Latest Sydney Law School News

Farewell to Professor Peter Butt

Professor Peter Butt

The Sydney Law School held a special morning tea to farewell Professor Peter Butt, who recently announced his retirement.

Peter joined the Law School in 1975 and was a number of new appointments made between 1974 and 1977 following the retirement of Professor Ken Shatwell as Dean in 1974, including the late Professor Alice Tay and Professor Richard Vann.

A well respected authority in land law, native title and legal drafting, Peter is a dedicated proponent of plain language for lawyers, and when interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald in 2006 in relation to his book Modern Legal Drafting, stated:

"Lawyers write in a very wordy and pompous style. There is no justification for that nowadays. Lawyers should consider that the way they write is important for their clients. They can write in simple, modern English if they tried.

"Further, Lawyers use humungous sentences. I have seen one of 1299 words. I've seen judges use sentences of well over 100 words in their judgements.

"Even if the content is fairly straightforward, the sheer length of the sentence makes it impenetrable.

"In addition, I've found words dating back to the 1660s, although it's more common to find words from the 1800s still being used in legal documents.

"Historically, lawyers were paid by length which is why they use four words where one will do. It says no more but justifies a larger fee, perhaps.

"Also, the role models that students follow are judges and judges, with all due respect, don't write very well. The other role models are academics and they're not good writers either."

The Dean, Professor Gillian Triggs, in announcing his retirement stated, "Peter is a graduate of the Sydney Law School and a fine scholar who has been with us for many years, making a significant contribution to the Law School and legal education.

"We wish him the very best and hope he enjoys his well-earned retirement."

Farewell for Professor Peter Butt

Professor Peter Butt pictured with Patricia Lane of Melbourne Law School (left) and Ross Anderson of Sydney Law School (right) at his farewell.

Law Alumni Honour Recipients for Queen’s Birthday Honours 2008

Congratulations to the following distinguished alumni who were recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours:

Dr David Bennett QC (BA ’61, LLB '64)
AC for service to the law, particularly as Commonwealth Solicitor-General, through the provision of advice on matters of national interest, and the international promotion of Australian legal services and education.

The Hon John W Howard (LLB '61)
AC for distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia, particularly as prime minister and through contributions to economic and social policy reform, fostering and promoting Australia's interests internationally, and the development of significant philanthropic links between the business sector, arts and charitable organisations.

His Hon Thomas I Pauling QC (LLB '70)
AO for service to the Northern Territory through significant contributions to the law, particularly relating to constitutional matters, to the development of legal organisations and the promotion of professional standards and to the community.

Mr David M Freeman (LLM '86)
AM for service to the Jewish community, particularly through the development of hospital and aged care facilities in Sydney.

Professor Patrick J O'Keefe (PhDLaw '85)
AM for service to the protection and repatriation of cultural property and heritage, to the law as a lecturer and author, and to legal education.

Ms Nancy J Milne (LLB '74)
OAM for service to the legal sector, particularly as an insurance lawyer, and to the community.

Sydney Law School doctoral student recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours List

Sydney Law School would like to extend its congratualtions to one of its doctoral students, Mr. John Boersig, who was awarded an Australian Public Service Medal in the 2008 Queens birthday honours list recently.

The award was in recognition of "...outstanding public service in the delivery of law and justice services to Indigenous Australians."

John is the Assistant Secretary, Indigenous Law and Justice Branch, in the Federal Attorney-General's Department.

John's Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis is entitled, Towards a New Framework for Sentencing: Blending Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Notions of Justice

It is currently under examination and the supervisor is Sydney Law School's Director of Research, Professor Terry Carney.

The Australian Public Service Medal recognises outstanding service by employees of the Australian Government and state, territory and local government employees. ‘Outstanding service’ could be shown through:

  • service excellence to the public, or to external or internal clients;
  • innovation in programme, project or policy development;
  • leadership, including as a member of a team; or
  • the achievement of more efficient processes, improved productivity or better service delivery.

Cocktail Reception marks launch of the Justice Peter Hely Memorial Scholarship


Over 70 eminent judges, barristers, family and distinguished guests from the legal community joined the Dean of the Sydney Law School, Professor Gillian Triggs, to launch the Justice Peter Hely Memorial Scholarship on Tuesday 27 May 2008.

Generous contributions from the family, friends and colleagues of the late Justice Hely established the scholarship to promote postgraduate study in the fields of commercial law and equity and ensured a permanent memorial to one of the finest graduates of the University of Sydney Law School.

Special guest speaker at the reception, The Hon Mr Roderick P Meagher AO, QC delighted guests with his warm reminiscences of Justice Hely.

