Events and Opportunities – January 2022


Associate Counsel, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Singapore

See here for more information:

Legal Officer, P3, Office of Legal Affairs, New York

This position is located in the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs. Applications close on 26 January 2022. See here for more information:

Legal Officer, P4, Office of Legal Affairs, New York

This position is located in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the Office of Legal Affairs. Applications close on 29 January 2022. See here for more information:

Legal Officer, P4, Office of Legal Affairs, Kingston 

The post is located within the Office of Legal Affairs at the Headquarters of the International Seabed Authority located in Kingston, Jamaica. Applications close on 30 January 2022. See here for more information:

Legal Officer, P4, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, New York 

This position is located in the Specialized Technical Expertise and Research Branch of the Assessment & Technical Assistance Office, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED). The incumbent reports to the Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Coordinator. Applications close on 11 February 2022. See here for more information:

Associate Professor in Human Rights, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo Faculty of Law, Oslo

Applications close on 19 January 2022. See here for more information:

Research Fellow in Business, ESG and Modern Slavery, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London

The Bingham Centre and The Modern Slavery Policy Evidence Centre (The PEC) are looking for a dynamic Research Fellow, at post-doctoral level or equivalent, with expertise in how businesses deal with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, including modern slavery, to help develop and deliver a programme of research of direct relevance and interest to business and capable of influencing both policy and business practice. Applications close on 23 January 2022 at 23.59 GMT.  See here for more information:

Senior Legal Officer, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

For lawyers from African Union member states. Applications close on 17 January 2022.  See here for more information:

Law and Policy Adviser, ClientEarth, Brussels/London

Applications close on 20 January 2022.  See here for more information:–0528/546/description/?fbclid=IwAR2GDCQs1wVgYoexka8i8oYDLXDcwxPmf3kbj68haeBp38z9L5Up2NLKVek

Human Rights Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean, The Danish Institute for Human Rights, Bogotá

The position is with the regional office of the Danish Institute for Human Rights established in Colombia. Applications close 21 January 2022. See here for more information:


Eхternal Relations and State Cooperation Unit Internship, International Criminal Court, The Hague

Applications close 23 January 2022. See here for more information:

Office of the Director Internship, Division of Judicial Services, Registry, International Criminal Court, The Hague

Applications close 31 January 2022. See here for more information:

Prosecution Division Internship, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, The Hague

Applications close 31 March 2022. See here for more information:

Peter Nygh Hague Conference Internship, The Hague

The 2022 Peter Nygh Internship is currently open for applications, and would be undertaken in the latter half of the year. See here for more information:

International Bar Association Internships, London

Applications for the July-September 2022 internship period close on 25 February 2022. See here for more information:

Various UN departments and agencies, various locations 

A variety of UN internship positions are currently open. Please see the following links for legal internship positions with application deadlines in January 2022:


Scholarship, ILA Lisbon Conference 2022

The ILA offers a scholarship to support young individuals attending ILA Regional or Biennial Conferences. See here for more information:

Geneva Academy International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law short courses, Online

There are a number of courses open for application, please see the following links for internship positions with application deadlines in January 2022 and early in February 2022:

The Implementation of International Humanitarian Law – runs from 8 February to 11 March 2022. Applications close 25 January 2022. See here for more information:

The Interplay Between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights – runs from 11 February to 4 March 2022. Applications close 4 February 2022. See here for more information:

The Implementation of International Humanitarian Law – runs from 8 February to 11 March 2022. Applications close 25 January 2022. See here for more information:

Judicial Fellowship Programme, International Court of Justice 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) invites applications from eligible universities around the world for the 2022-2023 Judicial Fellowship Programme (formerly known as the University Traineeship Programme). Universities must nominate candidates for the program, the Court does not accept applications from individuals. The deadline for submission of applications is 3 February 2022. See here for more information: 


International Chamber of Commerce Young Arbitrators Forum is hosting a webinar dedicated to the soft skills arbitration practitioners need in order to build a strong career. This free event is online on 18 January 2022. To register for this event see:

