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.

Women, listening and law

A cross-disicplinary project investigating the politics and practices of listening to women in a range of legal contexts.

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 Candidates 

  • 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:

Upcoming LIRC events

Attend LIRC events to collaborate and network through public lectures from industry presenters and research seminars.

See more law events

There are currently no events for this period

Past LIRC Seminar Series and events

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.  

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.

Black Plants

When: Wednesday 24 May 2023, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT

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

Speaker: Uncle Bruce Pascoe

Abstract: The talk will be about Aboriginal Intellectual Property in regard to indigenous food plants.

Family and Domestic Violence and Systemic Abuse: Australia’s Welfare Tip-off Line

When: Wednesday 26 April 2023, 12.30-1.30pm AEDT

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

Speaker: Professor Nan Seuffert

Paper authors: Nan Seuffert, Scarlet Wilcox and Lyndal Sleep

Abstract: There is widespread recognition that the availability of adequate and accessible social welfare payments can enhance the safety of women and children. However as family and domestic violence (FDV) scholars and advocates have demonstrated, the enactment of punitive welfare-to-work reforms in Western democracies has deepened women’s vulnerability to violence, jeopardizing the role that welfare states can play in promoting women’s safety (See, e.g. Brush, 2000; Raphael, 1996). One aspect of punitive welfare reform that has received less attention in the literature is the impacts of aggressive responses to welfare fraud for women experiencing gendered violence (but see, e.g., Mosher et al., 2004). In this paper, we contribute to this literature by providing an empirically grounded examination of the intersection of FDV and one specific welfare fraud detection measure, welfare fraud tip-off lines, also known as tip or ‘snitch’ lines, which enable citizens to anonymously report suspected welfare fraud.  Leveraging the concept of systems abuse (Douglas, 2018; Dragiewwicz et al, 2019) and extending it to an administrative law setting using a multi-source empirical research design, we document and critique the ways that this fraud control measure can exacerbate the risks and harms associated with domestic violence for women.

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.

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

Panel members:

  • 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.

But that’s what it says …  

Speaker: Honorary Professorial Fellow Marett Leiboff

Date & Venue: 20 October 2021, 12.30-1.30pm, via Zoom

RecordingWatch 20 October 2021 seminar

Abstract: Law and legal interpretation assumes that processes of reason will serve to generate normative, definable rules which withstand the aberrations of personal experience that might interfere with those assumed practices. Theatrical jurisprudence provides techniques that reveal just how much this mythic presumption can distort and cause harm to law. In this presentation, I will tease apart an instance of just how attenuated our presumptions of law are - using the now long lost circumstances of protest in Queensland in the 1970s - revealing how personal experience attenuates how law is interpreted, and showing how the theatrical can be used to generate more nuanced and aware legal interpretation.

Legally (In)visible: Visual Jurisprudence of the Australian Cigarette Pack

Speaker: Jody Watts – School of the Arts, English and Media, UOW

Date & Venue: 6 October 2021, 12.30-1.30pm, via Zoom

Abstract: The Australian cigarette pack exerts visual jurisprudence through what it makes invisible and what it makes visible. In a world first, Australia enacted the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cth) (TPP Act), Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations 2011 (Cth) (TPP Regulations), and Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011 (Cth) (CCTI Standard) to regulate the appearance of cigarette and cigar packaging. The legislated use of approved design elements including typeface, colour and images, removes all appearance-based branding decisions and opportunities related to cigarette packaging from tobacco companies. Consequently, the Australian cigarette pack has made legal and health implications of smoking visible, and brand differentiation invisible.

This presentation summarises a visual analysis of the TPP Regulations, CCTI Standard and images of approved cigarette packs, and applies posthuman and new materialist understandings to their visual jurisprudence. Visual analysis conducted through the lens of these philosophical concepts finds humans and non-humans, exemplified by health experts, lawyers and the colour Pantone 448C, are active and entangled participants in Australia’s legal system. Together, humans and non-humans make the risks of smoking visible and reinforce its negative health outcomes through the regulations, standards, type, colour, images and warnings that combine jurisprudentially on Australian cigarette packs.

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 analyses 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


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.


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:

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.

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.

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