Comparative and Global Law Program
This program mainly covers comparative legal studies. They increasingly involve international law, either indirectly (as national legal systems are themselves influenced by international law) or directly (as national systems are compared against international regimes underpinned by international law). Such comparative studies also increasingly contribute to the project of building up "global law". One example is the identification of common themes or patterns among national legal systems, even if not (yet) formalised through international instruments. Another is the refinement of "the new lex mercatoria", based primarily on the norms developed by private commercial parties, either substantive (especially to govern contractual relationships) or procedural (especially to apply in cross-border arbitration).
Associates currently involved in this program have particular interests in private norms and law (contracts, torts, family relationships, health issues, corprations, financial products), while generally exploring the surrounding public interests. They include Professor Vivenne Bath, Professor Belinda Bennett, Dr Simon Butt, Dr Peter Kwon, Professor Luke Nottage (convenor), Associate Professor David Rolph, Andrew Tuch, and Associate Professor Alex Ziegert.
They are also involved in teaching many courses involving such topics and themes. Undergraduate electives include Comparative Jurisprudence, Chinese Law, Japanese Law, and International Commercial Transactions. Postgraduate courses include (among many others) International Business Law, Health Law, Law and Investment in Asia, and Consumer Contracts and Product Defects. The Program also supports the student moot team that competes (and, in 2006 and 2007, won) the Intercollegiate Arbitration and Negotiation Competition held every December in Tokyo.
Current or recently completed grants have supported research into shifts in Japanese commercial regulation, consumer credit, product safety, and the spread of infectious diseases. Publications, including public Submissions, are listed in the Centre’s Annual Reports; and many works by individual Associates can be found and freely downloaded via the Social Science Research Network.
Associates of this program and Visitors contribute to the Centre’s Seminar Progamme.
The program was launched with a CLE Seminar, co-hosted by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, on "International Arbitration and Mediation: Potential and Pitfalls" held on 10 October 2007. This dealt with the contentious issue of whether and how international arbitrators should seek to facilitate settlement of commercial disputes ("Arb-Med"), one area where a “global standard” remains elusive (click here for a report). The Seminar came the day after the 6th Clayton Utz / University of Sydney International Arbitration Lecture, delivered on this topic by Prof Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler (University of Geneva).
A second major CLE seminar was held on 25 June 2008 on "The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts: What Do They Mean for Australia?" The Hon LJ Priestley QC introduced Professor Michael Joachim Bonell (University of Rome I), a major driving force behind these Principles. Prof Bonell examined three major ways to expand their already extensive usage in negotiating, drafting and resolving cross-border contractual disputes. Justice Paul Finn (Federal Court of Australia) and Adj Prof Donald Robertson (Freehills) added comments. Professor Luke Nottage later wrote some afterthoughts. Updated papers were published as a SCIL Working Paper and then in the Australian International Law Journal.
This SCIL Program also supports the activities of the International Academy of Comparative Law. In particular, we sent National Reporters on Australian law for diverse topics selected for the Academy's major Congress held in Washington DC in July 2010. Professor Nottage, Professor Cheryl Saunders (Melbourne Law School) and Justice James Douglas (Supreme Court of Queensland) are administrative convenors for the Academy in Australia.
Comments about the program are welcome, as are possibilities for research collaboration. Please contact or .
- Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration
- Australian Forum for International Arbitration
- The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Australian Branch)
- Australian Network for Japanese Law
- East Asia Forum- Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific
- TransLex (online research and codification platform for transnational commercial law)