Legal Intersections Research Centre

Leading edge interdisciplinary research:

law, social sciences and the humanities.

Approaching research from an interdisciplinary perspective involves breaking down the boundaries of traditional disciplines, particularly that of law, in the interests of producing fresh insights and knowledges. Our methodologies assume that knowledge about the law is inseparable from a range of sometimes competing or conflicting discourses such as philosophy, religion, history, feminism and critical theory, art, theatre, media, cultural studies, sociology, government and politics.

Two key aspects of our research are social justice and public interest litigation, often with an emphasis on law’s relationship with vulnerability and pluralism. Social justice projects seek to transform the law and redress social injustices, with real world impacts such as improved protection for women survivors of domestic violence, measures to reduce economic inequality, legal reform to recognise indigenous knowledges and fairer treatment for asylum seekers, consistent with international human rights norms. Public interest litigation refers to litigation intended to benefit the public interest, usually by contributing to systemic legal and societal change in areas where the law is not serving the interests of justice.

LIRC achievements

  • The activities of the Legal Intersections Research started with one-day workshops on “Intersectional Methodologies” in November 2001 and “Theory/Action/Research” in July 2002. Papers from those workshops were collected and published in a special issue of the journal, Law Text Culture, on “Legal Intersections” (volume 6 (2002)).
  • Since 2002 Law Text Culture has been a publication of the Legal Intersections Research Centre, which saw the journal returned to the University of Wollongong.
  • The Legal Intersections Research Centre has run a regular seminar series from 2001 as an important forum for encouraging the work of legal intersections research from across the University of Wollongong and beyond.
  • In December 2002, the Legal Intersections Research Centre hosted the 20th Annual Law and Society Conference on the theme of “Opening Law: Making Links – Crossing Borders”.
  • In June 2003 the Centre co-hosted a forum on ‘Responding to Terrorism’ with the University of Wollongong's Centre for Canadian-Australian Studies.
  • LIRC has regularly co-operated with other UOW research centres in ‘joint venture’ events, including seminars co-sponsored with the Institute for Conservation Biology and the Centre for Comparative Law and Development Studies in Asia and the Pacific.
  • In 2004 researchers affiliated with the Legal Intersections Research Centre completed work on the Court Resources Project an online resource for courts and tribunals which had its origins in the work of the University of Wollongong Centre for Court Policy and Administration, one of the predecessors to the Legal Intersections Research Centre.
  • In December 2006, the Legal Intersections Research Centre again hosted the Australasian Law and Society Conference. This time our theme was “Right or Racket? The Protection of Law”. Selected papers have been published in Law Text Culture, Volume 12 2008.

Visiting Professorial Fellows

  • Professor Susan Boyd
  • Professor Gary Edmond
  • The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG
  • Professor Luke McNamara
  • Professor Elena Marchetti
  • The Honourable Acting Justice Jane Mathews AO
  • Professor Stuart Thomas
  • Professor Terry Threadgold

Visiting Senior Fellows

PhD Students

  • Yvonne Apolo
  • Ebony Birchall
  • Sharon Christina David
  • Michelle Edgely
  • Fabienne Else
  • Rajendra Ghimire
  • Rachel Gregory-Wilson
  • Annette Hennessy
  • Ryan Kernaghan
  • Karina Murray
  • Sandy Noakes
  • Stephanie Putri
  • Clara Staples
  • Kate Tubridy
  • Qinqing Xu
  • Yuchuan Zhou

The Legal Intersections Research Centre maintains relationships with the following organisations having compatible aims:

Other links:

The Evolving Landscape of International Economic Governance Models

Speaker: Associate Professor Markus Wagner

Date & Venue: 15 September 2021, 12.30-1.30pm, via Zoom

RecordingWatch 15 September 2021 seminar

Abstract: International economic governance is undergoing significant changes: this is true for the actors driving international economic governance; the subject matters covered by recent trade agreements; and the institutions and processes that underpin these trade agreements. This paper analyses the different models of international economic governance models outside of the European context and what lessons can be drawn from these simultaneous efforts that are currently underway in the Asia-Pacific.

The paper analyzes these arrangements through a new integration model. Beyond China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the region is undergoing rapid economic transformation and is an incubator for governance models through the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

These arrangements stand for different levels of integration: the CPTPP is the most integrative, while RCEP occupies a middle ground. The BRI stands apart from both agreements and signals a significant departure from traditional international economic governance. Their different levels of and approaches to integration have the potential to shape the future of international economic governance, creating opportunities for cooperation and coordination as well as dependencies. As such, they have implications not only for international economic governance, but also for international governance more generally.


