Book launch: Hashtag Jurisprudence
Speakers: Prof Penny Crofts (UTS) and Dr Cassandra Sharp (UOW)
Date & Venue: Wednesday 2 November 2022, 12-1.30pm AEDT (12-12.30pm for nibblies and 12.30pm-1.30pm for the proceedings)
Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (room 224, level 2, building 67, UOW) from 12pm and Webex from 12.30pm
Abstract: Hashtag Jurisprudence offers a theory of law that binds together the experience of terror, an encounter with legality, and the expression of emotion each within the narrative forms of social media. Using thought-provoking case studies of terrorist attacks between 2014 and 2018 from around the world, the book examines how social media has quickly become the new forum for members of the public to express their opinions on current law and justice. It further demonstrates the significant impact that comments on social media platforms can have on social justice issues and activism.
Drawing conceptually upon a cultural legal studies framework that recognises law at the heart of everyday life, the book draws attention to the affective and cognitive impact of terrorism on subtle (and not so subtle) perceptions of legality in the everyday public consciousness. Analysing a suite of terror event case studies, the book moves progressively through an argument that law and social media are contingent (working together to shape legal discourse).
With a view to directing attention more acutely to how emotional narratives on social media are emblematic of the active role of legality in our culture, the book demonstrates how it is possible for legal narratives to be constructed and curated from the social media hashtag milieu. Its methodological features are truly interdisciplinary – drawn from cultural studies, linguistics, and framing theory – and integrates them to contextualise law within wider cultural processes, shining the light on the ambiguities, uncertainties, and contradictions inherent within law’s cultural forms. In developing a ‘hashtag jurisprudence’ the book suggests that social media is an important avenue for exploring everyday perceptions of justice, legality and law’s legitimacy.
"A Ghostly Presence": Dead Letters and the Australian Constitution
Speakers: Dr Niamh Kinchin and Dr Ryan Kernaghan, UOW
Date & Venue: Wednesday 26 October 2022, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT
Dual delivery: Law Staffroom (UOW bldg 67, level 2) and Webex
Abstract: An essential element of constitutionalism is understanding the history of a constitution. Rather than examining past events in isolation, a consideration of context that develops and lives, rather than stagnates and dies on a constitution’s original meaning, is important. That history and context provides stories that tell us as much about a nation’s identity as it does about a constitutional section, chapter or principle in isolation. So, we suggest that a constitutional narrative around the ‘dead letter’ is about the beginning and the middle, rather than just the ends at which we find ourselves.
A ‘dead letter’ is a constitutional provision that has become obscure or redundant. Constitutional provisions become dead letters for various reasons, including legal interpretation, social influences and political factors. When constitutional provisions devolve into ‘dead letters’, they become de facto redundant without de jure constitutional change, and are largely forgotten. When this happens, we lose more than constitutional meaning, stories that form part of the narrative of nation-building are also lost. These are stories of judicial disagreements, social upheavals, global developments and political machinations. In the Australian context, the most famous ‘dead letter’ of the past five years – the citizenship saga surrounding s 44 – reflects the extent to which ‘dead letters’, despite ostensibly dormant, continuously warn of their potential to unsettle assumptions about a Constitution and its role in law and politics.
By analysing interpretations by the High Court, in addition to the Australian Constitution’s political, cultural, historical and international contexts, especially in light of human rights, we ask the question: is there life to be breathed into the redundant? To coin a phrase from Justice Stephen Gageler, constitutional ‘dead letters’ end up exerting a ‘ghostly presence’ in the Constitution. It is this ghostly presence and their rich stories, long forgotten and waiting to see the light of day again, that we seek to tell.
Student Transitions: From Law School to Profession
Moderator: Dr Niamh Kinchin
- Ammy Lewis, Manager, Industrial Relations, Deloitte Australia
- Shae Mitchell, Partner, Hansons Lawyers
- Boston Edwards, Aboriginal Child Protection Caseworker, NSW Department of Communities & Justice
- Dr Romina Santos Reyftman, Pro Bono Leader & International Lawyer, Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich
- Hannah Stepan, Solicitor, Elliot May Lawyers
Date & Venue: Wednesday 5 October 2022, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT Dual delivery: Law staffroom (room 224, level 2, building 67, UOW) and Webex
Abstract: We often talk about student transitions from high school to university, or even throughout a degree, but what about the transition from university to professional employment? In this round table, we hear from alumni who have transitioned from law school to the work environment. We will discuss challenges and opportunities and seek to answer a fundamental question: ‘Did law school prepare you for professional practice?’ This Teaching and Learning seminar is an opportunity for a genuine conversation with alumni and students to help reflect on curriculum, assessment, skills development and law graduate qualities.
