Interview with William Brydie-Watson, Legal Officer at Unidroit – Nandini Bajaj

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.

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After the Greater Sunrise: The Foundations and Future of Alternative Dispute Resolution in International Law – Molly Thomas

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.

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Australia’s disengagement from international refugee law: The principle of non-refoulement and the doctrine of jurisdiction – Sophie Capicchiano Young

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.

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The Application of International Human Rights Standards Relating to the Rights of the Child in the South Pacific – Prof. Jennifer Corrin

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.

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Julian Assange: The saga continues… – Dr Alison Pert

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.

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Assisted Dying in Victoria – Part II: Implications of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) for Human Rights Protection Abroad – Stevie S Martin

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 [2014] 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.

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A New Dawn for the Greater Sunrise? Recent Developments in the Timor Sea Maritime Boundary Debate – Esther Pearson

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.

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Assisted Dying in Victoria – Part I: An Overview of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) – Stevie S Martin

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.

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Interview with Dr Daniel Ghezelbash, Author of “Refuge Lost”

 (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Your book has been described as a ‘cautionary tale’ about the sharing of border control policies, particularly in the context of the European refugee crisis. What are your main concerns about this ‘race to the bottom’? 

My main worry is that the hard-won institution of asylum is under threat. The 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, concluded in response to the failure of states to give refuge to those fleeing Nazi Germany, creates certain obligations for governments in relation to protecting asylum seekers. States around the world are turning their backs on these obligations by implementing progressively more restrictive measures aimed at keeping asylum seekers away. These include policies like mandatory detention, interception and push-backs at sea, and extraterritorial detention and processing. All of these are aimed at blocking and deterring asylum seekers from accessing a state’s territory.

 

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The United Nations Human Rights Council: Bridge or Barrier to Change? – Dr John Pace

In his address at the opening of the current session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Husseini announced that, since this would be his last address as High Commissioner, he was going to be blunt – and indeed blunt he was.

His first target was the permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC) and the ‘pernicious use of the veto’, which made those who used it responsible, ‘second to those who are criminally responsible … for the continuation of so much pain … it is they – the permanent members – who must answer before the victims’.

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