Implementing Good Practice Pedagogy to Support Student Writing

Speaker: Dr Sandy Noakes

Date & Venue: 18 August 2021, 12.30-1.30pm, via Zoom

RecordingWatch 18 August 2021 seminar

Abstract: Australian law students now come from a wide variety of backgrounds, bringing with them a variety of prior learning experiences. However, despite the importance of writing to success in law school, and the recognised need to support the academic literacy of law students from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds, the issue of how law students’ writing should be supported and developed has not been extensively researched in Australia.

Australian law schools have been provided with some guidance as to how they might best teach writing to their students. Following the publication of the Threshold Learning Outcomes (‘TLOs’) for law in Australia in 2010, a series of Good Practice Guides (‘GPGs’) was developed to support the implementation of the TLOs. The GPG concerning TLO 5 (Communication and Collaboration) makes a number of key recommendations. These include that writing instruction should be embedded in classes with discipline content; writing support should be informed by an understanding of how students learn literacy; methods to facilitate skills transfer should be utilised; and there should be collaboration between academic literacy experts and law academics.

Sandy’s research explores the extent to which Australian law schools follow the recommendations of the GPG in relation to the implementation of TLO 5 concerning law student writing, and examines the experience of both students and law academics in relation to the implementation of a model of writing support based on the GPG recommendations. This research is informed by an understanding of student writing in Higher Education (‘HE’) underpinned by an Academic Literacies (‘AcLits’) framework. AcLits situates student writing in HE as a discipline-specific, sociocultural practice, rather than a generic, autonomous skill which can be learned in isolation from subject content and then transferred simply to other contexts.

This presentation will focus on a study of the implementation of a writing program based on the GPG recommendations. This program was implemented in a doctrinal law subject at the University of Wollongong in early 2017. This research found that law academics might be challenged by adherence to good practice, but that good practice can improve student performance – particularly of those students who may not have been traditionally admitted to law school. It also finds that students react positively when a law school adheres to good practice in the support and development of its students’ writing.


'Student Transitions': Teaching & Learning Student Roundtable

Participants: 

Moderators: Dr Niamh Kinchin and Dr Dora Anthony

First Year Students: Katrina Trajcevski (Wollongong), Izabella Morgan (Wollongong), Lauren Spence (Wollongong) and Sila Yolu (SWS)

Upper Years Students: Baladev Dayaram (Wollongong) and Gabrielle Tahhan (SWS)

Mature-Aged Students: Shoba Keys (Wollongong) and Dr Jan Lindrum (Wollongong)

Date & Venue: 4 August 2021, 12.30-1.30pm, via Zoom 

Recording: Watch 4 August 2021 seminar

Abstract: One of the most challenging aspects of higher education is transitioning from other education or professional contexts. Students are confronted with new rules, structures and expectations, all within the complexities of a large institution. Nowhere is this more evident than in the study of law. Students transitioning from high school to university are faced with new expectations of self-directed learning, reading, problem solving and critical thinking. Transitions do not end there. Students transitioning to upper years need to draw on the skills and relationships they gained in the first year to help them navigate brand new expectations of upper level core and elective subjects. For mature aged students the transition from other professions and education and/or work environments to university brings both opportunities, and a need to ‘recalibrate’. In this student round table, we hear from students at different stages of the transitional spectrum about the challenges and opportunities they have faced. This Teaching and Learning Intersections seminar is an opportunity for a genuine conversation with students that can help academics reflect on our own practices, and the policy, values and practice of the university and the sector more broadly.


Teaching and Research Intersections Seminar: Teaching Law to Non-LLB Students

Speakers: Professor Millicent Chang, Dr Niamh Kinchin, Yvonne Apolo, Meredith McLaine

Date & Venue: 7 April 2021, 12.30pm-2pm, at 67-201 UOW and via Webex

Recording: Watch 7 April 2021 seminar (Password: Laws2021)


Does the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 1996 (Cth) Have Anything to Do with Money Laundering and/or Terrorism Financing?

Speaker: Dr Mathew Leighton-Daly

Date & Venue: 12 May 2021, 12.30-1.30pm, via Zoom

Recording: Watch 12 May 2021 seminar

Abstract: Australia’s financial crime control law reflects recommendations made by the international and inter-governmental body, the Financial Action Task Force. One key component of the Australian regime is the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Act 1996 (Cth) (AML/CTF Act). The AML/CTF Act aims to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism via imposing a number of obligations on financial sector organisations (known as ‘reporting entities’) that provide particular services (known as ‘designated services’).

