All future 2018 events

View All Summary Expand all
The Need for Speed - Is International Arbitration Becoming Overly Fixated with Efficiency?   View Summary
16 October 2018


Please click here to register


The annual International Arbitration lecture, presented by Clayton Utz and supported by Sydney Law School, brings together key figures in international arbitration and the Australian business community to explore the real issues that could affect their international operations, and how international dispute resolution can contribute to their bottom line.

2018 will mark the 17th anniversary of the International Arbitration Lecture series, which continues to attract guest speakers from the four corners of the world to give their insights into the challenges facing international arbitration. 

This year's lecture will be presented by Robin Oldenstam at the Federal Court of Australia, Melbourne.

The Need for Speed - Is International Arbitration Becoming Overly Fixated with Efficiency?”

Efficiency is an important factor in arbitration and likely key to its long term survival as a favoured form for resolving international commercial disputes. At the same time efficiency needs to be tempered by basic procedural principles, such as party autonomy and due process, as well as by general considerations of fairness.

Recent years have seen tendencies to push the efficiency factor to the extent that it may start to infringe upon such principles and considerations. The lecture will offer examples of such tendencies and suggest that it may be time to push back.

About the speaker
Robin Oldenstam specialises in arbitration and civil litigation and is the head of Mannheimer Swartling’s International Arbitration Practice. He is also the current Swedish member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration.

Federal Court of Australia
Court 8A
Federal Court Building
305 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3056
Law & Business Downtown Seminar: Sketching the Australian Activist Landscape   View Summary
23 October 2018



Please note: Online registrations must be paid by Mastercard or VISA. For alternative payment methods, please contact

Sketching the Australian Activist Landscape: The Nature and Implications of Contemporary Australian Shareholder Activism

Speaker: Tim Bowley, The University of Sydney Law School

Shareholder activism attracts significant attention in the Australian financial press and is widely regarded as a major phenomenon in Australian corporate governance. In recent years, there have been calls for law reform to address shareholder activism - in some cases to facilitate it, in other cases to regulate it more closely. In order to understand the need for, and implications of, such reforms, it is important to have a clear understanding of the nature of shareholder activism in the Australian context.

In this seminar, Tim Bowley will present the results of his research project, which analyses publicly-disclosed activist interventions in recent years relation to companies in the S&P/ASX 500 index. What emerges from this research is a more nuanced picture of the nature of shareholder activists, their objectives and tactics, and the types of companies they target.

In this seminar, Tim will discuss the implications of his research for the regulation of shareholder activism in Australia and for corporate governance practices more generally.

About the speaker
Tim Bowley is currently a doctoral candidate at Sydney Law School, where he is engaged in research on the regulatory implications of shareholder activism. Prior to commencing his doctoral studies, Tim was a partner in a national Australian law firm with a practice focused on corporate advice and mergers and acquisitions, and has also practised in London. In 2017 Tim received Sydney Law School's Walter Reid research scholarship and undertook a doctoral exchange at Harvard Law School, where he researched the potential implications of developments in US shareholder activism for Australia. Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge.

Commentator: Ewen Crouch AM, Allens

Chair: Dr Olivia Dixon, The University of Sydney Law School


Registration (GST inclusive)
Full fee: $77
Sydney Law School alumni: $66
Sydney Law School full time student: $44
Group 3+: $55


CPD Points: 1


The Law & Business Downtown seminar series is organised by Professor Jennifer Hill, Director of the Law & Business Program, Professor of Corporate Law, The University of Sydney Law School.


2018 Paul Byrne SC Memorial Lecture: Our First Nations People in Custody: A National Disgrace    View Summary
24 October 2018



Please click here to register 

2018 Paul Byrne SC Memorial Lecture: Our First Nations People in Custody; A National Disgrace  

Speaker: Phillip Boulten SC 

About the Lecture
Indigenous Australians are imprisoned at arguably the highest rate of imprisonment of any group of people in the world. About a quarter of all Australian prisoners are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. They are about 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-indigenous Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 24 times more likely to detained in a juvenile detention centre than non-indigenous children.

These statistics are well known and understood. There have been Royal Commissions, Commissions of Inquiry, numerous reports and investigations. The magnitude of the disparity is manifest - and disgraceful. This year's Paul Byrne memorial lecture will focus on why this disparity exists and what can be done to ameliorate it.