Mr Meagher spoke of Justice Hely as a “walking monument of higher learning” and of the “masterpieces of succinct learning” that were his written opinions. He reflected fondly on Justice Hely’s brevity of expression, wry wit and precision of thought.

Mr Meagher encouraged guests, with his trademark humour, to support the scholarship. “I have not mentioned another of (Justice Hely’s) qualities”, he said. “He was generous to anyone, with his time, his talent and (…) with his money. We owe it to him to be equally generous to his memory, because some of you have deep pockets but short fingers”.

For more excerpts from Mr Meagher’ speech, be sure to obtain a copy of Issue 2 of JuristDiction, the Sydney Law School Faculty and Alumni Journal, due out in September.

Justice Dyson Heydon reiterated Mr Meagher’s call for generosity in supporting the Scholarship in memory of Justice Hely. As one of the panel that included Justice Peter Jacobson and Professor Triggs, Justice Heydon then awarded the first Hely scholar, Lucas Bastin.

Justice Heydon spoke of Lucas’s significant success as a mooter in the international competition, the Jessup Law Moot where he represented the Sydney Law School and was declared “Best Oralist” in the world final round. He also spoke of Lucas’s numerous sporting interests, achievements and community activities.

Justice Heydon declared the selection panel’s pleasure with the quality of applicants for the scholarship and with the selection of Lucas Bastin as the first holder of the Hely Scholarship.

View transcript of Justice Heydon’s speech

Lucas Bastin warmly thanked those who made the inaugural award of this scholarship possible. “Anonymous and several as you may be, please know that my gratitude extends to all of you individually and sincerely”.

View transcript of Lucas’s speech

The University of Sydney and the Law School wish to thank all donors for their generous support.

For more information on contributing to the Justice Peter Hely Memorial Scholarship, please contact

Guy Houghton
Philanthropy & Development Officer
Law School
The University of Sydney

T: +61 2 9351 0391
M: 0401 694 957
F: +61 2 9351 0200

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Forthcoming Vice Chancellor Visits Sydney Law School

Dr. Michael Spence, appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, paid a visit to the Sydney Law School to meet the Dean and Academic Staff at a special morning tea on Wednesday, 21st May 2008.

The Provost, The Dean and the new Vice Chancellor

From left to right: Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam, Dean of Sydney Law School, Professor Gillian Triggs and recently appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Dr. Michael Spence.

Dr. Spence answered questions of staff and conversed with them in both a formal and informal setting about a number of issues, most notably the relocation to the Law School's New Building on main campus.

"It was an excellent opportunity for the Law School of the University of Sydney to share with its forthcoming Vice-Chancellor its passions in teaching and research as well as the many exciting challenges that await this Law School when we move to our state-of-the-art building in December 2008," said Professor Gillian Triggs.

"The Vice-Chancellor expressed great interest in the stronger potential for multidisciplinary projects and collaborations for our staff on main campus."

Dr. Michael Spence

Dr. Spence is an alumnus of the Law School (BA 1985, LLB 1987) and will commence his term as Vice-Chancellor and Principal in July 2008 when Professor Gavin Brown steps down after 12 years of service.

Dr. Spence held the title of Head of the Social Sciences Division at the University of Oxford.

The Social Sciences Division comprises thirteen academic departments and their dependent units: Anthropology, Archaeology, Economics, Education, International Development, Law, the Oxford University Centre for the Environment (Geography, the Environmental Change Institute and the Transport Studies Unit), the Oxford Internet Institute, Politics and International Relations, the Saïd Business School, the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Social Policy and Social Work, and Sociology.

Before leaving for Oxford in 1989, Dr. Spence lectured in Law at the Sydney Law School.

Current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gavin Brown spoke at the time of the appointment that, "....Dr. Spence has a distinguished record at Oxford, where he has successfully united the Social Sciences Division in a period of expansion and seen considerable success in raising research activity.

"I am confident he will have even greater success on a wider scale in Sydney. I am sure I am speaking for the whole University in welcoming him back to Australia and to the University of Sydney."

Sydney Law School Alumnus wins prestigious UK Scholarship

The Sydney Law School would like to extend its congratulations to recent alumnus, Mr. Oliver Jones (BA 2005, LLB 2007), a winner of a Lord Mansfield Scholarship - a prestigious Bar Vocational Course (BVC) Scholarship at the Inns of Court School of Law in London.

The scholarship will assist Oliver towards completing the professional requirements to become a Barrister in the United Kingdom.

This achievement follows on from his award as the Inaugural Winner of the Peter Cameron Sydney Oxford Scholarship.

Oliver was also the University of Sydney Medallist for Law in 2007 and delivered the following address at the 2007 Sydney Law School Prizegiving Ceremony.

