Transnational Law and Policy Centre

About our centre

The TLPC is a globally engaged and recognised research centre that creates opportunities for the sustainable and ethical development, implementation and dissemination of transnational law and policy. The Centre creates a focal point for multidisciplinary collaboration within and outside UOW.  

The Centre harnesses existing networks and connections to promote and attract further research collaborations leading to impactful research that drives positive change in transnational law and policy. Our collaborations will include scholars,  policy makers and industry leaders so that we continue to pursue innovations that have a positive and tangible impact for our society.

TLPC research seeks to contribute critically to the achievement of the UN Sustainable  Development Goals (SDGs) through harnessing research collaborations and networks and furthering sustainable and ethical outcomes.   


2024 seminars

South Africa v. Israel before the ICJ: Genocide and Provisional Measures

When: Wednesday, 17 January, 2024, 11.00-11:59pm AEDST 

Where: Zoom


  • Professor Markus Wagner, University of Wollongong
    Markus Wagner is Professor of Law and the Director of the Transnational Law and Policy Centre at University of Wollongong with a focus on international law and international economic law.

  • Professor Adil Haque, Rutgers University
    Professor Adil Ahmad Haque writes on the law and ethics of armed conflict, and the philosophy of international law. 
  • Juliette McIntyre, University of South Australia
    Juliette McIntyre specialises in public international law, human rights and the International Court of Justice.
  • Professor Yuval Shany, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Professor Yuval Shany specialises in international dispute settlement and international humanitarian law.

Find out more about the discussion

2023 seminars

Unveiling the Spectrum of Sentencing Strategies: Insights from the Indian Judicial System

When:  Wednesday, 22 November 2023, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT

Where: Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (UOW Building 67, level 224) and Webex

Speaker: Dr. Jacob Joseph, Assistant Professor & Director (i/c), Centre for Law and Agriculture National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi, Kerala State, India

Abstract: The lecture aims to shed light on the diverse spectrum of sentencing approaches used in the Indian legal landscape. Through a critical analysis of landmark judgments and legislative developments, the lecture will explore how the theories of retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and other sentencing philosophies manifest in sentencing practices and their impact on the Indian criminal justice system. Additionally, the lecture will consider alternative approaches that are emerging in the contemporary Indian legal landscape. The lecture will also investigate the practical challenges faced in the sentencing process. This includes examining evolving trends in sentencing strategies adopted by Indian courts. Moreover, the lecture will address the disparities and challenges within the Indian sentencing framework. By addressing the disparities, the lecture will underscore the need for ongoing reforms and improvements in the Indian criminal justice system. The lecture will conclude by analysing recent legal developments in realm of penal policy and sentencing including the approach taken in the Bills introduced in the Parliament of India to replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

How to deliver regulatory oversight....and be a good human

When: Wednesday 20 September 2023, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT

Where: Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (UOW Building 67, level 224) and Webex

Speaker: Luke Twyford, Queensland Family and Child Commissioner

Abstract: Luke Twyford is the Queensland Family and Child Commissioner, and Chair of the Child Death Review Board. In these roles he is responsible for overseeing the performance of government policy impacting families and conducting critical reviews of complex cases. He was appointed to this independent statutory role after 10 years in the Northern Territory public service where he mainly worked in child protection and youth justice whilst performing short stints responsible for Aboriginal Heritage, Domestic Violence, Housing and Homelessness and other human services. Luke's work in articulating how the youth justice and child protection systems should be reformed made him one of the most quoted sources of evidence in the Northern Territory's Royal Commission into the detention and protection of children. Luke studied law at the University of Wollongong from 1997 to 2004 and he intends to give his raw and challenging reflections on his life journey from university to his current role. He promises to share his failings and learnings and ultimately engage you in his ongoing  journey.  