About the Speaker
Phillip Boulten is a senior criminal barrister practising at the Sydney Bar from Forbes Chambers. He appears in cases at all levels of the criminal justice system, principally in NSW but also in other jurisdictions. 
He appeared in the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT as senior counsel for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. He is the Chair of the Indigenous Issues Committee of the Australian Bar Association, Co-Chair of the NSW Bar Association's Working Group on the Over-representation of Indigenous People in Custody and a member of the Law Council's Criminal Law Committee. He is a past President of the NSW Bar Association and a former member of the executive of the Australian Bar Association.

Previous speakers include:
2017 - Terry O'Gorman
2016 - Stephen Odgers SC 
2015 - The Hon Justice Virginia Bell AC
2014 - The Hon. J D Heydon AC QC
2013 - The Hon. M Gleeson AC QC

About Paul Byrne SC
This is the seventh Paul Byrne SC Memorial Lecture honouring Paul Byrne SC, who had a life long interest in criminal law and the criminal justice system, as well being an active participant and generous supporter of the Institute of Criminology at the Sydney Law School. Paul Byrne SC graduated in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney, and worked with the Public Solicitor's Office as a solicitor. He became a barrister in 1979, and was appointed a public defender. In 1983 he was awarded a Master of Laws degree with First Class Honours, and was awarded a University Medal. He was appointed Director of the Criminal Law Review Division and a Commissioner of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission. In 1995 he took silk and continued an outstanding career as an advocate in courts at all levels.

The Paul Byrne Memorial Fund
The Paul Byrne Memorial Fund has been set up to honour and continue Paul's interest in the criminal justice system by supporting the ongoing activities of the Institute of Criminology, such as lectures, seminars, publications, and awards. Attendees of the Paul Byrne SC Memorial Lecture are warmly invited to make a donation to The Paul Byrne SC Memorial Fund. Gifts to The Paul Byrne SC Memorial Fund support the activities of the Institute of Criminology and other activities in the field of criminal law at Sydney Law School, in memory of the late Paul Byrne SC.

CPD Points: 1.5

This event is proudly hosted by the Institute of Criminology, Sydney Law School, The University of Sydney, highlighting the Institute's support of critical criminal justice research, practice, policy and debate.

JSI Seminar Series: Economic Liberty and the Fragmentation of Contract Law   View Summary
25 October 2018



Economic Liberty and the Fragmentation of Contract Law

Speaker: Arie Rosen, legal theorist and Director, New Zealand Centre for Legal Theory

This paper reflects on the limited attachment of liberal democracies to economic liberty, as evident in the fragmented landscape of contemporary contract law. Its first part is dedicated to a theoretical analysis of the multiplicity of contractual regimes and the special place reserved to general contract law in this context. Based on this analysis, it observes that the structure of fragmentation does not protect either the scope or strength of economic liberty in contracts. Rather, the attachment to economic liberty takes the shape of a defeasible presumption in favour of freedom of contract: economic liberty is entrenched in the doctrines of general contract law, and limitations on this liberty normally take the form of exceptions to the general rule. The second part of the paper reflects on the normative principle that would best characterise and justify this presumption. It contemplates the adequacy of the traditional presumption in favour of liberty as a possible justification and rejects it as unhelpful for this purpose. Instead, the paper suggests an alternative presumption in favour of a particular abstraction of the person as a primary liberal principle.

About the speaker

Arie Rosen is a legal theorist and a director of the New Zealand Centre for Legal Theory. His interests span general jurisprudence, constitutional theory, and philosophy of private law. His published work covers methodological question in jurisprudence, the theory of authority, statutory interpretation, and the relations between the concept and the nature of law. His current research on democracy and contract law is funded by a Marsden Grant, awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

CPD Points: 1.5


Sydney Ideas - Why climate change law is a hot debate   View Summary
30 October 2018

Click here for online registration

Australia needs imaginative thinking and ‘hot’ law

We need to think outside the square to catch up with the rest of the world on climate change law

About the event

Historically Australia has led the world in the development of robust environmental laws. And yet, while there have been some notable exceptions, in relation to climate change law, Australia has lagged behind the rest of the world.