10th ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration

This online conference runs from 20-21 January 2022, and is presented by The Institute for Transnational Arbitration and The Institute for Energy Law of The Center for American and International Law and The ICC International Court of Arbitration. There are reduced registration fees for students for certain events. For more information and to register see:

Revisiting Racial Violence in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: The Right to Life and Deaths in Custody

Recent practices have signified a shift to viewing deaths in custody as violations of human rights, particularly the right to life under Article 6 of the ICCPR. This post examines an often forgotten element of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and suggests it — through the domestic legislative vehicle of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) — has an important role to play in viewing other deaths in custody. 

The longstanding search for legal remedies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody has maintained pace in recent months. The family of Dunghutti man David Dungay Junior, who died in custody at Long Bay Prison in 2015 after being restrained, indicated they would lodge a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC). In their complaint, they allege the guards failed to protect Dungay’s right to life under article 6 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Australia has failed to implement recommendations of the landmark 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

This is not the first time that the UNHRC has been asked to consider human rights violations in the context of deaths in custody in Australia. The family of Kamilaroi boy TJ Hickey who died during a police pursuit in Redfern during 2004 had also lodged a complaint alleging, amongst other things, that Hickey’s right to life had been violated. In Hickey v Australia, the UNHRC ultimately decided the communication was inadmissible under article 5(2)(b) of the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR because the author had failed to exhaust domestic remedies including lodging anti-discrimination complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (RDA) or state statutory equivalents. It is not clear whether the Dungay family have lodged any anti-discrimination claims under domestic law. Professor Hilary Charlesworth has described the requirement that parties exhaust domestic remedies as ‘fairly demanding’ (see Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations and Human Rights), particularly because complainants have legal options under both state and federal anti-discrimination regimes.  

The relationship between domestic anti-discrimination law and physically violent conduct with a racial basis is an uncharted field in Australia. By contrast, in the United States, physical violence with a racial basis is routinely conceived of as a civil rights violation. In November 2019, Constable Zachary Rolfe fatally shot Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker in Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. Although media attention has focused on the criminal implications of the shooting, particularly as Rolfe currently stands trial for manslaughter, a more subtle development has occurred in the background. Walker’s extended family filed a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission alleging racial discrimination by the police in the lead-up to Walker’s death. 

From an international law perspective, this is significant for three key reasons. First, and broadly, racial discrimination law directs courts to take into account international law considerations (see, for example,  section 9(2) of the RDA). This is unsurprising. To ensure  the RDA was within the scope of the constitutional external affairs power, the Whitlam government directly transposed significant swathes of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) into domestic law. This is exemplified by section 9(1) of the RDA which incorporates ICERD’s definition of ‘racial discrimination’ in article 1(1) verbatim. Critically, RDA section 9(1) also includes the words ‘it is unlawful for a person to do any act involving …’ thereby giving the definition an explicit operative effect as follows: 

It is unlawful for a person to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of any human right or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life. 

The close fidelity of section 9(1) to its source has led some to bemoan the difficulty of giving effect to RDA section 9(1). Former Solicitor-General Maurice Byers, flagging its ‘generality’, recommended its deletion from the final Racial Discrimination Bill in 1975 (RD Bill). The drafters of ICERD article 1(1) never intended the provision to have operative effect; rather it was simply designed as a broad and open-textured definition of racial discrimination. Nonetheless, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, Harry Gibbs, described the RDA as ‘what appears to be a bill of rights’. In Gerhardy v Brown , Justice Brennan described the human rights question in RDA section 9 as not rights and freedoms under a particular legal system but ‘rights and freedoms which every legal system ought to recognise and observe’. A result is that racial discrimination cases have been an essential way in which Australian courts have been required to confront international sources of law to give meaning to the RDA. To take one example amongst many, in Iliafi v The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saintsthe full bench of the Federal Court of Australia considered the general recommendations of the United Nations CERD Committee as well as UNHRC jurisprudence in determining violations of the ICCPR 