The Act and its associates Rules require reporting entities to enact and maintain an AML/CTF program. This consists of two parts, a Part A and a Part B. Part A incorporates various elements to identify, mitigate and manage the risk of that entity being used for money laundering or terrorism financing. It is risk based. Part B of an AML program is focused on identifying customers and beneficial owners. It is prescriptive. A key aspect of Part B of the AML/CTF program is the requirement for reporting entities to complete ‘suspicious matter reports’ where the reporting entity suspects on reasonable grounds that a transaction may be related to financial crime. Information obtained pursuant to the AML/CTF Act is disseminated to the financial intelligence unit and regulator, AUSTRAC. Once in the possession of AUSTRAC, this information is automatically available to the Australian Taxation Office and upon request may be disseminated to other law enforcement agencies.

Money laundering is a very general term, which may be undertaken via an almost infinite number of ways; money laundering methodologies vary depending on - for example - the offenders involved, the property in question and the relevant financial market (if applicable). This paper explores whether the requirements under AML/CTF Act facilitate the capability for reporting entities to contribute to the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing or rather create a parallel and arbitrary AML/CTF compliance industry.


Law Reform on Violence Against Women: Towards a Victim-Centred Theory of Listening

Speakers: Professor Nan Seuffert, Dr Sarah Ailwood, Dr Rachel Loney-Howes

Date & Venue: 26 May 2021, 12.30-1.30pm, via Zoom

Abstract: In recent years Australia has witnessed a political, social and cultural renaissance of public and political awareness and debate regarding violence against women, particularly in relation to domestic and family violence (DFV), sexual assault and sexual harassment. Women's voices calling for law and policy reform have been central to that renaissance, as they have been to feminist calls for change dating back to nineteenth-century campaigns for property and suffrage rights. The focus for women’s voices has been on speaking out and storytelling, highlighting the exclusions and limitations of the law in responding to women’s experiences. Less attention has been paid, by feminists and law reform actors, to listening in these processes of law reform.  We argue that recent law reform processes in Australia intended to respond to violence against women have silenced, listened to but failed to hear, or privileged listening as process without substantive responses. We argue for a greater focus on the politics and dynamics of listening within these law reform processes, concluding that a victim/survivor theory of listening is a critical foundation for meaningful change in this area.

 

Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference 2018: Inclusion, Exclusion and Democracy

 12 – 15 December 2018, University of Wollongong, Australia

The Legal Intersections Research Centre (LIRC) at the School of Law, University of Wollongong was proud to host the joint international Conference for 2018 of the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand (LSAANZ), the Canadian Law and Society Association (CLSA) and the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) of the UK.

The 37th Annual Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society (ANZLHS) was also hosted by the University of Wollongong from 10 – 12 December 2018.

LSAANZ Conference 2018

LIRC seminars

2020

The Use of Enforceable Undertakings as an Enforcement Mechanism in Environmental Law: Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, Certainty and Environmental Outcomes

Date: 21 October 2020, 12:30 – 1:30pm AEST via Zoom (Please contact Dr Dora Anthony for the link: dora_anthony@uow.edu.au)

Presenter: Dr Sarah Wright

Abstract: Provisions permitting regulators to enter into voluntary enforceable undertakings (EUs) with alleged offenders are now included in numerous pieces of environmental legislation in NSW and other jurisdictions. EUs can be utilised as an alternative regulatory tool to prosecution, allowing a negotiated outcome to be reached in response to an alleged breach. This paper examines EUs entered into under NSW pollution law as a case study to consider the importance of ensuring transparency, accountability, certainty and environmental outcomes in the EU process and how these aspects might be improved. The guiding principles underlying the use of EUs, the frequency of utilisation of EUs and their content are examined. Comparisons are made between NSW and other jurisdictions, particularly within Australia, in order to consider elements that represent best practice in EUs. A number of matters are examined. Firstly, as a negotiated enforcement mechanism, transparency and accountability in the EU process are important. Aspects considered include the extent to which the incident and resulting environmental harm have been, and should be, described in the EU and whether a regulator should be required to publicly release reasons regarding why an EU was considered appropriate. These aspects assist with justifying the terms of the EU including the level of any “penalty” or “community benefit” component, such as contributions towards an environmental project. Second, the need for certainty in drafting the terms of an EU is examined. Certainty ensures the alleged offender knows the actions they must take. Further, it ensures public confidence in the enforceability of EUs in the event of a breach and consequently, their strength as an enforcement mechanism. Thirdly, consideration is given to the extent to which EUs have and should strive to achieve wider outcomes, such as educating the broader regulated community, embracing restorative justice mechanisms, and providing reparation to the community.

