters in the face of ongoing arbitration.

Professor Luke Nottage, "US vs EU vs Other Models for Investment Treaties in the Asian Region."

Professor Nottage will contrast the US approach to investment treaties (exemplified by the TPP) and the recent EU approach (including the permanent investment court in lieu of ad hoc ISDS arbitration panels, in its FTA with Vietnam), with a discussion of implications for Australia's ongoing FTA negotiations with India and Indonesia (bilaterally, as well as via the ASEAN+6 RCEP).

Professor Vivienne Bath, "China, investment policy and agreements, and the 'One Belt One Road.'"

Professor Bath will look at recent developments in China's investment policies and bilateral and multilateral treaties dealing with investment, with particular reference to China's "One Belt One Road" vision.

Chair: Professor Gail Pearson, Sydney Business School

More information.


26-27 September 2016

Symposium: Delay in Litigation Procedures (Dubai) organised by and in conjunction with UAE University, College of Law


10 August  2016

Symposium: Consumer and Contract Law Reform in Asia

Private law and regulatory frameworks impacting on consumer protection are being reformed in many parts of Asia, the world economy's fastest-growing region. This development is important for Australian exporters and outbound investors, as well as policy-makers engaged over 2016 in a five-yearly review of the Australian Consumer Law.

In 2013, China amended its 20-year-old consumer rights statute to expand consumer protection and increase liability exposure of businesses, and case law of its highest court has ruled on long-standing controversies in consumer cases. These legal developments are likely to be further consolidated in China's ongoing civil law codification. Japan is considering a Bill for the first comprehensive reform of the contract law provisions of its Civil Code in over a century, which is also influencing a review of the Consumer Contracts Act 2000. A new statute adds representative actions for damages claims.

In Southeast Asia, ASEAN has worked since 2007 to "trade up" to higher harmonised standards of consumer protection law, to avoid a regulatory "race to the bottom" in conjunction with liberalised trade and investment under the ASEAN Economic Community, implemented from 2016. Most member states now have framework consumer protection laws, providing product safety regulation, and half allow strict liability compensation claims for unsafe goods. Thailand also enacted a US-style class action regime in 2015, in addition to 2008 legislation facilitating individual consumer law claims. Singapore recently enacted "Lemon Law" provisions (inspired by EU law) to facilitate consumer contract claims, and required goods to meet ISO or other specified standards - approximating the "general safety requirement" under Malaysia's 1999 Consumer Protection Act (also following EU law). Malaysia also added provisions on unfair contract terms to this Act in 2010.

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 with a focus on product liability, safe food, unfair contract terms, and new consumer protection agencies for regulation and redress is being debated in the Lok Sabha, the Indian Parliament.


Further background:

Nottage, Luke R. and Thanitcul, Sakda, Economic Integration and Consumer Protection in Southeast Asia: ASEAN Product Liability Law and Safety Regulation (December 13, 2015). ASEAN PRODUCT LIABILITY AND CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY LAW, Winyuchon Publication House, Thailand, 2016; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/100:



18 July 2016


International Investment Arbitration and Dispute Resolution in Southeast Asia

Click here for more information and Speaker / Chair bios.


26 May 2016

Capitalism Without Democracy: The Private Sector in Contemporary China

Co-presented by the China Studies Centre and the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney (CAPLUS)

The stunning expansion of China’s private sector growth has led observers to assume that its growing ranks of capitalists represent a force for democratization. Tsai’s research in ten provinces finds little evidence for this belief, but shows that private entrepreneurs have nonetheless had a structural impact on Chinese politics through a variety of “adaptive informal institutions.” The ability of China’s party-state to respond constructively to private sector interests has been a source of authoritarian resilience for the past three decades. Can the present government retain this flexibility as China enters a period of slower economic growth?


About the Speaker

Professor Kellee S. Tsai is the Division Head and Chair Professor of Social Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Prior to joining HKUST, Professor Tsai served as Vice Dean for Humanities and Social Science and Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. A scholar of contemporary Chinese politics and economic development, Tsai’s research addresses broader debates in comparative politics, the political economy of development, and the study of informal institutions and endogenous institutional change. She has published five books, including Back-Alley Banking: Private Entrepreneurs in China (Cornell University Press, 2002), Rural Industrialization and Non-Governmental Finance in Wenzhou (co-authored in Chinese, 山西经济出版社2004), Japan and China in the World Political Economy (co-edited with Saadia Pekannen, Routledge, 2005), Capitalism without Democracy: The Private Sector in Contemporary China (Cornell University Press, 2007), and State Capitalism, Institutional Adaptation, and the Chinese Miracle (co-edited with Barry Naughton, Cambridge University Press 2015).