Second, an RDA claim in circumstances of physical violence goes to a fundamental aspect of ICERD which has fallen to the wayside in Australian public debates, namely the obligation under article 4(1) that requires states parties to: 

… [D]eclare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof … (emphasis added)

A keen-eyed observer who followed the loud public debates surrounding section 18C of the RDA in the last two decades (see, for example, Eatock v Bolt and Prior v Queensland University of Technology) would recognise that part of article 4(1) has already been given statutory expression in the RDA’s Part IIA vilification provisions. As for physical violence, hate crime offences have been legislated at the state level but the provisions are rarely used. When they are used, prosecutions have arguably been ‘botch[ed]’. In this context, what is novel about the Walker complaint is that the RDA has never been utilised to redress physical violence preceding a death in custody. As Article 4(1) requires states parties to legislate an ‘offence’, the possibility that the RDA might supply a civil remedy for physical violence has largely been overlooked, even though racial violence nonetheless threatens discrimination law’s concern for substantive equality. Indeed, earlier drafts of the RDA in 1973 had included provisions making ‘racial violence’ unlawful with a penalty of $1,000 or 6 months imprisonment (see RD Bill 1973), however these provisions were removed from the final bill.  

Finally, using the RDA in this context reflects the unique concern in section 9(1) for human rights. Unlike all other federal and state anti-discrimination statutes, section 9(1) defines the scope of discrimination according to the purpose or effect of conduct on the enjoyment of human rights. As the ‘human rights’ in section 9(1) incorporate rights in article 5 of ICERD, as well as rights under other conventions to which Australia is party (see section 9(4)), it provides an effective vehicle through which human rights considerations can be analysed. Deaths in custody, like Walker’s, can be seen through the lens of an ‘unresolved human rights issue’.  

As recent practice has shown, there are very potent reasons for examining deaths in custody using first-generation fundamental rights like the right to life. This analytical frame provides another means of reviewing excessive use of force and the lack of custodial care which are patterns found across numerous deaths in custody (see, further, The Guardian Deaths Inside Database). For example, Wiradjuri man Dwayne Johnstone was fatally shot three times by a New South Wales Corrective Services Officer whilst attempting to escape custody, despite being in handcuffs and ankle cuffs. Further, the negative component of the right to life prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of life. Previously, the UNHRC  has suggested that ‘deprivation of life based in discrimination in law or fact is ipso facto arbitrary in nature’ (emphasis added) (UNHRC General Comment No. 36, para. 61).  

Although it may be too early to know for certain, the interaction between deaths in custody and the RDA is likely to provide a renewed platform where human rights jurisprudence can be developed in Australia.  

Alan Zheng is an LLB Honours candidate at the University of Sydney researching racial discrimination law. 

Call for Chapters: The Laws of Yesterday’s Wars

Brill Nijhoff is calling for Chapters for Volume 4 and 5 of an edited series, looking to address how international is international humanitarian law. 

Volume 1 of The Laws of Yesterday’s Wars was just published, with Volumes 2 and 3 forthcoming in 2022. The editor, Samuel White, is currently seeking expressions of interest for submissions. In order to see just how international IHL is, it is hoped to collate a large variety of case studies from a wide spectrum of cultures. No case study can be too obscure! 

If this is something that might interest you, please contact Samuel White directly on with a brief CV (200 words) and brief summary of a possible culture you would wish to write on (200 words).

The Glasgow Climate Change Conference: What Next for Climate Finance? – Ruth Adler

The Glasgow outcome on climate finance reaffirms parties’ commitments to their obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, but greater ambition is required in order to achieve the goal of limiting the increase in global average temperature to 1.5°C.