In moving forward, any meaningful legal response to governing climate change has three fundamental and interrelated aspects. The first is to take the complex nature of climate change as an environmental problem seriously. Climate change is a classic ‘hot’ situation - it is polycentric, involves scientific predictions, and is a product of socio-political arrangements. Second, as a ‘hot’ situation, it requires the advancement of legal frameworks that respond to the complexity of climate change as a problem.

These frameworks are a form of ‘hot law’ and their development requires the expansion of legal imagination. Numerous examples of this can be seen across the world, including the legal creation of markets and the emergence of new types of legal obligations and rights.

These developments do not occur in isolation and also require integration into the wider legal order. Third, given all of this, there is a need to develop institutional and legal capacity along a range of different dimensions.

The speakers

  • Keynote speaker: Professor Liz Fisher is Professor of Environmental Law at the University of Oxford’s Corpus Christi College and Faculty of Law. She researches in the areas of environmental law and administrative law,exploring the interrelationship between law, administration and regulatory problemsin different legal cultures. Her 2007 book,Risk Regulation and Administrative Constitutionalism, won the SLS Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship 2008.
  • Chair: Professor Rosemary Lyster is Professor of Climate and Environmental Law at The University of Sydney Law School. Rosemary is an international leader in the area of Climate Justice and Disaster Law. She published her monograph Climate Justice and Disaster Law with Cambridge University Press in 2016. Her new co-edited book entitled Climate Disaster Law: Barriers and Opportunities was published by Edward Elgar in June 2018. Rosemary has published four other Climate and Environmental Law books with Cambridge University Press and is the lead co-author of Environmental and Planning Law in New South Wales, now in its 4th edition.In 2015 Rosemary was appointed by the Victorian Government to a three-person Independent Review Committee (IRC) to review the state's Climate Change Act 2010to place Victoria as a leader on climate change. The government passed its new Climate Change Act in 2017.

Click here for online registration

CPD Points = 1.5

This Sydney Ideas event is proudly co-hosted by the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law at Sydney Law School

BOOK LAUNCH: The Pixelated Prisoner: Prison Video Links, Court 'Appearance' and the Justice Matrix   View Summary
1 November 2018



BOOK LAUNCH: The Pixelated Prisoner: Prison Video Links, Court 'Appearance' and the Justice Matrix

Author: Dr Carolyn McKay, Sydney Law School

Guest speaker: Professor Katherine Biber, faculty of Law, UTS

Technological linkages between justice and law enforcement agencies are radically altering criminal process and access to justice for prisoners. Video links, integral to an increasingly networked justice matrix, enable the custodial appearance of prisoners in remote courts and are becoming the dominant form of court appearance for incarcerated defendants. This book argues that the incorporation of such technologies into prisons is not without consequence: technologies make a critical difference to prisoners' experiences of criminal justice.

By focusing on the prison endpoint and engaging with the population most affected by video links - the prisoners themselves - this book interrogates the legal and conceptual shifts brought about by the technology's displacement of physical court appearance. The central argument is that custodial appearance has created a heightened zone of demarcation between prisoners and courtroom participants. This demarcation is explored through transformed spatial, corporeal and visual relationships. Cumulative demarcations challenge procedural justice and profoundly recompose prisoners' legal experiences in ways not necessarily recognised by policy-makers.


Information about the book

About the author

Dr Carolyn McKay is a Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School where she teaches Criminal law and Civil and Criminal Procedure. She is Deputy Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology and a member of the Sydney Law School Social Justice Committee.


Constitutional Reform in Sri Lanka: Another Missed Opportunity?   View Summary
1 November 2018



Speaker: Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne, President's Counsel. Member of Parliament

Sri Lanka has both concentrated and dispersed ethnic groups with the majority Sinhalese being a minority in two of its nine provinces. Although limited devolution was granted to all provinces in 1987 in response to an armed Tamil secessionist movement, successive Governments have used every conceivable means to take back powers. In the current constitutional reform process, strong demands for meaningful devolution have been made by the Sinhala-dominated provinces, indicating that devolution is seen also as an instrument for balanced regional growth, a welcome development. Sinhala nationalists oppose devolution, equating it with federalism which is perceived by many as a springboard for secession. The challenge is to provide for effective and meaningful devolution to address both the national question and demands for balanced regional development, while assuaging fears of possible secession.