Sydney Law School considers the legal implications of the Apology to the Stolen Generations

The Apology to the Stolen Generations on 13 February 2008 prompted wide-spread debate about its legal consequences. On the one hand there were fears of a flood of litigation in the wake of the apology. On the other hand, there were concerns that litigation is not a viable, long-term or conciliatory solution.

The Senate responded on 12 March 2008 by initiating an Inquiry into Compensation for the Stolen Generations. This went hand in hand with a Compensation Bill that proposes $20,000 ex-gratia payments for victims.

Sydney Law School etched out its own contribution to the debate on 2 April 2008. It hosted, together the Amnesty Legal Network, a special forum entitled, The Apology to the Stolen Generation: Where to Now?.

The forum, chaired by Sydney Law School Lecturer, Dr. Thalia Anthony, addressed issues of compensation, litigation and current policy for Indigenous Australians.

The speakers included Jack Rush QC who traced stolen generations litigation, including his role in the Federal Court case, Cubillo & Gunner v The Commonwealth. He claimed that the apology was not an admission of legal liability. However, litigation will be an unfortunate consequence of a government that does not form a statutory compensation scheme.

Father Frank Brennan considered the consultation process surrounding the apology. He said that there should be ongoing consultation with Indigenous people about the future of Indigenous communities, including in relation to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Sam Mostyn from Reconciliation Australia also emphasised the role of dialogue between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community in developing just outcomes.

Wiradjuri and Wongaibon Nations descendant and stolen generations survivor, Helen Moran, spoke of the importance of compensation and support services. She claimed services to reunite the stolen generations with their parents were vital for healing and lamented the government’s de-funding of these programs.

The forum was attended by 130 members of the public, legal profession, academia and student body. The attendees passed by acclamation a proposal to consolidate the speeches into a submission to the Senate Inquiry
Dr. Thalia Anthony and Dr. Ben Saul on behalf of the Sydney Centre for International Law also presented a Submission on international legal rights, domestic litigation and procedural aspects related to compensatory policies.

Dr. Saul and Dr. Anthony both gave evidence to the Senate Inquiry on 17 April 2008, along with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission and Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

The Senate Committee’s report is set to be released in June 2008.

Law School announces new scholarship: The Justice Peter Hely Scholarship

The Sydney Law School is pleased to announce a new scholarship, The Justice Peter Hely Scholarship. The Scholarship was established by the Law School through contributions from the friends and colleagues of the late Justice Peter Hely to promote postgraduate study in the fields of commercial law and equity.

The scholarship is open to final year law students, Law graduands and graduates of the University of Sydney, to enable them to undertake a postgraduate degree in the fields of commercial law and equity, either by research or coursework, at the University of Sydney or any other appropriate university.

The value of the scholarship will be $20,000

Applications are now open and will close on Wednesday, 14 May 2008.

Application form and conditions of award are now available from The Law School Scholarships Page
For further enquiries please contact Peter Finneran

Calling all scholars

Recent Alumnus, Anna Boucher (BA 2003, LLB 2006), contributed a letter to the Editor of the Higher Education section of The Australian in response to the decision by Britain's Foreign Secretary to discontinue funding of the Commonwealth Scholarship program.

Anna is currently a PhD candidate athe the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as being a Commonwealth Scholarship holder.

View Letter

Sydney Law School Jessup Team receive prestigious awards

Sydney Law School would like to extend its congratulations to members of its Jessup Team, two of whom received prestigious awards at the final in Washington D.C. recently.

Suzannah Morris and Laura Johnston were named 5th and 7th Best Speakers respectively.

"This is a tremendous achievement given the strength of the competition and the number of mooters eligible for the best oralist awards - well over 150 speakers," said Dr. Tim Stephens of the Sydney Law School.

"On behalf of the Sydney team, and their coach Houda Younan, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous support provided by many institutions and individuals.

"Allens Arthur Robinson, the NSW Bar Association, the Australian New Zealand Society of International Law, the International Law Association and Jessup International Law Moot Inc all provided substantial financial support which allowed the team to travel to Washington.

"Thanks also to so many of the Law School's Academic staff for devoting their time in judging practice moots."

The Sydney Law School Jessup Team faced four challenging moots at this year's finals, including against teams from the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

The team then progressed to the run-off rounds against a team from the Philippines, but in a close result were defeated.

"By all accounts the Australian national champions put in an exceptional performance in all of their moots in Washington D.C.," said Dr. Stephens.

The Winner of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition for 2008 was Case Western Reserve University School of Law from Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Sydney Law School Students stand-out @ Harvard World Model United Nations

Students from Sydney Law School received recognition for their outstanding level of diplomacy skills at the Harvard World Model United Nations in Puebla, Mexico recently.