Climate finance was a key focus at the 26th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or ‘the Convention’), held in Glasgow in November 2021.  The key outcomes with respect to climate finance are found in the Glasgow Climate Pactand the COP decision on long-term climate finance, and summarised below. The Glasgow outcome on climate finance reaffirmed parties’ commitments to their obligations under the convention and the Paris Agreement.

The Glasgow Climate Pact noted ‘with concern’ the increasing needs of developing countries due to the impacts of climate change and higher levels of indebtedness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (para 23).  The Pact emphasised the need to ‘mobilize climate finance from all sources’ in order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including increasing support for developing countries beyond USD 100 billion per year (para 25).  It noted with ‘deep regret’ that the goal of developed country parties to mobilise jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 — which was agreed at COP11 in 2010 as part of the Cancún Agreements — had not been achieved (para 26).  The Pact also called on developed country parties to ‘fully deliver on the USD 100 billion goal urgently and through to 2025’ (para 27) and for multilateral development banks and other financial institutions to increase investments in climate action (para 28).  

The COP decision on long-term climate finance also noted with ‘serious concern’ the shortfall with respect to the USD 100 billion per year goal (para 4) and urged developed countries to continue to ‘scale up’ climate finance to achieve the goal (para 5).  Noting that some developed country parties had doubled the provision of finance for adaptation, the decision requested that other developed countries significantly increase their efforts in that area with the aim of achieving a balance in finance for mitigation and adaptation (para 9).  Parties also agreed to convene high-level ministerial dialogues on climate finance in 2022, 2024 and 2026 (para 20), and that continued discussions on long-term climate finance would conclude in 2027 (para 18).  In addition, developed countries, led by Canada and Germany, adopted guiding principles and a Climate Finance Delivery Plan to achieve the goal of mobilising USD 100 billion by 2025.  

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Call for Applications: Nygh Internship, 30 January 2022

The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) and the Australian Branch of the International Law Association (ILA (AB)) are pleased to present the Peter Nygh Hague Conference Internship. The award will support a post – graduate student or graduate of an Australian law school to undertake an internship with The Hague Conference on Private International Law (The Hague Conference) in the Netherlands by providing funds to cover the cost of travel to the Netherlands and a contribution towards living expenses. Applications for the 2022 Nygh Internship are now open. Please see below for more information about the award and how to apply.

The Internship

The award will provide a post-graduate student or graduate with the opportunity to work with some of the leading private international law practitioners in the world. With over 80 members (including the European Union) representing all major regions and legal systems, The Hague Conference is a global intergovernmental organisation. A melting pot of different legal traditions, The Hague Conference aims for the ‘progressive unification’ of the various State private international law rules. The work of The Hague Conference involves finding internationally agreed approaches to jurisdiction of courts, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of judgments. This is achieved through the development and servicing of multilateral legal conventions which respond to global needs in the areas of international commercial law and banking, international civil procedure, international protection of children, international family and family property relations, international legal co-operation and litigation as well as international judicial and administrative co-operation. Activities of The Hague Conference are coordinated by a multinational Secretariat – the Permanent Bureau – located in The Hague. The Conference’s working languages are English and French. The successful intern will work for 5 to 6 months under the direction of the Secretariat assisting with research, translation and preparation of meetings in accordance with the needs of the lawyers of the Permanent Bureau.

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Failed or rigged? The international patent system and access to COVID-19 vaccines in high- and low-income countries – Olugbenga Olatunji


From late 2019, the media was awash with the news of a cluster of viral pneumonia cases found in Wuhan, China. The responsible virus was later identified as the SARS-CoV2 and this development was officially reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2019. WHO later labelled the virus COVID-19. Since early 2020 when the virus was declared a global pandemic, Australia has recorded over 200,000 cases of infection and 2,000 deaths – the statistics are far more gruesome for most other countries.

