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Senior Judges from the Supreme People’s Court of China visit Sydney

Discussions centered on potential collaborations in exchange, training and information sharing. Read more

Senior Judges from the Supreme People’s Court of China Visit Sydney

SCIL / CAPLUS Symposium: International Investment Arbitration Across Asia

Conference summary by Erga Omnes

International Investment Arbitration Across Asia Conference

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Report on the “2016 International Forum for Law School Students” by Stephen Ke


The International Forum for Law Students hosted by Renmin University of China Law School gathers graduate and undergraduate students from around the world to present research on law. As the representative of Sydney Law School, I was provided the special opportunity to present comparative research on Chinese and Australian law in Beijing, amongst presenters from twelve countries and sixteen law schools.

On the first day of the conference, the participants went sightseeing around Beijing. My first time there, the city was all I hoped it to be - bustling with trucks, smoke and people. We ate Peking duck, visited the Forbidden City and haphazardly navigated the subway network. The highlight of the day was a visit to the Great Wall of China. On a blazingly sunny afternoon, the participants enjoyed the scenic trek up the mountain range and walking along the majestic historic site. As we stumbled over the irregular steps, conversation turned to differences between our respective legal systems. As we scaled the steep incline, a particularly erudite participant gave me a crash course on German ecclesiastical law. On the cable car ride down from the wall, I was introduced to the arbitration system in France. It was exciting and bizarre to be in such a place conversing on complex and new concepts.

On the Great Wall

Proceedings began early in the morning of the next day, under the theme “Defending the Powerless from the Legal Perspective”. Presentations covered a truly diverse range of topics. Speakers drew attention to the law’s role in protecting consumers, employees, the environment, children, and other vulnerable groups. The countries we came from and their respective legal systems were distinctive and followed different doctrines. Despite this, there existed a common respect for the rule of law, eagerness to right injustices, and an understanding of the necessity to protect those who are unable to defend themselves. Strikingly, the concerns regarding legal reform being debated currently in Australia (such as domestic violence) were being echoed in many other jurisdictions.

The Renmin University of China Law School

In one particularly stirring speech, a presenter spoke of his own experiences adopting his child in the United States. The injustices he perceived in the process and the pressing need for reform had inspired him to study law and head a NGO that advocates on behalf of children during the adoption process. He encouraged all the participants to assist vulnerable persons, but also take an active role in changing the legal landscape.

My own presentation concerned differences between Chinese and Australian approaches to marine environmental protection. Due to overfishing, pollution, global warming and increasing trade flows, our seas are facing unprecedented stresses and degradation. My speech drew attention to issues of multi-level governance and inadequate enforcement of environment protections. My research highlighted that an appreciation of different legal and political systems is essential in finding global and multilateral answers to maritime issues.

On the final day of the conference, the attendees visited Anjie Law Firm and were provided with a tour of the office. The visit showcased the expanding field of intellectual property law, and the role of arbitrations in China.

It was an immense privilege to attend alongside many highly talented early researchers and distinguished professors. Although only spanning a few days, the conference has shown me that societies answer similar problems in diverse ways, and has inspired me to continue researching in the field. Importantly, the experience has shown me that the ends of social justice can gain much by learning from other jurisdictions. My hope is that conferences such as these only become more frequent and expansive, providing a dialogue across countries and enhancing legal reform.

I sincerely thank Professor Vivienne Bath, Professor Bing Ling, and Ms Xu Fei of Renmin University of China, and CAPLUS for providing me with this truly amazing experience.

Stephen is a final year law student, and interned at the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney (CAPLUS) in Semester 1, 2016.

Social Justice In Action: My Time at the Courts of Cambodia by By Hannah Solomons (JD 2015)

Hannah Solomons (JD 2015) undertook an internship at the Courts of Cambodia, set up by the United Nations and the Cambodian government to try former Khmer Rouge for international crimes.
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Report on the “2015 International Forum for Law School Students” by Catie Wang

2015 International Forum

Renmin University in Beijing China hosts an annual conference that provides a forum for law students from different countries to exchange ideas and thoughts on a specified theme.

The 2015 International Forum for Law School Students was held on 29 May to 1 June. This year’s theme is “the relationship of market in the perspective of law. Students from a diverse range of backgrounds were invited to give presentations: University of Sydney, University of Geneva, University of Cape Town, Oxford University, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, University of Vienna, Indiana University, Drexel University, Renmin University, Osaka University, Hitotsubashi University, Seoul National University, Korea University and National University of Mongolia.

Each student gave a presentation for approximately 20 minutes. Presentations were arranged into four sessions: Government Control in Different Industries; Government and Market Relations in Different Countries; Privacy, Equality, Crimes and Fairness; and Law and Economics. At the end of each session, a commentator, either a law professor or a practitioner from leading law firms, made concluding remarks followed by a 5 minutes Q&A from the audience.

There were a wide range of topics presented, including gender pay gap in Japan, protection of privacy in Europe, expropriation under the German constitution, consumer protection law in Switzerland, rent control in China, regulation of legal markets in East Asian countries, and regulation of drug development market in the United States. It is very interesting to learn from other jurisdictions about different mechanisms of regulating markets, challenges faced by the legislators, and problems associated with the regulations already implemented. And some comments are thought provoking, such as the comments made after the presentations about gender pay gap, which was whether the law should follow the social norm or define the social norm.

My presentation was delivered at the Law and Economics session. My topic was regulating trustees’ exculpatory clauses, which addressed the gap between the innovative use of trusts in financial services industry and the development of trust law.

The following day, Renmin University organized a visit to The Supreme People's Procuratorate. The office of procuratorate is an institution often used in inquisitorial system, responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes and corruption. We were given the opportunity to talk to the officers from different departments of the procuratorate office, and to experience the voting system used for the decision making process.

Renmin University covered the roundtrip airfare and the accommodation. It has also planned a range of activities to showcase the city of Beijing, including tours of the Great Wall and Hutong (alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences). Overall, I am grateful for having been nominated to represent Sydney Law School in this event by the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law (CAPLUS). It was an invaluable experience and a highlight of my study at Sydney Law School. I highly recommend to all law students to take advantage of this opportunity.

Catie Wang

On 24-25 May 2014, Sydney Law School student and current CAPLUS student intern Michael Power (5th year Commerce/Law) attended the 2nd Annual International Forum for Law School Students at Renmin University of China in Beijing. The forum was co-sponsored by Renmin Law School and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Michael reports on his experience here.

Photo of the attendees

Attendees of the 2nd Annual International Forum for Law School Students at
Renmin University of China in Beijing

On 18 March 2014, Herbert Smith Freehills hosted a book launch for 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 was launched by The Hon Robert McClelland, former federal Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Services. Further details and purchasing information is available here.

Photo of the authors and dignitaries

From left: Adjunct Professor Don Robertson, Herbert Smith Freehills; Professor
Luke Nottage; The Hon Robert McClelland; Associate Professor Simon Butt; and
Dr Hitoshi Nasu