Territorial and Maritime Disputes in the South China Sea: The Philippine Arbitration against China on the West Philippine Sea

When: Wednesday, 30 August 2023, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT

Where: Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (UOW building 67, level 224) and Webex

Speaker: Associate Professor Lowell Bautista

Abstract: The South China Sea is a highly contested region, characterized by intricate territorial and maritime disputes involving multiple claimants. Control over its strategic waters and resources is fiercely contested, making it a pivotal area of geopolitical tension and concern. Among these claimants, the Philippines has engaged in a landmark arbitration case against China over the disputed area known as the West Philippine Sea. This presentation delves into the background and geopolitical significance of the South China Sea disputes, focusing on the Philippines' decision to seek resolution through international arbitration. Amidst the region's complex geopolitical landscape, the presentation explores the significance of resolving disputes through a rules-based international order, as underscored by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The presentation examines the arbitral award and the implications of the final ruling. It explores the relevance and challenges of international law in resolving territorial disputes in the context of the South China Sea. Moreover, the presentation assesses the impact of the arbitration on Philippine-China bilateral relations and the broader dynamics of regional security and stability.

The Changing Nature of the Use of Orders in Environmental Prosecutions: A Retrograde Step in Achieving Environmental Outcomes?

When: Wednesday, 9 August 2023, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT

Where: Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (UOW building 67, level 224) and Webex

Speaker: Dr. Sarah Wright

Abstract: Over the past 25 years a range of alternative sentencing orders were introduced into NSW environmental laws to expand sentencing options beyond fines and imprisonment, allowing innovative sentencing packages that can achieve punishment, deterrence and environmental outcomes. Environmental payment and project orders allow a monetary penalty that would have been imposed through a fine (reaching consolidated revenue) to be diverted to beneficial environmental projects and purposes. They can achieve positive environmental outcomes and are reparative and restorative in nature.

Environmental payment and project orders were increasing being used instead of a fine, particularly in prosecutions by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (‘EPA’). A recent development in environmental prosecutions is state government regulators, such as the EPA, seeking a moiety: an order that half of the fine amount be paid to the prosecutor. The basis for seeking a moiety is: (1) compensation for enforcement expenses, beyond legal costs and limited investigation costs recoverable pursuant to legislation; and/or (2) to support the prosecutor’s law enforcement activities. However, increased use of moieties means restorative and reparative orders, such as environmental payment and project orders, may be used to a lesser extent. This is because the monetary penalty (or part of it) is sought by way of a fine, with half directed to the prosecutor, rather than as an environmental project or payment. Accordingly, the use of moieties may impact environmental outcomes and the purposes achieved via sentencing.

This paper firstly (re)examines the nature of environmental payment and project orders and the outcomes sought to be achieved in sentencing environmental crimes through use of these orders. Secondly, it examines the purpose of moieties, both historically and within environmental prosecutions. Next, it examines trends in the use of moieties and the impact on the use of environmental payment and project orders, and consequently, achieving environmental outcomes and undoing the purpose behind the introduction of some alternative sentencing orders. Lastly it considers the need for further guidance on the use of moieties in order to balance the various aims sought to be achieved through environmental prosecutions. Guidance from the courts and potential amendments to regulator guidelines and legislation are examined.

Modern Slavery research: Exploring Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Opportunities for Collaboration

When: Wednesday, 3 May 2023, 12:30-1:30 pm AEDT

Where: Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (UOW building 67, level 224) and Webex

Speaker: Jonathon Mackay & Matthew Pepper

Abstract: Modern slavery is a phenomenon arguably emergent from the increasing globalised nature of trade and the incessant pursuit of efficiency. Despite its emerging recognition across several disciplines, the research around this area is often siloed. Jonny and Matt will first discuss several of their concurrent research projects exploring the issue from a supply chain lens and the need for interdisciplinary research into the phenomenon. The next part of the seminar will be an informal, roundtable discussion aiming to generate discourse on the concept of modern slavery with the goal of identifying common interests and establishing area for collaboration across the Faculty. There is no working paper for this seminar.