By January 2020, a Chinese group of researchers led by Dr Yhong-Zhen Zhang, had successfully sequenced the genome of the virus, the result of which was made publicly available with the help of University of Sydney’s Dr Edward Holmes. This transparent and magnanimous gesture later proved instrumental to vaccine discovery, as it helped both academic and industry researchers to better understand the virus. Unprecedently, by December 2020, three COVID-19 vaccines had already received emergency use authorisation (EUA): two (Pfizer/BionNTech and Moderna) in the US, and one (AstraZeneca) in the UK. This success story is replicated in the current vaccine availability in Australia – these three vaccines are some of the vaccine manufacturers whose vaccines have received provisional approval in Australia.

Given the potentially fatal nature of COVID-19 and the global solidarity that resulted in quick discovery, approval and production of overwhelmingly effective vaccines, one would have expected the same solidarity to extend to the distribution of vaccines between high income countries (HICs) and low income countries (LICs). Disappointingly, however, this was never the case. Instead, vaccine availability has become linked to a country’s income status, with HICs being first-in-line, while LICs are down the priority table. To illustrate this sad reality, as of December 2021, the Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity recorded that 65% of the population in HICs had received at least one dose of vaccine, compared to 8% of LICs’ populations. Given this stark access conundrum, it becomes pertinent to examine whether the current international patent system is to blame for this failure. 

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Events and Opportunities – December 2021


Internship positions, various UN departments and agencies, various locations 

A variety of UN internship positions are currently open. Please see the following links for internship positions with application deadlines in December 2021:

Legal Officer, P4, United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, Phnom Penh 

Applications close on 8 December 2021. See here for more information: 

Legal Advisor, P4, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva 

Applications close on 8 December 2021. See here for more information: 

Senior Legal Officer, P5, UN Support Office, Mogadishu

Applications close on 9 December 2021. See here for more information: 

Legal Officer, P4, UN DPPA-SPM cluster II, New York 

The position is located in the Office of the Ombudsman, a Special Political Mission administered and supported by the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. Applications close on 10 December 2021. See here for more information:  

Legal Officer, P4, UN Office of Administration of Justice, Nairobi 

Applications close on 11 December 2021. See here for more information: 

Law and Policy Outreach Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva 

Education and experience required for the position include an advanced university degree in international studies (eg international relations, development, political science, humanitarian action, international law), 5 years’ professional experience in a related field and ICRC field or HQ experience. Applications close on 12 December 2021. See here for more information:  

Research fellow in Law (South Sudan Project), Max Planck Foundation, Heidelberg, Germany 

The Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law is looking to fill one project-related Research Fellow position in the Sub-Saharan Africa projects team. The Research Fellow will implement project activities promoting the rule of law, including capacity building workshops and technical legal advice in the areas of international public law and constitutional law. Specific topical focus areas could include comparative constitutional law, legislative drafting, rules of procedure and judicial mechanisms. Applications close on 12 December 2021. See here for more information: 

Research Fellow, Law of the Sea, UNSW Law & Justice, Sydney 

UNSW Law and Justice is currently recruiting a research fellow. The Research Fellow will contribute towards the research project of SHARP Professor Natalie Klein of the UNSW Law & Justice Faculty (School of Public and Global Law). The research project will be focused on the law of the sea, maritime security, state responsibility and international dispute settlement. Applications close on 19 December 2021 at 11:30pm. See here for more information: 

Head, Gender and Children Unit, International Criminal Court, The Hague 

Applications close on 19 December 2021. See here for more information:  

Senior Trial Lawyer, International Criminal Court, The Hague 

Applications close on 23 December 2021. See here for more information: 

Legal Officer, P3, UN Office of Legal Affairs, New York 

Applications close on 24 December 2021. See here for more information: 

Principal Legal Officer, D1, UN Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, Office of the Under-Secretary-General, New York 

Applications close on 2 January 2022. See here for more information: 

Regional Legal Advisor on Maritime Issues, Asia Pacific Region, International Committee of the Red Cross, Bangkok 