Of the six students from Sydney Law School who attended Harvard's WorldMUN, three won Diplomacy Awards.

The winning students were:

  • Anshu De Silva Wijeyeratne (2nd year International Studies/Law) - representing the International Committee of the Red Cross in the WorldMUN NGO Programme
  • Christine Ernst (4th year Economic and Social Sciences/Law) - representing the Bahamas in the Organisation of American States
  • Angela Ha (4th year Arts/Law) - acting as a Judge on the International Court of Justice

Team spokesperson, Angela Ha stated, "We are extremely grateful to the Sydney Law School for its support, without which our attendance and successes at WorldMUN 2008 would not have been possible."

International public health law experts debate the role of industry in confronting the challenges of tobacco, obesity and chronic disease

According to Professor Stephen Sugarman, the Roger J. Traynor Professor of Law at Boalt Hall, Berkeley, most public health regulation follows a prescriptive, “command and control” approach. It sets out detailed rules (“inputs”) that organisations and businesses are expected to follow. Professor Sugarman advocates a different approach. Businesses that impose social costs on society, he argues – such as manufacturers of junk foods, tobacco, alcohol, and guns – should be required to take responsibility for some of those negative effects. However, rather than prescribe inputs, law-makers should prescribe outcomes – targets for harm reduction – and leave it to the ingenuity of business to work out how best to achieve them. Businesses who succeed deserve praise. Those that don’t should pay a fine, penalty or fee: a “polluter pays” principle.

Professor Stephen Sugarman

This is Professor Sugarman’s “performance-based regulation” thesis. In his scholarship, he has applied it to a number of areas, proposing targets for reductions in rates of smoking, reductions in childhood obesity rates, not to mention gun-related deaths. The benefit of this approach, Professor Sugarman argues, is that it calls on industry’s capacity for innovation and creativity, rather than relying on legislative inputs, or litigation (a form of “command and control” regulation run by lawyers and judges).

The application of performance-based regulation to tobacco and obesity were just some of the ideas discussed at a recent conference convened by the Faculty’s Centre for Health Governance, Law & Ethics.

Entitled Business as Usual? Debating the Role of Industry in Meeting the Challenges of Chronic Disease, the conference was convened by A/Professor Roger Magnusson with the aim of examining new ideas for the regulation of those industries whose products – tobacco, food, alcohol – contribute to the burden of chronic disease in Australia.

Joining Professor Sugarman as keynote speakers at the conference were Professor Lawrence Gostin, the Linda and Timothy O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and Professor Fiona Stanley AC, the Founding Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia.

Professor Lawrence Gostin address the conference

Also presenting were public health nutritionist and consumer health advocate Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM; Professor Wayne Hall from the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland; and A/Professor Roger Magnuson from Sydney Law School.

In the opening session (chaired by Professor Stephen Leeder, Director of the Australian Health Policy Institute at the University of Sydney), Professor Gostin reviewed the usual justifications given in support of public health regulation. Common justifications for regulation include avoiding harm to others, and protecting the interests of incompetent people. Paternalistic interventions, however, are more controversial, since they mean second-guessing the freedom of action of individuals in order to protect their health, safety, welfare or happiness.

Anti-paternalists argue that there is an inherent value in protecting the right of individuals to make their own choices about lifestyle, regardless of whether those choices are healthy or unhealthy. On the other hand, individuals may be subject to cognitive constraints, suffer from information deficits, or have limited willpower. Individuals are also influenced by social and cultural constraints.

Professor Gostin pointed out that rarely does one see a reasoned defence of paternalism at the population level, even though “paternalistic policies can be highly effective in preventing injuries and deaths in the population”. Legal interventions to prevent chronic disease are highly controversial, since individual choices about diet, exercise and lifestyle are widely seen as matters for individual responsibility.

Professor Gostin argues, however, that “paternalism” in public health regulation is best understood as being directed to the overall welfare of society. This is well understood – and the role of the state is rarely questioned – when it comes to communicable disease, toxic exposures, or hazardous products. When it comes to chronic disease, however, the opportunity – and the challenge – for governments is to regulate physical and social environment in ways that facilitate healthier choices by both individuals and the population as a whole.

Professor Fiona Stanley

Professor Gostin’s paper set the scene for a range of more specific presentations on law, public health and the regulation of business. Professor Fiona Stanley AC, Chair of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, and the Australian of the Year in 2003, explained why harmful exposures and deficits during childhood and adolescence can have a lifelong impact on the health of adults. She argued that corporate social responsibility and voluntary codes have provided insufficient impetus for protecting the health of children, she argued, and regulation has an important role to play.