Human Rights-Based Climate Change Litigation: Opportunities and Challenges

When: Wednesday, 22 March 2023, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT

Where: Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (UOW building 67, level 224) and Webex 

Speaker: Prof. Dr. iur. Martina Caroni, Vice-Rector for Teaching and International Relations. Professor of International, Constitutional and Comparative Law, University of Lucerne

Abstract: The past decade has witnessed a remarkable increase not only in climate change litigation generally, but specifically in human rights-based claims relating to climate change. Such claims argue that the failure of State actors adequately to address the problem of climate change – especially in the form of reduction in their greenhouse-gas emissions – constitute a violation of human rights obligations. Drawing especially on the three climate-change cases currently pending before the European Court of Human Rights the seminar/lecture will address opportunities and challenges of human rights-based climate litigations.

Jurisprudential Variations on the (Filmic) Myth of the Big, Bad Narco across the Mexican-American Border

When: Wednesday, 22 February 2023, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT

Where: Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (UOW building 67, level 224) and Webex 

Speaker: Luis Gomez Romero

Abstract: This paper addresses the relevance of stories (generally) and myths (specifically) in shaping law and our conceptions of justice, as evidenced through the jurisprudential analysis of two films – Sicario (2015) and Ya no estoy aquí (2019) – whose narratives are ingrained upon drug war discourses and practices. Storytelling is central to legal discourses, which are (and have always been) firmly rooted in myth. The mythical substance of law is particularly palpable at the core of the punitive norms that, both in Mexico and the U.S., have forbidden and persecuted drug trafficking since the early 20th century. The representations of drug traffickers across both sides of the border respond to a myth based on a symbolic matrix that produces the social and legal subjects we currently label as narcos. The narco myths actually aggravate the conflict and impair its peaceful solution by framing law enforcement tasks on the prohibition of illegal drugs as a series of timeless battles between good (embodied in civil society and its governmental protectors in Mexico and the U.S.) and an irreducible evil (personified in the infamous traffickers and their allegedly all-powerful cartels). Hollywood narco narratives such as Sicario have ramped up not the power of traffickers, but the violence exercised by the Mexican and American states alike to eradicate the alleged existential threat drug trafficking embodies. Powerful counter-narratives grounded in local knowledges – such as the one developed in Ya no estoy aquí –, however, prove that, from a cultural legal studies perspective, myth is not destiny.

2022 seminars

At the Margins for Globalization: Indigenous Peoples and International Economic Law

Speaker: Professor Sergio Puig, University of Arizona

Date & Venue: Wednesday 3 August 2022, lunch 12-12.30pm, seminar 12.30-1.30pm AEST. Law staffroom, level 2, bldg 67, UOW (for lunch and seminar) and Webex (for seminar)

Abstract: Despite the tremendous progress in the development of scientific knowledge, the understanding of the causes of poverty and inequality, and the role of politics and governance in addressing modern challenges, issues such as social exclusion, poverty, marginalization and despair continue to be a reality across the world - and most often impact Indigenous Peoples. This seminar explores how Indigenous Peoples are affected by globalization, and the culture of individual choice without responsibility that it promotes, while addressing what can be done about it. Though international trade and investment agreements are unlikely to go away, the inclusion of Indigenous rights provisions has made a positive difference.

New Responses to the Legitimacy Crisis of International Institutions: The Role of ‘Civil Society’ and the Rise of the Principle of Participation of ‘The Most Affected’ in International Institutional Law

Speaker: Professor Jochen von Bernstorff, University of Tübingen

Date & Venue: Wednesday 25 May 2022, 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (or 9am Central European Summer Time), Zoom

Abstract: The article offers a description and assessment of the most important discursive strategies used to enhance and justify various models of ‘civil-society participation’ in international institutions since the late 19th century. It starts from the assumption that the two main rationales for, or concepts of, ‘civil-society’ participation are functionalism and democratization. The article also notes that, as an offshoot of the democratization rationale, a new empirical and discursive 21st-century trend has partially replaced classic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with so-called ‘affected person’s organizations’ in international institutions. In this context, the article claims that the field of international institutional law is currently witnessing the rise of a principle of participation of ‘the most affected’. This shift arguably is an institutional strategy to respond to a profound legitimacy crisis of both international NGOs and the so-called ‘global governance’ structures shaped over the last 30 years. Against the backdrop of various theoretical approaches to the problem of representation and affectedness in political philosophy and international law, the article critically assesses if, and to what extent, the involvement of ‘the most affected’ in international organizations can alter the legitimacy resources of international law and its institutions.