Moderate Tamil leaders seem flexible and do not oppose anti-secessionist safeguards but want constitutional guarantees for powers devolved; the two main parties of the South are in a unity government - such a stellar combination may not come again. However, the initial optimism has waned, mainly due to the two parties being unable to agree on an extent of devolution that is acceptable to the Tamils as well. Another thorny issue is the nature of the executive; while main slogan at the 2015 Presidential elections was a return to a parliamentary form of government, the two main parties are now not agreed on the powers and method of election of the President.

The Sri Lankan story has been one of missed opportunities, on the part of both the Sinhalese and Tamils. Now, with the two main parties of the South unable to agree on two of the most crucial issues, will it be another missed opportunity?

About the author

Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne counts 41 years as a practising lawyer in Sri Lanka. In 2001, he was appointed President's Counsel, equivalent to a Queen's Counsel in England. The main areas of his legal practice are constitutional law, human rights, administrative law and criminal law.

He holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Post-graduate Institute of Management, University of Sri Jayewardenepura and was awarded the Ph. D. degree by the University of Peradeniya for his thesis titled "Fundamental Rights in Sri Lanka". The thesis has been published with a second edition.

Dr. Wickramaratne served as Consultant in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs from 1996 to 2001. He was Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs in 2004 and from December 2005 to February 2008. He was a member of the Government's Constitution Drafting Team that drafted the Constitution Bill of 2000. He chaired a committee appointed by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Rights to draft a new constitutional Bill of Rights.

From January to July 2015, he was Senior Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on Constitutional Affairs and played a key role in the drafting of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Dr. Wickramaratne is a member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka since August 2015. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly which is tasked with preparing a new draft Constitution and co-chairs its Management Committee. He is also a member of the Parliament's Committee on Standing Orders.

Dr. Wickramaratne has extensive experience in the legal sector of Laos, having worked there for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Union and Swedish Sida over the past 16 years. His work includes being Chief Technical Advisor in the UNDP's Legal Sector Preparatory Assistance Project in the Ministry of Justice, Team Leader of the UNDP's Legal Sector Evaluation, consultant to International Law Project, Consultant to the Regional Workshop on Treaties for countries of South-East Asia, Legal Advisor to the UNODC's human trafficking project for three years and human rights expert for activities funded by the European Union from 2015 to date.

He is a Director of the Institute for Constitutional Studies, a research organization working on constitutional issues including constitutionalism, devolution, power-sharing and human rights.

Dr. Wickramaratne has written extensively on legal and constitutional issues and presented numerous papers at international and local events. His latest publication is "Towards Democratic Governance in Sri Lanka: A Constitutional Miscellany" - a collection of papers on constitutional law, power-sharing, human rights and international law.


CPD Points: 1


This seminar is sponsored by the Sydney Centre for International Law.


JSI Seminar Series: Finnis Africanus: Natural Law at the End of Empire   View Summary
1 November 2018



Finnis Africanus: Natural Law at the End of Empire

Speaker: Dr Coel Kirby, Sydney Law School

This talk will make the argument for bestowing John Mitchell Finnis with the agnomen 'Africanus'. Like Scipio before him, he won his greatest victory in Africa. But while Scipio conquered Carthaginian and Numidian armies in what is now Tunisia, Finnis claimed victory of a rather different kind in Malawi. He wrote most of Natural Law and Natural Rights during his two years at the Law School of Chancellor College in Zomba before returning triumphant to Oxford. But this is not the only reason for conferring 'Africanus' on Finnis. The agnomen also recognizes that he could only complete his greatest triumph—a positivist-inflected revision of natural law jurisprudence—after conceiving of a dystopian vision of the collapse of millennia of Christian imperial rule. By historicizing Natural Law and Natural Rights, we can better appreciate it as a radical intervention that promised both a blueprint and a manifesto for a new world (legal) order grounded in the Catholic faith.

To understand Natural Law and Natural Rights only as a neo-Thomist critique of Hart's legal positivism is to misunderstand the politics of this jurisprudential intervention. An intellectual history of Finnis' early thought shows the genesis of the book in two complementary concerns. His first concern, as a Catholic, was how one should and could respond to the existential threats to humanity in the 1970s—namely, communist revolution and Malthusian overpopulation (especially in the 'Third World' of Africa and Asia), and nuclear annihilation. The new challenge for a natural lawyer in the mid-twentieth century was how to pursue a principled moral response to these threats in a world dominated by secular legal orders. His second concern, as a public law scholar, was how to discipline the exercise of public power in legal orders grounded on secular values. Finnis began his inquiry by using the demise of legal orders in the former British colonies to revolution and communism to formulate a critique of legal positivism. He took cases like Rhodesia and Pakistan not as the illustrations of colonial contradictions, but as aberrations of his 'central cases' of constitutional government: ideally, a homogenous community unified by common moral values grounded in practical reason—and, ultimately, God. The talk will conclude by situating the story of Finnis Africanus in a larger project: an intellectual history of jurisprudence in the context of empire and its aftermath.