Corporate Manslaughter Laws in Singapore, Fiji and Australia: A Comparison

Speaker: Associate Professor Sheikh Solaiman 

Date: 30 September 2020, 12:30 – 1:30pm AEST via Zoom Watch the 30th September recorded seminar

Abstract: Industrial homicides are now widely regarded as corporate manslaughter. Workplace deaths have been a global concern following the loss of 6,300 workers’ lives every day, totalling 2.3 million deaths per year at work across the globe. These alarming figures include fatalities that have occurred in Singapore, Fiji, and Australia ─ three common law countries. As revealed in Suva by a resident magistrate in July 2019, at least 160 workers reportedly die each year in Fiji, suggesting that this is an area which needs to be looked at immediately. Despite such a significant number of deaths and the adoption of the Australian Commonwealth scheme of corporate liability for Fiji a decade ago, no record of corporate manslaughter conviction has been found. Likewise, Singapore, which lacks a separate corporate manslaughter law, mirrors the same level of passivity in prosecuting corporations for homicide, though about 50 workers die there per year. Notably, Australia has been making steady progress towards reducing such casualties. This paper examines the corporate manslaughter laws of Singapore, Fiji and Australia, aimed at finding out if Australian state/territory laws can be of help in improving the corresponding laws of the other two nations.

Transoceanic Connections: a Legal Assessment of China’s and Japan’s Economic Engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean

Speaker: Dr Gabriel Garcia

Date: 16 September 2020, 12:30 – 1:30pm AEST via Zoom Watch the 16th September recorded seminar

The history of the economic relations between Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) can be traced back to the sixteen century, when the Manila Galleons connected trade between Acapulco and Manila under the control of the Spanish Empire. In spite of these earlier encounters, it was not until the end of World War II that interactions between both regions flourished, first with the economic recovery of Japan and later, with the emergence of the Republic of Korea as a global economic powerhouse. More recently, India and China have also strengthened economic ties with LAC, contributing with the growth of trade and investment. Although many in Latin America have benefited from this reinvigorated interaction with Asia, governments in the region have shown little enthusiasm for understanding the implications of Asia’s economic progress and have not designed strategies to guide policymakers, businesses, investors and the broader community to engage effectively with Asia. This project aims to contribute to a better understanding among LAC stakeholders of the legal approaches used by China and Japan to advance their economic interests in the region.

Using an analytical framework borrowed from International Economic Law, this presentation reviews the models used by China and Japan to promote trade, investment and cooperation for development in LAC. It argues that Japan employs a more traditional approach to engage with LAC while China uses an eclectic platform that combines hard-law and soft-law mechanisms, giving preference to the latter over the former. By adopting this approach, China ensures that it has the flexibility to manage its relations with Latin America and reduces the risk of interference from other global powers, particularly, the United States, which has historically played a leading geopolitical role in the Americas.

Note: This presentation is part of the research project on ‘South America in the Asian Century: A Review of China’s and Japan’s Economic Engagement in the Region.’ The project was funded by the Institute of Developing Economies of the Japan External Trade Organisation (IDE-JETRO).

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): An introduction and impact discussion

Speaker: Dr Belinda Gibbons

Date: 2 September 2020, 12:30 – 1:30pm AEST via Zoom Watch the 2nd September recorded seminar

Summary: Belinda will provide an introduction to the UN SDGs and how they are impacting all sectors including University teaching, research and governance. She will present the sustainable development networks that the University and the Faculty of Business and Law are signatories to and discuss how these may open collaborative opportunities for you.

Bio: Dr Belinda Gibbons is the sole academic representative for Australia and New Zealand on the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education Advisory Committee (PRME). The Faculty of Business and Law are signatories to PRME. She represents business higher education institutions in Southern Asia and the Pacific, and collaborates with other country committee members to direct responsible management education internationally. Her passion for embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals within education and community received a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning alongside becoming a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Belinda works with all faculties across UOW, local councils, schools and community organisations to enable action towards realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Technology, Displaced? The Risks & Potential of Artificial Intelligence for Fair, Effective & Efficient Refugee Status Determination

Speaker: Dr Niamh Kinchin

Date: 19 August 2020, 12:30 – 1:30pm AEST via Zoom Watch the August recorded seminar

Human vulnerability is at the core of refugee status determination (RSD) and human rights provides its regulatory frame, so to speak of AI within the refugee context may seem troubling at least, dystopian at worst. But the rapid development of AI in government decision-making will unlikely be slowed by such ethical quandaries. The potential integration of automation, machine learning and algorithmic decision-making into global migration regulation and policy has far-reaching implications for refugee law and the consequences for efficiency, legality, accountability, transparency and human rights warrant a timely and critical conversation about the possible impact of existing and future AI technologies on RSD.