Multi-territorial Management of Music Copyright

Speaker: Dr Qinqing Xu, Durham University

Date & Venue: Wednesday 23 March 2022, 9-10am AEDT, Zoom

Abstract: International music copyright licensing is mainly accomplished by bilateral agreements (or ‘reciprocal representation agreements’) between collective management organisations (CMOs) around the world. In addition to these negotiations, attempts have been made to utilise a global music database to assist in licensing and guaranteeing creators’ incomes, however with mixed results.
This paper discusses the challenging issues in the international cooperation of music copyright licensing among CMOs and explores the potential for global music licensing systems within a digital environment. This paper examines the current modes of international cooperation among CMOs and discusses features, difficulties and failures of attempts to establish global licensing systems. Case studies include the International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) developed by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (ICSAC) that operates with limited success, the global repertoire database (GRD) which ceased operations in 2014 and the International Copyright Enterprise (ICE) in Europe.
As this paper argues that an effective worldwide licensing system will better protect music creators and promote continued music development, it explores the renewed possibility of setting up such a system. In doing so, it identifies the barriers that should be considered in the development of that system, including the cooperation among the CMOs, among others.

When Perfect is the Enemy of Good: Rethinking How the International Economic Law Assesses the Validity of Non-Economic Measures

Speakers: Dr Elizabeth Sheargold

Date & Venue: Wednesday 27 April 2022, 12.30pm AEST, Zoom 

Recording: Watch 27 April 2022 seminar

Abstract: One of the major causes of backlash against international economic law and institutions - including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) - has been how these regimes impact the ability of states to regulate for non-economic public interests, such as the protection of the environment and public health. In the past decade international economic law has been used to challenge a broad range of social measures, including tobacco restrictions, the phase out of coal-fired electricity generation, food labelling requirements, vehicle emission standards and protections for endangered species. The WTO rules and many international investment agreements include exceptions that allow states to defend challenged social policy measures, but typically these defences require the state to prove that they are legitimate and "necessary" social policy measures. The tests used to assess the legitimacy and necessity of social policy measures often involve a detailed consideration of whether the measure adopts a rational and consistent approach to achieving its purpose, and impose an increasingly high standard. There is an assumption underlying these tests that, if a measure is not an optimal means of pursuing its objective, then it is not a legitimate social policy. However, the realities of government decision-making are that many policies which are welfare-enhancing are not optimal, for at least three reasons: (1) policies need to take account of a broad range of competing stakeholders and interests; (2) many of the problems of contemporary society, such as climate change and the prevention of non-communicable diseases, require complex and multifaceted regulatory responses; and (3) domestic political realities may require compromise in order for any action to be taken. This presentation argues that both adjudicators and treaty drafters need to take account of these realities, and ensure that international economic law allows space for social policy measures that are good - even if they are not perfect.

The Invasion of Ukraine series

The TLPC co-hosts a series of webinars with the Sydney Centre for International Law on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in early 2022. Our first webinar analysed the causes of the invasion and the applicable rules of the ongoing conflict, second webinar discussed the legal, political and personal consequences while the third focused on the issues facing refugees.

Panel and view Causes and Consequences webinar

Australia – India Free Trade Agreement   

The TLPC has co-hosted a conference on a future Australia – India Free Trade Agreement. This conference, jointly organized with the Centre for India Australia Studies at Jindal Global University, the Centre for Trade and Investment Law at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, the Asia Pacific Research Centre at the University of Newcastle, and the South Asia International Economic Law Network. 

Watch conference videos

Transnational Law and Policy Centre Journal Club

TLPC has established a reading group by the name ‘Transnational Law and Policy Center Journal Club’ (TLPC JC). The club is a forum for academics and doctoral candidates to share and develop ideas within the field of transnational law.

See more about the TLPC JC

Connect with TLPC

For further information please contact us.