The regional legal adviser (RLA) on maritime issues works in support of all delegations in the Asia Pacific region. They play a key role in achieving institutional, regional and delegation objectives related to positioning the institution as a key reference organisation on maritime humanitarian action, the law of armed conflict at sea and other relevant legal norms, and more broadly the creation of an environment conducive to respect for the law. They contribute to strengthening ICRC dialogue with national authorities, and intergovernmental organisations and academia / think tanks, as well as facilitating ICRC acceptance and operational activities. Applications close on 9 January 2022. See here for more information: 

Assistant Professor of International Law, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva, Switzerland 

The successful candidate will be affiliated to the Department of International Law. S/he will teach postgraduate courses and supervise master’s dissertations and PhD theses in the Department of International Law. S/he may also be called upon to teach classes and supervise master’s dissertations in the interdisciplinary programme, as well as contribute to executive education programmes. The Institute being interdisciplinary, the selected candidate should be interested in interdisciplinary dialogue, teaching and research. Applications close on 10 January 2022. See here for more information: 

Judicial Fellowship Programme, International Court of Justice 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) invites applications from eligible universities around the world for the 2022-2023 Judicial Fellowship Programme (formerly known as the University Traineeship Programme). Universities must nominate candidates for the program, the Court does not accept applications from individuals. The deadline for submission of applications is 3 February 2022. See here for more information: 


LLM in International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva,  

Applications are now open for the LL.M. in International Law at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, for the academic year 2022-2023 starting in September 2022. The intensive 10-month programme offers a wide course selection, covering not only the foundations of public international law but also allowing students to specialise in one of three different concentration streams: Protection of the Individual in International Law, International Environmental Law and Governance, and International Economic Law. The deadline to apply is 15 January 2022. Apply

Call for Submissions, Melbourne Journal of International Law  

Submissions are invited for volume 23(1) of the Melbourne Journal of International Law, to be published in June 2022. Submissions are due by 31 January 2022. For further details, see here:   

Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Essay Award  

Essay competition topic for 2022 is ‘Climate Change and Human Rights: Impacts, Responsibilities, and Opportunities’. Submissions are due by 31 January 2022. Open to law graduates across the world and the prize for best submission includes a full scholarship to the Program of Advances Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, travel expenses to Washington, living expenses and accommodation.  See here: 

Call for Presentations, Online Conference on Protection of Human Rights in the Pandemic of COVID-19, ILA Ukrainian Branch  

Applications open to present at the ILA Ukrainian Branch online conference on “Protection of human rights in the pandemic of COVID-19”, scheduled 10 December. Presentations shall be 8 – 10 minutes. To apply to participate, email your name, national branch and any information you would like to present (including the subject of report if any) before 9 December. 

ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition, Volunteers 

Applications are currently open for volunteers to support the ICC Organising Committee throughout the ICC Mediation Week. Applications close on 17 December 2021. A high level of responsibility is given to volunteers who act as “Mediation Session Supervisors” during the sessions. The ICC Mediation Competition gathers 350+ students and coaches, as well as 150+ professional mediators and academics from across the world and numerous volunteers, sponsors and observers. 


Webinar discussion, Recent Trends in Climate Litigation and Human Rights, Monash University 

There is increasing recognition of the intersection between human rights and climate change. On 8 October 2021, United Nations Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/48/L.23/Rev.1 recognised the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and recognised the implications of climate change for this right. A cognate resolution (A/HRC/48/L.27) established a Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. 

The human rights implications of climate change are also being increasingly recognised in litigation. Cases such Leghari v Pakistan, Urgenda v The Netherlands and Neubauer v Germany established new readings of traditional human rights in a climate context. The ongoing case of Juliana et al. v US seeks recognition of a right to a stable climate as an extension of existing rights under the United States Constitution. Like litigation is pending in Brazil. Rights-based litigation in Australia is nascent. There is an increasing diversity of rights-based claims, including a recent complaint brought by eight Torres Strait Islander people against the Australian government to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. 