17  May 2016

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Chinese Perspectives and Policies

Co-presented by the China Studies Centre and the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney (CAPLUS)

China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, has not been subject to any emissions abatement requirement under the international climate regime established by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997). While the regime has taken important steps to mobilize members of the international community to tackle climate change, the Kyoto Protocol has failed to mitigate effectively due to the non-participation of the US and the absence of control on GHG emissions by developing countries such as China. The North-South divide has long caused deadlocks in the global climate negotiation most vividly seen at the Copenhagen Conference (2009) where China rejected any suggestion of a legally binding cap on its GHG emissions and the US refused to accept the legal obligations of deeper cut by developed countries. The Paris Agreement (2015) promises a more effective climate regime by securing the participation of the US and China, but challenges remain in implementation.

A/Prof Yuhong Zhao will review China’s evolving role in the global climate governance, from a vocal advocate of the “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR) at the Rio Summit (1992) to a responsible state and leader of the developing countries to accept legal obligations to cap its GHG emissions.

Dr Penelope Crossley will discuss the likely future development of renewable energy law as the regulation and governance of renewable energy has historically been highly fragmented internationally. Dr Crossley will raise the question of whether the benefits of laws harmonising or converging outweigh the costs involved in terms of the loss of local preferences.

About the Speakers

Associate Professor Yuhong Zhao joined the Chinese University of Hong Kong in September 2006. Her teaching and research expertise includes Chinese environmental law, international and comparative environmental law and policy, and the legal system of the PRC.

Dr Penelope Crossley is a lecturer at Sydney Law School. She specialises in the complex legal issues associated with the energy and resources sectors

17 March 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership - Objectively

Is the largest free trade agreement in human history, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), truly a paradigm shift towards trade liberalisation, higher labor and environmental standards, improved intellectual property protection, and regulatory coherence? Or, does TPP manage trade in favour vested, even plutocratic interests, at the expense of the common good? Coverage of TPP tends to be unbalanced, but this seminar, based on the title of Professor Bhala's forthcoming book, "TPP Objectively," is different. It offers a neutral, albeit not value free, of the key points in the 30 Chapters of this remarkable and controversial treaty. The seminar sets the devilish details of TPP in the broader contexts of economic, national security, and social justice theory.

Dr Williams will comment on Professor Bhala's presentation and contribute some further analysis of some specific aspects of the TPP (including trade in legal services, the politically sensitive agricultural products, movement of people, regulatory coherence) and about the overall impact of the TPP on the WTO and the world trading system, and Australia's place in it.

Professor Nottage will describe some of the noteworthy features of the TPP chapter on Investment and the Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions, (based largely upon his comments published on his blog Japanese Law and the Asia -Pacific.

Speaker: Professor Rah Bhala, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law and Rice Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas Law School.


  • Dr Brett Williams, Research Affiliate of the Sydney Centre for International Law and of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law, and Principal, Williams Trade Law
  • Professor Luke Nottage, University of Sydney Law School
  • Chair: Adjunct Professor Donald Robertson, University of Sydney Law School
26 November 2015

Asia-Pacific Free Trade Agreements and Arbitration 

CAPLUS and its members have recently been involved in several projects. As part of "Sydney Arbitration Week", a lively symposium was hosted on 26 November 2015 at the Australian Disputes Centre, with the Asia-Pacific Forum for International Arbitration. Datuk Prof Sundra Rajoo, director of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, presented a wide-ranging talk on "Transformation and expansion of arbitral institutional roles amidst the rise of regionalism"(pdf) of the panels also discussed key features and implications of the recently-released text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement's investment chapter, including investor-state arbitration, based on a detailed analysis by Amokura Kawharu (pdf) from the University of Auckland, and a shorter summary by CAPLUS associate director Prof Luke Nottage. He also participated earlier that day in lunchtime seminar panel discussion on FTAs more generally, with journalist Jessica Irvine and economists at the Lowy Institute (podcast). On 17 March 2016, CAPLUS will co-host a TPP seminar at Herbert Smith Freehills, including Professor Raj Bhala of the University of Kansas Law School and CAPLUS Associate Dr Brett Williams of Williams Trade Law.

7 September 2015

Novel subject-matter-specific dispute resolution mechanisms in Japan

Speaker: Professor Kichimoto Asaka

In the 2010s, Japan enacted several dispute resolution mechanisms involving the government, to varying extents:

  1. Accredited consumer groups may sue businesses for injunctions regarding deceptive, misleading, or unconscionable contract terms and, under a newer law, collect damages for victimised consumers. 
  2. Certified financial ADR institutions mediate disputes between financial institutions and investors. 
  3. A government-sponsored nuclear accident ADR centre mediates disputes between Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident victims.  Are they supplemental mechanisms for access to justice, or paternalistic remedies for public grievances?

About the Speaker: Kichimoto Asaka is Professor at Law at the University of Tokyo. Professor Asaka plans to research (a) the independent development of Australian Law and “Unity of Common Law” and (b) class actions in Australia, comparing Australian class action disputes with those in the US and recently commenced consumer group litigation in Japan.