Film discussion on decolonising the curriculum
Speakers: Joel Keen will introduce the discussion
Date & Venue: Wednesday 31 August 2022, lunch 12-12.30pm, discussion 12.30-1.30pm AEST at Woolyungah Indigenous Centre, Bldg 30, UOW (in G06 or the yarning circle outside, depending on the weather)
From obscurity to ubiquity: The impacts of technology on law in Australia
Speakers: Dr Mark Brady, Charles Darwin University
Date & Venue: Wednesday 17 August 2022, 12.30pm AEST, Zoom
Recording: Watch 17 August 2022 seminar
Abstract: As technology becomes ever more ubiquitous it impacts society to an increasing degree. Often discussions around law and technology center on the so-called ‘law lag’ where the law is seen as somehow lagging technology and needing to catch up to new innovations in technology. In practice this does not appear to always be accurate. At the fundamental level Law itself can be viewed as a technology designed to manage people and things and the relationship between both. It is in this space that law may instead be located as a reactive system relative to modern technology that operates after the fact. In the lunchtime seminar Dr Mark Brady will look at the legal and social implications of technology in Australia. From autonomous vehicles to killer robots and legal attempts to 'manage’ technology, this general discussion will canvas many aspects of the emerging autonomy for robotic artificial intelligence in Australia and how it affects the law and vice versa.
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.
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.
UOW’s Law Student Pledge: A ‘Part of Something Bigger’ or ‘Mere Moralistic Puffery’
Speakers: Professor Trish Mundy, Dr Kate Tubridy, John Littrich and Karina Murray
Date & Venue: Wednesday 6 April 2022, 12.30-1.30pm AEST, UOW: Bldg 67 Rm 203 and Webex
Abstract: In 2017, the School of Law at the University of Wollongong introduced a Law Student Pledge to the incoming first year student cohort. The Pledge was the first of its kind for a law school in Australia.
The Pledge was designed as an important symbolic message to students that their career as a legal professional begins from the day they enter law school. It invited them to commit to core values, attitudes and practices that are seen as important to their developing professional and ethical identity and meeting the standards expected of them as future lawyers.
Planned not only as a curriculum enhancement, the research team was committed to an iterative and reflective process to assess and improve the usefulness of the Pledge. This presentation reports on learnings following the implementation of the Pledge over 5 years and reflects on its impact on shaping students’ sense of professional identity and belonging.
As an empirical project, this research incorporates both the student voice, captured through survey and focus groups, as well as the academic perspective, via the methodology of reflective practice. Additionally, the research team has presented on the Pledge both in Australia and overseas to seek feedback and input from a range of academics and lawyers.
This presentation is an opportunity to complete a cycle – we included a School of Law discussion in the design and implementation phase originally, and we thought it timely to update, re-engage and consult on the current version of the UOW Law Student Pledge.
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.
Public Lecture – Losing Your Hand: Complaint, Common Sense and Other Institutional Legacies
Speaker: Sara Ahmed
Date & Venue: Tuesday 22 March 2022, 11.30am-1pm AEDT, Zoom
Abstract: In his preface to the 2020 book Common Sense: Conservative Thinking for a Post-Liberal Age, Michael Nazir-Ali refers to how the analytical philosopher G. E. Moore defended common sense by pointing to “his own hand,” to show he was “more certain that his hand existed” than he was of “any sceptical attempts to show that such was not the case.” Nazir-Ali then makes use of Moore’s hand to talk about the coherence and stability of relationships and institutions. Many contributions to this conservative reclaiming of common sense articulate common sense as the the loss of a shared reality as well as legacy, of an old raced and sexed order. In this lecture, I will return to the testimonies I collected from academics and students who have made complaints about abuses of power within universities shared in my recent book Complaint! I will explore how some become complainers by virtue of not reproducing a legacy or how some complaints are framed as the failure to hold onto that legacy. Complaint provides a lens with which to think about appeals to common sense, how common sense becomes all the more appealing, the more some seem to be losing their hand.
Seminar for ECRs and HDRs on Sarah Ahmed's public lecture 'Losing Your Hand: Complaint, Common Sense and Other Institutional Legacies'
Speaker: Sara Ahmed
Date & delivery: Tuesday 22 March 2022, 2-3pm AEDT, Zoom
Declassifying ASIS records on the destruction of democracy in Chile
Speaker: Professor Clinton Fernandes, UNSW Canberra
Date & delivery: Wednesday 9 March 2022, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT via Zoom
Recording: Watch 9 March 2022 seminar
Abstract: This seminar will examine the steps taken at the National Archives of Australia and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to declassify records of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) regarding Australian operations in Chile. The records shed light on Australian intelligence assistance to the United States as it undermined Chilean democracy from 1970 to 1973. It discusses the secret nature of much of the proceedings, as Australia’s intelligence agencies argued that records should be kept secret even five decades after the events occurred.