I recently had the opportunity to interview William Brydie-Watson, a legal officer at the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit). Unidroit was established in 1926 as an auxiliary body for the League of Nations, and then reformed in 1940 under the Unidroit Statute. Its purpose is to study and develop needs and methods for modernising, harmonising, and coordinating private law between States, with a focus on commercial law. Mr Brydie-Watson oversees the development of several of Unidroit’s current legislative projects, acts as Unidroit’s representative to APEC, manages the Unidroit Foundation as well as supervising interns and research scholars at Unidroit.
The Australian International Law Journal, published by the Australian Branch of the International Law Association, is calling for papers of between 6,000 and 12,000 words on topics of public or private international law. Casenotes (2,000-3,000 words) and book reviews (1,000 words) within the area of public or private international law are also welcome.
Papers should be submitted by email to the Editors c/o email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2018. Accepted submissions will be published in Volume 24 of the Journal.
Persons interested in submitting a paper for consideration should refer to the AILJ Guidelines for Authors.
The recent success of the conciliation between Timor-Leste and Australia has put a spotlight on alternative dispute resolution in international law, a far cry from the disappointments of the South China Sea arbitration in which China refused to participate. In the context of these recent developments, this article will explore the philosophy, popularity and possibilities of alternative dispute resolution in international law.
The Editors of the Melbourne Journal of International Law (‘MJIL’) are now inviting submissions for volume 19(2).
The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2018. MJIL is a peer-reviewed academic journal based at the University of Melbourne which publishes innovative scholarly research and critical examination of issues in international law.
Submissions and inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information please visit http://law.unimelb.edu.au/mjil/submissions.
In an interview with Guardian Australia, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has voiced his opinion that ‘like-minded nations’ should consider a revision of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (“the Convention”). The objective of such a revision would be (though he has not explicitly said so) to degrade the non-refoulement obligation, which provides that States cannot expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. It is the cornerstone to refugee protection and the subject of the vast majority of refugee-related litigation globally.
In the island states of the South Pacific, state laws co-exist with customary laws. In addition, international law plays an increasing role in the region. In so far as international law governs the relationship between states, the position is not problematic, but the expansion of ‘modern’ international laws into the realm of individuals and non-State bodies increases the complexities of the relationship between the different types of law.
For lawyers, Julian Assange is the gift that just keeps giving. His situation over the past eight years has touched upon many issues of national and international law. In the latest legal development, Assange failed in his bid to have a UK arrest warrant against him set aside. If he had succeeded, he would have been able to leave the sanctuary of the Ecuadoran embassy in London a free man, without fear of arrest or extradition to Sweden or, of more concern to him, the United States.
This is the first of three posts on the Assange saga. This post is a brief chronology, describing the main developments leading to his current predicament. The next post will consider the immunity issues raised, and the third will canvas the other legal issues that have arisen over the years.
This is Part II in a series on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic). Read Part I here: An Overview of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic)
What VAD means for s 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 (UK)
Much like Australia, the UK has had its fair share of debate, both in Parliament and before the courts, regarding the scope and human rights implications of assisted dying. The starting position in the UK is the blanket ban on assisted suicide enshrined in s 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 (‘Suicide Act’). Since the seminal decision of the UK Supreme Court in R (On the Application of Nicklinson and Anor) v Ministry of Justice  UKSC 38 (‘Nicklinson’), several bills (e.g. here and here) proposing amendments to the Suicide Act to permit various forms of assisted dying have been debated before both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. None, however, have passed through to enactment and the blanket ban persists: it is an offence, punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment, to encourage or assist (or attempt thereto) the suicide of another, whether the individual actually dies or not.
On 6 March 2018, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Julie Bishop MP, and His Excellency Mr Hermenegildo Pereira, the East Timor Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister for the Delimitation of Borders, signed a historic agreement on the delimitation of maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea. The agreement, known formally as the Treaty Between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Establishing Their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea, was signed in New York in the presence of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Chair of the Commission that conciliated the dispute between the two nations.
Victoria has recently become the latest jurisdiction to legalise assisted dying (a term employed here as a ‘catchall’ phrase intended to cover both assisted suicide and euthanasia). It joins Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the US States of California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, and the District of Columbia, which have all introduced legislation permitting some form of assisted death.
Missing from this list are jurisdictions such as Switzerland in which assisted suicide is not unlawful but is also not expressly permitted by legislation. This might come as a surprise, as Switzerland is widely recognised as a jurisdiction that allows assisted suicide, largely as a result of organisations such as Dignitas which provide assistance to residents and non-residents in dying by suicide. In Switzerland, however, there is no legislation akin to Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (‘VAD’). Rather, art 115 of the Swiss Penal Code criminalises assisting or inciting another’s suicide based on ‘selfish motives’. Thus, provided the assistance is not so motivated, it may be given without risk of prosecution.