3 August 2015

Chicago Law School Prof Tom Ginsburg will kindly launch two new books by CAPLUS/ANJeL members at the UNSW Law Faculty.

Simon Butt, The Constitutional Court and Democracy in Indonesia,

Leon Wolff, Luke Nottage and Kent Anderson (eds), Who Rules Japan? Popular Participation in the Japanese Legal Process, (intro chapter at

4 May 2015  Understanding Traditional Chinese Law by Professor Geoffrey MacCormack
23 April 2015

 SCIL Lunchtime Seminar - Peter Lawrence

15-17 April 2015  Asia Pacific Awqaf Development Training Symposium
12 March 2015  Distinguished Speakers Program: Prof Edward Stein
3 & 4 October 2014

2014 Annual Workshop on Chinese Law

The China Studies Centre and the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law hosted the 2014 Annual Workshop on Chinese Law on 3 and 4 October, focusing on early judicial and legal reforms under the Xi Jinping administration.

2014 Annual Workshop on Chinese Law

14 May 2014 Seminar: Corporate Governance in North Asia

Speaker: Professor Bruce Aronson, Hitotsubashi University, Japan.

Despite general interest in the economic rise of Asia and in the role of law in the development of the region, the literature on comparative corporate governance in Asia is surprisingly undeveloped with respect to in-depth comparisons among Asian countries. In particular, it should be both valuable and feasible to compare and contrast corporate governance systems and practices among countries in East Asia, in light of Japan’s historical influence and more recent divergences from that influence.

At a recent conference a distinguished group of corporate law scholars from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China engaged in a broad-ranging panel discussion centering on the question of the operation and reform of traditional stakeholder-oriented corporate governance systems featuring concentrated ownership and a board of directors involved in day-to-day management against the need to account for greater monitoring of management on behalf of shareholders.

This seminar highlighted both the challenges and significant potential rewards for greater scholarly collaboration in making cross-Asian comparisons in the field of corporate governance.

About the speaker:
Bruce Aronson is a professor of law at Hitotsubashi University’s Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston University and his JD from Harvard Law School in 1977. Professor Aronson was a corporate partner at the law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP in New York (1989-2000) and a professor of law at Creighton University (2004-2013). He has also engaged in research and teaching at a number of US law schools including Columbia (2002-2004), Michigan (2004), Boston University, and Georgetown. His experience in Japan includes research as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Tokyo (2000-2002) and at Waseda University (2011-2013), the first holder of the Chair on International Capital Markets Law at the University of Tokyo (2004), and a Visiting Scholar at the Bank of Japan (2010). His main area of research is comparative corporate governance with a focus on Japan. He also acts as an advisor to the law firm of Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu.

This event was presented by the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law (CAPLUS) and the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL).
2 Apr 2014 Seminar: Indonesian Elections and the Constitutional Court

Speaker: Associate Professor Simon Butt, Sydney Law School.

Chaired by Bob Carr, Professorial Fellow, Sydney Southeast Asia Centre.

Indonesians go to the polls to choose legislative candidates on 9 April 2014 and presidential candidates in July. This seminar examined the role the Court is likely to play in resolving disputes about the results of both elections. If the Court’s decisions in regional head election disputes are any guide, the Court is likely to be inundated with contested results and might invalidate polls if presented with enough evidence of ‘money-politics’, administrative incompetence or incumbents attempting to ensure their own re-election or the election of a family member. The Court might then order elections to be conducted again and could even disqualify candidates. Yet all this will happen at a time when the legitimacy and authority of the Court is at a low ebb, given the arrest in October 2013 and prosecution from February 2014 of its then-serving Chief Justice, Akil Mochtar. The result is likely to be significant delay and contestation over the final results of both elections and the Court’s decisions.

This seminar was part of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre Seminar Series.
18 Mar 2014 Book Launch: Asia-Pacific Disaster Management: Socio-Legal and Comparative Perspectives

Please join us for the book launch of Asia-Pacific Disaster Management: Socio-Legal and Comparative Perspectives, co-edited by Simon Butt and Luke Nottage (Sydney Law School) and Hitoshi Nasu (Australian National University, College of Law). The book will be launched by The Hon Robert McClelland, former federal Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Services.

About the Book:
The book outlines the regulatory environment for disaster prevention and management in broad social, economic and political context. The first half of the book focuses mainly on Japan, especially the '3.11' events: the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku area on 11 March 2011 and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant radiation leaks. The second half focuses on the USA (the only other Asia-Pacific country to have experienced a serious nuclear emergency), Indonesia, China, New Zealand, Australia and international law. One question explored in several of the 14 chapters is whether socio-legal norms play different roles in preventing and managing responses to natural disasters compared to 'man-made' disasters. Another is how 'disaster law' interacts with society across very diverse communities in the disaster-prone Asia-Pacific region. The book also addresses the increasingly important roles played by international law and regional regimes for cross-border cooperation in disaster prevention and relief, including the functions played by military forces.

Further details and purchasing information is available here.