About the speaker

Coel Kirkby joined the Sydney Law School in 2018. He was elected the Smuts Research Fellow in Commonwealth Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2017. Before that he was a McKenzie Fellow at Melbourne Law School and Endeavour Fellow at UNSW. Coel is both a historian of the legal thought and practice of British imperialism, and a comparative constitutional scholar concerned with its legacies in postcolonial states. He has also written and worked on contemporary constitutional reform projects from Fiji and Tuvalu to Victoria and South Africa.

CPD Points: 1.5


Protecting children from unhealthy food marketing: Learning from the past, ideas for the future   View Summary
7 November 2018



Protecting children from unhealthy food marketing: Learning from the past, ideas for the future

In light of rising rates of childhood obesity, regulation of unhealthy food marketing to children remains a hot topic, with the UK Government being the latest to consider stricter advertising controls.

In contrast to the UK, Australia relies on two food industry initiatives to regulate unhealthy food marketing to children, which were introduced in 2009. Approaching the ten year anniversary of these initiatives, this event reflects on the state of play on food advertising regulation in Australia: what's the evidence linking unhealthy food marketing to children's diet-related health, what are the key forms of regulation applying to unhealthy food marketing to children, and have they been effective?

Hosted by Cancer Council NSW, the Food Governance Node, and Sydney Health Law, this event will feature expert presentations on:

- The latest research on how unhealthy food is marketed, and the link to children's health;

- The food industry's two voluntary initiatives;

- The Federal Court's decision in ACCC v Heinz and how consumer law interacts with food marketing; and

- How the state government can contribute to reducing children's exposure to unhealthy food advertising.


- Research on food marketing and children's health - the state of play: Associate Professor Bridget Kelly, University of Wollongong

- Consumer law and food marketing in ACC v Heinz: Adrian Coorey, ACCC, and Jane Martin, Obesity Policy Coalition

- The food industry's initiatives on marketing to children: Geoffrey Annison, Australian Food and Grocery Council, and Jane Martin, Obesity Policy Coalition

- State government regulation of food advertising on transport infrastructure: Wendy Watson, Cancer Council NSW, and Emily Harper, ACT Health


Time: 6-8pm (canapes from 5.30pm)

See below for venue and other information.

This event is proudly hosted by Sydney Health Law at The University of Sydney Law School, the Food Governance Node at Charles Perkins Centre, and Cancer Council NSW.


Other events of interest:

Food Governance Conference

3-5 July 2019

Further information and register your interest


Event information:

The Supreme Court of NSW Annual Commercial and Corporate Law Conference   View Summary
20 November 2018



Directors' Duties, Corporate Culture and Corporate Governance

2018 is proving to be a year of pivotal developments in thinking about the role and responsibilities of Australian company directors. Traditional law requires directors to act in the best interests of the company's equity investors.

But some public commentary asserts additional, overriding social duties to other stakeholders, including customers, employees, and the environment. Some commentators claim that directors' duties are owed to the public and not merely to shareholders, that directors are accountable for their organisation's corporate culture, and that a company conducts business in reliance on a social licence to operate which can be forfeited by bad behaviour.

Such claims have been made not only in the media, but also by regulators. They were included in some proposals announced by the ASX Corporate Governance Council in May 2018. They appear to be pressing issues before the Financial Services Royal Commission. How should the legal community respond to these ideas, and what advice should be given to corporate clients and their directors?"


Associate Professor Jason Harris, UTS

Professor Dimity Kingsford Smith, UNSW

Shannon Finch, King & Wood Mallesons

Kevin McCann AM FAICD, Independent Non-Executive Chairman and Director


More information including the program


Registration (inc. GST):



CPD Points: 4


This event is co-sponsored by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, The Law Society of New South Wales and the Ross Parsons Centre of Commercial, Corporate and Taxation Law of the University of Sydney Law School.