Professor Stanley pointed out that industry sometimes actively obstructs regulation, as illustrated by industry opposition to the fortification of bread with folate, following Professor Stanley’s work on the relationship between lack of folate in the maternal diet, and neural tube defects in babies.

Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM

Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, well known to Australian audiences as a consumer health advocate and independent commentator on public health nutrition, spoke about the challenge of obesity and unhealthy eating in Australia, the factors causing it and the role of regulation in reducing commercial influence over dietary choices.

Professor Wayne Hall, and A/Professor Magnusson both presented perspectives on what regulation can offer to tobacco harm reduction. Professor Hall argues that there is a case for re-examining the prohibition on the importation and sale of low-nitrosamine smokeless tobacco products (Swedish snus), in order to encourage long-term, “inveterate” smokers to switch to non-combustible and possibly less harmful sources of nicotine.

Professor Wayne Hall addresses the audience

A/Professor Magnusson pointed to the inherent tension between regulation focused on improving the risk profile of combustible tobacco products, and regulation focused on encouraging the migration of smokers towards less harmful sources of nicotine.

In welcoming members of the audience and opening the conference, the Dean of Law, Professor Gillian Triggs, pointed to the role of the Centre for Health Governance, Law & Ethics as a focal point for research and teaching on health law and public health law within the Faculty.

Sydney Law School is a leader in health law and public health law, offering a wide range of units of study for credit towards the Master of Health Law and Graduate Diploma programs. These programs are open to practising lawyers, medical practitioners, nurses, other allied health professionals, health executives and administrators, and other approved applicants.

Members of Faculty with expertise in health law include Professor Belinda Bennett (Director of the Centre for Health Governance), Dr Isabel Karpin, Dr Kristin Savell, Professor Terry Carney, A/Professor Barbara McDonald, Professor Margaret Allars, A/Professor Peter Cashman, and A/Professor Roger Magnusson.

Sydney Law School Health Law Program

Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics

Sydney Law School Staff selected to attend 2020 Summit

Sydney Law School would like to extend its congratulations to the following academic members of staff selected to attend the Australia 2020 Summit, listed alongside their relevant areas of expertise:

  • Dr. Ben Saul- Future Security
  • Dr. Katherine Fallah - Future Security
  • Associate Professor Helen Irving - Australian Governance
  • Associate Professor Anne Twomey - Australian Governance
  • Professor Mary Crock - Population, Sustainability, Climate Change and Water
  • Professor Patricia Apps - Australian Economy

"This is an outstanding opportunity for the Sydney Law School to provide some policy guidance to the 2020 Summit," said the Dean, Professor Gillian Triggs.

"We look forward to their reports and impressions on their return."

The 2020 Summit takes place in Canberra between 19th and 20th April 2008.

Faith-based Interventions - The Role of Religion in Corrections

The Sydney Law School's Institute of Criminology conducted the latest instalment in its Beyond Punishment seminar series at the Law School recently, entitled, Faith-based Interventions - The Role of Religion in Corrections.

The seminar sought to highlight and critique the role of faith-based interventions in corrections and explore any effects they may have on such issues as recidivism.

Faith-based Interventions - The Role of Religion in Corrections

Dr. Murray Lee, Senior Lecturer at the Sydney Law School and Co-Director of the Institute of Criminology, delivers the welcome at the Seminar.

"Religion and spirituality have long played a central practical and symbolic role in rehabilitation and reconciliation," said Dr. Murray Lee of the Sydney Law School.

"Further, this role has been highlighted in moves to more restorative justice processes."

The following representatives took part in the seminar:


Father Michael Whelan SM, Principal of the Aquinas Academy in Sydney. Michael is also the author of numerous books and journal articles on spirituality and is the co-founder of 'Spirituality in the Pub'.

Nada Roude. Nada has had extensive experience in working with Arab and Muslim communities. She is the founder of a number of women's organisations such as the Muslim Women's Association, the Arabic Women's Federation and the first Muslim women's refuge. Nada currently works as a cross-cultural trainer and educator.

His Honour Judge Chris Geraghty, Judge of the NSW District Court. Judge Geraghty was a Catholic priest for 14 years before he left the priesthood in 1976.


Associate Professor Eileen Baldry, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales. Eileen is also a spokesperson for 'Beyond Bars'.

Reverend Rodney Moore, Chaplaincy Co-ordinator, NSW Department of Corrective Services.

The Beyond Punishment Seminar Series attempts to engage in critical debate about prisons, community programs and related issues.

It is co-sponsored by the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services.

