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UNSW Law is celebrating our most recent cohort of graduates, with law graduations held on 10 and 19 June.  Our students donned their cloaks and caps to celebrate the culmination of a period of hard work and dedication (and fun!).

This year, we were delighted that in addition to being alumni of the Law School, each of our two guest speakers had a daughter graduating at the ceremony at which he was speaking.

Our guest speaker on 10 June was Mark Grolman (BA/LLB 1980), previously Managing Director and General Counsel at Deutsche Bank.  Mark’s daughter Leah graduated on the evening with the same combined Arts/Law degree as her father, and was also the recipient of the University Medal.  Leah is currently a graduate lawyer at King & Wood Mallesons.

High Court ruling could redefine our democracy

OPINION: Dr Joyce Chia (This link is no longer available), The Drum, 9 July 2014.

Yesterday's High Court hearing on the potential return of Sri Lankan asylum seekers raises profound questions about the separation of powers and the rule of law in Australia.

The central question for the court is: does the Australian Government have the power to intercept a boat and return asylum seekers to Sri Lanka?

Academics take home prestigious environmental law awards

UNSW environmental law academics have achieved a clean sweep of the junior research and teaching prizes at the annual Colloquium of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law in Spain.

Amelia Thorpe and Cameron Holly with their Environmental Law Awards

Australia tears up UN treaty with treatment of asylum seekers

OPINION: Professor Jane McAdam, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July 2014.

Under international law, Australia has an obligation to ensure people are not exposed to refoulement. This isn’t something forced upon us by the UN, but a commitment we made voluntarily.

The Block shows up limitations in definition of ownership

OPINION: Senior Lecturer Amelia Thorpe, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July 2014.

An Aboriginal Tent Embassy was pitched at the Block in Redfern on National Sorry Day this year. Bulldozers were expected to try remove the embassy on Monday, and with it four decades of Aboriginal social housing and almost a century of Aboriginal occupation.

Statement by legal scholars regarding the situation concerning Sri Lankan asylum seekers

STATEMENT: 7 July 2014.

As scholars of international law, human rights law, and refugee law we are profoundly concerned by reports that asylum seekers have been subjected to rapid and inadequate screening interviews at sea and returned to Sri Lanka.

This raises a real risk of refoulement, in breach of Australia's obligations under international refugee and human rights law, including the 1951 Refugees Convention, 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Such summary procedures do not comply with minimum standards on refugee status determination under international law. Holding asylum seekers on boats in this manner also amounts to incommunicado detention without judicial scrutiny.

Without a national security hero, Brandis's laws could go unscrutinised

OPINION: Senior Lecturer Fergal Davis, The Guardian, 7 July 2014.

George Brandis, the attorney general, is set to bring new national security legislation before the senate that will target Australian citizens returning from conflicts abroad. He wants this legislation to pass – and to pass quickly – and as such is invoking the twin themes of national security and bipartisanship.

Tony Abbott's comments on Australia being 'unsettled' before the British

Professor Megan Davis speaks to The Sydney Morning Herald (4 July 2014) in regards toTony Abbott's comment that Australia was 'unsettled' before British colonisation when responding to a question about foreign investment. 

''I am not sure 'colonialism' is an appropriate analogy for 'foreign investment' nor is 'foreign investment' the most correct way to describe the motives of the British government in 1788,'' Professor Davis said.

Unique Course: Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

A postgraduate course on the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction will be available in Semester 2 2014. The course will be taught by Professor Daniel Joyner. Professor Joyner is Professor of Law at the University of Alabama and his research interests are focused in public international law, with particular interest in the area of nuclear weapons non-proliferation law and civilian nuclear energy law. Professor Joyner founded the online blog, which was chosen by the ABA Journal for its 2013 Blawg 100 list, as one of the top 100 best blogs for a legal audience.

George Brandis ignores his own insights into chaplains ruling

OPINION: Professor George Williams, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 June 2014.

Attorney-General George Brandis is doing his best to hose down reactions to the High Court’s finding that federal funding for school chaplains is unconstitutional. He has even described a statement that other programs are now at risk as ''erroneous and ignorant''.