The online discussion will be held on 9 December 2021. For more information and to register, see here: 

Webinar discussion, China’s CBDC and International Landscape, UNSW Law & Justice 

Central bank digital currency (CBDC) is a game changer for the economy in digital era. As a fiat currency, CBDC affects numerous actors ranging from commercial banks and other businesses to households. It brings new issues, including data regulation and a new CBDC ecosystem that will profoundly affect business practice and even daily life. China is likely the first major economy to issue CBDC. An increasing number of countries are also exploring CBDC. This event will discuss cutting-edge issues. For instance, what is the future of CBDC? How would it likely affect banks, other businesses and the public? How would market players engage with it? What would the international landscape look like after its official launch? 

The online discussion will be held on 10 December 2021. For more information and to register, see here: 

Webinar Discussion, Fairnessn International Criminal Justice: Reality or Utopia?, Association of Defence Counsel Practising Before the International Courts and Tribunals 

At ADCICT’s annual conference on 4 December 2021, panel topics are: can politics influence fair trials?; how can faulty evidence fail justice?; the issues after acquittal in the Bemba Case at the ICC, and ne bis in idem in light of the Katanga case. Panelists include Judge Joanna Korner QC, Judge at the International Criminal Court, former Prosecutor at the ICTY. Register at  

Webinar discussion, New South Wales Young Lawyers Human Rights Day Panel 

On 7 December 2021 the NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee‘s flagship International Human Rights Day panel event will consider: “When home is not a safe haven: The social crisis of domestic violence and the impact of COVID-19 on its victims”. The panel will discuss how the unequal status of women and gender-based violence threatens women’s rights to safety, respect and bodily autonomy, how this has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and how the legal profession can act to address domestic violence. Registration is free for members, and $10 for non-members. Register at  

The Proposed Reform of the Chinese Arbitration Law and its Impacts on Foreign Parties: Part II

The Chinese lawmaker, being the Ministry of Justice of the PRC, recently published a draft revised New Chinese Arbitration Law for public consultation, which suggests a series of major changes. While most of the changes are in line with the international practice, there are also significant deviations from the commonly accepted practice suggested by the UNCITRAL Model Law. This series aims to highlight the changes and briefly evaluate its impact on foreign parties in dealings with Chinese parties, who may face potential arbitration proceedings in China. This is part two of a two-part series.

In part one, we addressed how the draft of the amended Chinese Arbitration Law (‘the Draft’) modifies the test for the validity of arbitration agreements, adopts the competence-competence principle, expressly recognises the legal concept of the ‘seat of arbitration’, and creates more flexibility in the arrangement of arbitration proceedings. In part two, we consider the provisions for interim measures and emergency arbitrators, med-arb practice, and judicial review mechanisms that are available under the Draft. 

V. Interim Measures and Emergency Arbitrators 

Current Chinese arbitration practice is that interim measures only include the preservation of property and evidence, which is an order that must be issued with the assistance of supervisory courts. Articles 43-49 of the Draft expands the types of interim measures to ‘act preservations’ (which is similar to the concept of injunctions in common law systems) and other necessary interim measures, and confirms that both arbitral tribunals and courts may deal with the relevant applications. In particular, tribunal-made interim measures can be enforced by relevant courts. Article 49 further confirms that emergency arbitrators can be used for the issuance of interim measures before the establishment of the arbitral tribunal. The addition of these provisions provides additional protection for parties involved in arbitration proceedings based in China.  

VI. Mediation and Arbitration 

The practice of med-arb, or mediation by arbitrators, has long been seen as one of the distinctive features of the Chinese arbitration practice. This is reflected in article 51 of the CAL. It is notable, however, that this approach is quite controversial due to the ‘double hats’ worn by the arbitrators and the potential ex parte communications made in the process (see Gao Haiyan v Keeneye CACV 79/2011). The Draft now allows the parties to choose external mediators or mediation institutions during the arbitration proceeding as an alternative, which properly addresses the ‘double hats’ concern. In addition, the Draft further confirms current Chinese practice that the settlement agreement between the parties, whether resulting from mediation or not, could be confirmed by the arbitral tribunal in the format of a ‘Mediation Document’ or an arbitral award, which are equally enforceable (articles 69-71). This is an innovative feature of Chinese arbitration which foreign parties might pay attention to and utilise in practice.   