Previous Seminars included:

  • Recent Developments in Aboriginal-focused Correctional Centres in NSW
  • Compulsory Drug Treatment Orders: A human rights violation or a pragmatic approach to drug-related offending?
  • Sex Offenders and Risk Assessment
  • Punishment at the Crossroads: Contesting Disciplinary governance
  • Families of Prisoners - impacts & consequences

The Institute of Criminology is a Centre of the Sydney Law School at the University of Sydney dedicated to public education on criminal justice issues.

Staff associated with the Institute pursue a wide range of research interests, including Indigenous people and the criminal justice system, juvenile justice, policing, violence against women, the jury system, feminist and critical criminology, child abuse, hate crime, drug policy and comparative criminology.

Many Institute staff members have worked as consultants for government departments, statutory authorities and royal commissions.

Institute of Criminology @ Sydney Law School

The Hon. Justice James Allsop (BA 1974, LLB 1980) named next President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal

The Sydney Law School would like to extend its congratulations to alumnus, The Hon. Justice James Allsop (BA 1974, LLB 1980) following the announcement of his appointment as the next President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal by the New South Wales Attorney-General, The Hon. John Hatzistergos MLC.

Justice Allsop will succeed another Sydney Law School alumnus, The Hon. Justice Keith Mason, AC QC (BA 1967, LLB 1970, LLD 2005).

The Hon. Justice James Allsop

NSW: Justice James Allsop the govt's pick for appeals court

SYDNEY, March 19 AAP - Federal Court judge Justice James Allsop has been named the next president of the NSW Court of Appeal.

NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos today announced he would recommend Justice Allsop's appointment to Governor Marie Bashir.

The current Federal Court judge will take up his new duties following the May retirement of current NSW Court of Appeal president, Justice Keith Mason.

"Justice Allsop is one of the nation's most esteemed judicial officers," Mr Hatzistergos said in a statement.

"He has had a distinguished career both on the bench and at the bar.

"I am delighted he has agreed to join the state's judiciary."

Justice Allsop was appointed a Senior Counsel in NSW in 1994 and a Queen's Counsel in Western Australia in 1998.

He was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1981 after graduating from the University of Sydney where he was awarded the University Medal for Law.

Since his appointment to the Federal Court in 2001, Justice Allsop has presided over cases involving administrative, company, intellectual property, trade practices, tax and maritime laws.

He is an adjunct professor at the University of Sydney and the Australian Maritime College in Launceston.

Article courtesy of AAP

Sydney Law School Jessup Team preparing to depart for World Title defence

With less than three weeks before depature, the Sydney Law School Jessup Team paid a special visit to the Sydney chambers of The Hon. Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG, who, alongside The Hon. Justice Brian Tamberlin, wished the team and its coach good luck in defence of the World Title.

The Jessup Team with the Dean and Justice Kirby and Justice Tamberlin

From left to right: The Dean, Professor Gillian Triggs, Team Coach, Houda Younan, Laura Johnston, Suzannah Morris, The Hon. Justice Tamberlin, The Hon. Justice Kirby, Lisa-Claire Hutchinson, Alexandra Meagher and Joel Gilbourd.

The team won the opportunity for the Sydney Law School to defend the title as the current world champions after defeating the Team from the University of New South Wales at the National Final for Australia, held at the High Court in February this year - Sydney Law School team wins National Round of 2008 Jessup International Law Moot.

The 2008 Shearman & Sterling International Rounds, the winner of which is announced as the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition World Champion, will take place between Sunday, 6th April 2008 and Saturday, 12th April 2008 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., USA.

The Jessup Moot Competition has participants from over 500 law schools in more than 80 countries.

The competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations.

Representing both sides of the argument, each Jessup team is required to prepare oral and written pleadings.

If the Sydney Law School team wins the 2008 Title, it will be the only Australian Law School to win the Competition three times.

Sydney Law School students awarded Aurora Project Native Title Internships

Select Sydney Law School students were awarded Aurora Project Native Title Internships recently.

The successful students were as follows:

  • Chloe Johnco @ the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA)
  • Catherine Gascoigne @ the Yawoorroong Miriuwung Gajerrong Yirrgeb Noong Dawang Aboriginal Corporation
  • Amanda Porter @ the Central Land Council
  • Claire Deakin @ the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)

Since 2003, the Aurora Project has provided law students with the opportunity to experience working in the area of native title through internships at Native Title Representative Bodes (NTRBs) and other organisations involved in indigenous affairs.

In 2008, students applied from 23 Australian universities.

The Sydney Law School's Dr. Thalia Anthony assisted in this year's interview and selection process.

The Aurora Project

Director of British Institute of International and Comparative Law delivers Human Rights Seminar

The Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL), Professor Robert McCorquodale delivered a special seminar entitled, State responsibility for Corporations violating human rights overseas, as part of the Sydney Law School Lunch Seminar Series.