Predictive analytics, biometrics, automated credibility assessments and algorithmic decision making are analysed through a lens of ‘risk and potential’, which is measured in terms of ‘fair, efficient and effective’ RSD. The opportunities that AI offers for efficiency and effectiveness in RSD are compelling. Faster data processing, the ability to undertake high-volume, repetitive tasks, increased consistency and up-to-date information, a capacity to plan for workloads and predict movements and the potential to ‘design out’ existing biases, promise to deliver positive outcomes for asylum seekers. But the risks of integrating AI in a decision-making process that is defined by human vulnerability loom large. The lack of transparency in algorithms may result in a denial of procedural fairness and algorithmic bias continues to be a vexing issue. If refugees and human rights are denied, international protection may be compromised. Technical and contextual issues may increase the potential for error, and unanswered questions remain around legality.

A Troubled History: Forcible Transfers and Deportations in International Criminal Law

Speakers: Dr Victoria Colvin and Dr Phil Orchard

Date: 24 June 2020, 12.30-1.30pm via Zoom Watch the June recorded seminar

Abstract: Forced transfers and deportations of civilian populations are a persistent, grim theme in atrocity crimes. Not only do the victims suffer the loss of homes, property, and community, but these acts also may be a prelude to other atrocity crimes. Criminalizing forced displacement not only responds to a major human rights and atrocities problem which is not directly covered by either refugee or international human rights law; it can also serve an important deterrent effect. The conduct has long been recognized as potentially wrongful in international law. However, establishing and prosecuting international crimes in this area has been a lengthy and challenging process. We examine the historical development of prohibitions against forced displacement, particularly that forms of forcible transfer and deportations can constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. In recent times, we turn to the record of three international and hybrid courts where prosecutions of these crimes have occurred: the ECCC, the ICTY, and the ICC. We identify several challenges in codifying and prosecuting these crimes. As with many international crimes, delineating the elements of the offences, and therefore the conduct which is criminal in the international sphere, has been controversial along two axes. Particular to these crimes is that despite the harmful nature of the displacement, they may also be committed either to protect populations from, or in lieu of, other atrocities such as genocide, but also for reasons of military necessity and public security. In addition, the nature of the relationship between the two offences of deportation, in which a border is crossed, and forcible transfers, where it is not, has been a persistent question. The result is that these issues in combination mean that there is both an impetus to and an impediment for the prosecution of deportations and forcible transfers.

Commercial Advisory and Training Work within the University

Speaker: Distinguished Professor Stuart Kaye (UOW ANCORS)

Date: 20 May 2020, 12.30-1.30pm via Zoom

Abstract: The presentation will consider the opportunities available for commercial advisory and training work that can be undertaken within the University, both domestic and international. It will look at the types of work potentially available and tips on how such work might be found. The presentation also examines the University procedures and budgeting necessary, as well as the mechanics of what might be involved. It concludes by noting the benefits that flow from such work, particularly in relation to the new measures of research quantum and impact adopted by the Commonwealth.

Coronavirus and the Law

Speakers: Professor Warwick Gullet, Dr Lowell Bautista, Professor Nan Seuffert and Dr Dorothea Anthony

Date: 15 April 2020, 12.30-1.30pm via Zoom

Abstract: Warwick will discuss some of Australia’s obligations under international law regarding foreign cruise ships in Australian waters where there is concern that passengers or crew may be infected with a contagious debilitating virus. Lowell will discuss issues of State responsibility in relation to COVID-19. In particular, he would like to explore whether international law imposes an obligation on China to make reparations for COVID-19-related harms, and whether international law permits a case to be pursued against China for claims in connection with damages associated with the pandemic. Nan will discuss what we know about domestic violence in times of disaster such as pandemics and what we need to know. And Dorothea will discuss the place of collectivist values, as distinct from the values of individual human rights, in dealing with crises such as coronavirus.

2018

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