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Diversity among judges is matter of legitimacy and equality, but also a help in decision-making

OPINION: Professor Andrew Lynch, The Australian, 19 December 2014.

Geoffrey Nettle’s appointment to the High Court on the retirement of Susan Crennan means the gender balance on the nation’s top court falls back to five male and two female judges. Yet this consequence of Nettle’s well-­received appointment barely raised an eyebrow.

Why was that? Does gender still matter in the composition of the High Court?

Holes in metadata bill make it unacceptable

OPINION: Professor George Williams, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 December 2014.

The Abbott government has succeeded in having Parliament enact an array of controversial new anti-terrorism laws. However, its greatest battle is yet to come. Its last measure for the year is a bill that compels telecommunications companies to retain metadata for two years. As yet, no one, including the government, knows what metadata is, except that it includes such things as the time and place of a communication, rather than its content.

Students bring home the Nelson Mandela world mooting prize

Sumer Dayal and Ashna TanejaA dynamic duo from UNSW Law has won the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Geneva.

After several days of gruelling debate before a panel of eminent judges and observers, including the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNSW’s Sumer Dayal and Ashna Taneja were named overall champions. They also won the prize for best memorials (briefs) and Dayal was named best speaker.

Sydney siege: Aberrant case not an argument for tougher bail laws

OPINION:  Visiting Professorial Fellow Nicholas Cowdery QC, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 2014.

Seventeen people and their families and associates have been put through torment by Man Haron Monis. Two have died. It is a terrible tragedy that we all share. There will be investigations, inquests and inquiries in many agencies and forums, the details will be published and we will know how it happened. In the meantime, we grieve and ask why.

Katrina Dawson

UNSW Law sends condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of alumna Katrina Dawson, who was tragically killed in the incident in Sydney’s Martin Place overnight.

Katrina graduated from UNSW Law in 2004 with a Master of Laws, specialising in human rights and social justice. Since graduating Katrina had embarked on a successful career as a barrister.

Katrina was an exceptional student and is remembered with much fondness by staff and other colleagues.
The cruelty and sadness of this is beyond understanding. Katrina’s family - including her husband, partner at King & Wood Mallesons and UNSW Law alumnus Paul Smith - are in our hearts and minds today.

Two Rhodes scholars in one year for UNSW Law

Rhodes Scholars

Emily Burke will join her friend and colleague Sean Lau at Oxford University after winning UNSW Law’s second Rhodes scholarship for 2015.

Emily is one of three Australia-at-Large scholarship winners, awarded from among the runners-up in each state and territory category.

She joins her friend and fellow UNSW Arts/Law graduate Sean Lau, who was named the 2015 NSW Rhodes Scholar in October.

Blood on many hands in CIA-torture scandal

OPINION: Professor George Williams, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 December 2014.

It has been known for several years that the United States tortured detainees in the aftermath of September 11. This occurred at Guantanamo Bay and at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The CIA also abducted people and held them at secret "black sites" outside of the US. Others were transferred by way of "extraordinary rendition" for interrogation and torture by foreign governments. 

No, Clive, asylum seeker bill won’t make it easier for the most vulnerable

OPINION: Professor Jane McAdam and Kerry Murphy (ANU), Crikey, 4 December 2014.