"The actions by AWB and by military contractors in Iraq show that transnational corporations can violate human rights," said Professor McCorquodale.

Professor Robert McCorquodale

"There is a need to explore the extent to which these extraterritorial activities by TNCs can give rise to international state responsibility of their home state.

"States routinely provide support and assistance to their corporate nationals in their global trade and investment ventures.

"In such circumstances states may, by their actions or omissions, facilitate and contribute to a situation in which such violations by a corporation occur, and so incur international responsibility."

Professor McCorquodale succeeded the Dean of the Sydney Law School, Professor Gillian Triggs, as Director of the BIICL

Professor Robert McCorquodale

Professor McCorquodale became the Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) in January 2008.

He is Professor of International Law and Human Rights, and former Head (Dean) of the School of Law, at the University of Nottingham.

Previously he was a Fellow and Lecturer in Law at St. John's College, University of Cambridge and then at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Before embarking on an academic career he worked as a qualified lawyer with leading law firms in Sydney (Mallesons Stephen Jaques) and London (Herbert Smith).

"Robert's research and teaching interests are in the areas of public international law and human rights law," said the Dean, Professor Gillian Triggs.

"He has published widely on these areas, and has provided advice to governments, corporations, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and peoples concerning human rights issues, including advising on the drafting of new constitutions and conducting human rights training courses."

Professor Gillian Triggs and Dr. Isabel Karpin with Professor McCorquodale

The Sydney Law School Lunchtime Seminar Series is open to staff guests and takes place on a regular basis throughout the year.

The seminars are given by distinguished visitors (often Parsons' fellows) and members of staff.

Left: The Dean of Sydney Law School, Professor Gillian Triggs pictured with Professor McCorquodale and the Director of the Sydney Law School Lunchtime Seminar Series, Dr. Isabel Karpin.

Microsoft Worldwide General Counsel pays visit to Sydney Law School

The Worldwide General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Brad Smith visited the Law School recently to meet with the Dean, Professor Gillian Triggs and deliver a special presentation to students.

Entitled, Globalisation: The Changing Role of Lawyers in a Flat World, the Lecture examined the changing role of lawyers in the Internet age and engaged issues such as intellectual property, privacy, competition law, Internet safety and global citizenship.

Professor Gillian Triggs with Mr. Brad Smith and members of Microsoft Australia

From left to right: Mr. Brad Smith, Professor Gillian Triggs, Dean, Sydney Law School, Mr. John Galligan and Mr. Richard Sauer from Microsoft

Mr. Smith also talked about legal challenges faced by his company as well as his own personal experiences while working on legal and public policy issues with governments around the world.

Mr. Brad Smith, Worldwide General Counsel, Microsoft

Mr. Smith is Microsoft's most senior legal adviser. As Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, he leads the company's worldwide Legal and Corporate Affairs Department, which is responsible for all legal work and for government, industry and community affairs activities.

He is also a member of the Executive Management Committee for Microsoft Corporation.

Mr. Smith's talk followed presentations by London Law Firms, Clifford Chance LLP and Pinsent Masons earlier in the week, in what proved to be a busy first week of Semester One for students wishing to attend Employment Online @ Sydney Law School presentations.

The next presentation is by Investment Bank, UBS on 19th March 2008.

Right: Mr. Brad Smith delivers his presentation

Employment Online @ Sydney Law School.

Professor Gillian Triggs delivers Keynote Address @ Sydney Commemoration of New York Convention

The Dean of Sydney Law School, Professor Gillian Triggs delivered the Keynote Address at the Commemoration event for the 50th Anniversary of the New York Convention, held in Sydney on 28th February 2008 at the offices of Freehills.

Speakers - Sydney Commemoration - New York Convention

Left to right: Professor Gillian Triggs, Dean, Sydney Law School; Malcolm Holmes, President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Australia) Limited; Rashda Rana, President of ArbitralWomen; Sir Gerrard Brennan, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia who acted as chairman; and Bronwyn Lincoln, a Partner in Freehills Melbourne office an inaugural chairperson and co-founder of the Australasian Forum for International Arbitration

The Commemoration marked the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, otherwise known as the New York Convention.

Professor Triggs declared that the New York Convention is " of the success stories of public and private international law."

Professor Gillian Triggs

"This is reflected by the establishment of an effective system for the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.

"Sadly, effective mechanisms for enforcement are almost invariably absent from most treaties. Indeed, one might have assumed that it would be easier to gain enforcement by one national court of the judgement of another state's courts than it would be to enforce the award of private arbitrators whose authority is derived from the agreement of individual parties.

"In fact, the reverse is true," Professor Triggs noted.

Professor Triggs noted that The New York Convention, as a treaty between nation states, raised classic questions of public international law such as the Vienna Convention on the Interpretation of Treaties, the limits of national sovereignty and the principles of substantive international law.

"The Convention also raised the rules of private international law (or conflicts of laws) in giving effect to arbitration agreements through the laws applied by national rather than international courts," Professor Triggs added.

"The lawyers concerned with international commercial arbitration have usually cut their teeth on corporate commercial matters and have come to public international law through transnational contracts."

Professor Triggs concentrated her presentation upon a number of key areas including:

  • The dissection of the core features of the New York Convention including a discussion of when a court may refuse to recognise and enforce and arbitral award
  • A case study of the Ecuador v Occidental Exploration and Production Company case which was still rumbling through the English courts in 2007
  • The issue of public policy as a reason for excluding enforcement of the Convention
  • The Enforcement of practices in the Asian region

A copy of the Keynote Address will be published online shortly.

Gender and the Constitution - Equity and Agency in Comparative Constitutional Design

Sydney Law School is pleased to announce the publication of Gender and the Constitution - Equity and Agency in Comparative Constitutional Design by Associate Professor Helen Irving.

The latest book, by one of Sydney Law School's experts and scholars in Constitutional Law, considers what needs to be taken into account in writing a constitution when gender equity and agency are goals.

It does so by examining principles of constitutionalism, constitutional jurisprudence, and history and applying a “gender audit” to existing constitutions.

Gender and the Constitution

"In 2004, while teaching a course on comparative constitutionalism at Sydney Law School, I had the good fortune to come across a report on constitution making by Vivien Hart, written for the United States Institute of Peace," said Associate Professor Irving

"Vivien’s ideas and mine seemed to run along similar lines. My impromptu correspondence with her led to our collaboration in early 2005 on a UNDP paper on gender equity and constitution making with respect to Iraq. Here, we sought to identify, in a nutshell, all the things that framers of a new constitution would need to consider if gender equity were among their goals.

Associate Professor Helen Irving

"Inspired by this work, I developed a course, Gender and Constitution-Making from Australia to Iraq, which I taught in
spring semester 2006 at Harvard Law School during a year there as visiting professor and as Harvard Chair of Australian Studies.

"In 2007, I taught a modified version of this course at Sydney Law School and picked up many last-minute ideas, as well as much encouragement, from my wonderful Sydney students."

Associate Professor Irving is also the author of To Constitute a Nation: A Cultural History of Australia’s Constitution and Five Things to Know about the Australian Constitution.

She is also the editor of A Woman’s Constitution?: Gender and History in the Australian Commonwealth, The Centenary Companion to Australian Federation, and Unity and Diversity: A National Conversation, among others.

Gender and the Constitution - Equity and Agency in Comparative Constitutional Design is published by Cambridge University Press

For further information:

Gender and the Constitution @ Cambridge University Press Website

United we stand, but divided we apologise

Recent Sydney Law School graduate and Rhodes Scholarship holder, Angela Cummine, contributed an opinion article in the Sydney Morning Herald on the national apology to the Stolen Generations - View Article

Angela is completing an MPhil in International Relations at Oxford, with a view to developing a doctoral thesis with a particular focus on state management and population policy.

Sydney Law School team wins National Round of 2008 Jessup International Law Moot

Sydney Law School team wins National Round of 2008 Jessup International Law Moot

The Sydney Law School team was victorious in the Australian National Rounds of the 2008 Jessup International Law Moot, held in Canberra, on Saturday, 2 February 2008. This achievement provides Sydney with the opportunity to defend its title as the current world champions of the Moot in Washington DC later in the year.

The Sydney team defeated the University of New South Wales in the final in the High Court, presided over by Justice Kiefel. Sydney faced a tough draw, confronting the University of Western Australia in the quarter finals and last year’s Australian winners, the University of Queensland.

Dr. Tim Stephens, Lecturer at the Law School and Faculty adviser to the team reported that the team of Joel Gilbourd, Lisa-Claire Hutchinson, Laura Johnston, Alexandra Meagher and Suzannah Morris all performed at an exceptional level throughout the preliminary and advanced rounds of the competition. Laura Johnston was awarded the prestigious award for best advocate in the final.

“Our thanks and congratulations must be extended to the team’s dedicated coach, Houda Younan, who took considerable time out of her busy practice at the Sydney Bar to coach the team over the summer,” said Dr Stephens.

Graduates drift to Asia...

Sydney Law School alumnus, Kallun Willock (LLB 2005) is profiled in a Business Review Weekly feature on Australians working and studying in Asia. View Article.