VII. Judicial Review Mechanism 

The current CAL adopted a ‘dual track’ mechanism in the judicial review of arbitral awards. While domestic arbitration law imposes stricter requirements on arbitral awards and allows limited substantive review on the merits (for example, allowing a review on forged evidence), judicial review on foreign-related arbitral awards is subject to a more lenient review scheme similar to the Model Law and the New York Convention.  

The Draft, however, now merges these two mechanisms and extends the more conservative approach to foreign-related awards. Under article 77 of the Draft, an arbitral award might be set aside if: 

(1) there is no arbitration agreement, or the arbitration agreement is invalid; 

(2) the disputed matter is not covered by the arbitration agreement or not arbitrable under this law; 

(3) the respondent does not receive proper notice of the appointment of arbitrators or the arbitration proceeding, or failed to present themselves for other reasons not attributed to themselves; 

(4) the constitution of the arbitral tribunal or the arbitration proceeding violates Chinesethe laws or the agreement between the parties, which severely infringes the rights of a party; 

(5) awards resulted from fraudulent conduct such as malicious collusion or the forgery of evidence; or 

(6) arbitrators were involved in bribery or acted in their own personal interests over the law in determining the case. 

In addition, the arbitral awards shall be set aside if it is against the social public interest. 

This means that, regardless of whether a foreign party is involved, the arbitral award would be subject to limited substantive review on the merits, including possible issues of fraud. This is a significant deviation from the ‘procedural review’ approach in the New York Convention and the Model Law, which foreign parties should take into account. 

Furthermore, the Draft only maintains the above judicial review mechanism for judicial review conducted by a supervisory court for the purpose of setting aside of the award, and removes judicial review by an enforcing court (except on the ground of violating the social public interest). This means that the judicial review of arbitral awards will be predominantly conducted by the supervisory court (the court of the place of arbitration), rather than the enforcing court (where the business or property of the losing party is located in China). This is significantly different from the Model Law, which provides an identical judicial review mechanism at both the place of arbitration and at the place of enforcement (articles 34 and 36 of the Model Law). Thus, if the parties choose arbitration in China, the choice of place of arbitration is of great significance. In particular, foreign parties might take into account whether the courts at the place of arbitration (whether it be the particular city or municipality) have sufficient experience in producing consistent, high-quality decisions on arbitration-related matters. 

A final change regarding the judicial review mechanism is the newly added ‘review’ of the court’s decision on the setting aside of arbitral awards. In the past, the decision by the court to set aside an award has been final, subject to a possible internal ‘prior reporting system’ applicable to foreign-related awards or domestic awards.  The prior reporting system was an internal procedure adopted by the Chinese judicial system to review the cases in which an arbitration agreement is decided to be invalid, or an arbitral award is set aside or refused enforcement. If an Intermediate People’s Court made such a decision, they had to first report the case to the relevant High People’s Court. If the High People’s Court agreed with the decision, depending on the nature of the dispute, they could be required to report the matter further to the Supreme People’s Court for comment (see an appraisal of the Prior Reporting System here). 

The Draft now provides that the party who is unsatisfied with the setting aside of an arbitral award may request a review (not appeal) of the decision to the higher court. The key difference between the ‘prior reporting system’ and the request for review is that the former is an internal procedure initiated and managed by the courts, while the latter is a formal procedure offered to the parties, in which the relevant party can make submissions and expect a formal decision to be made. It is uncertain whether the ‘prior reporting system’ still applies when such formal remedy is provided to the parties under the Draft.  

VIII. Conclusion 

The Draft is only the first step of many for amending the Chinese Arbitration Law (CAL). This project is not a top priority in the Chinese lawmaker’s working plan and is yet to be submitted to the National People’s Congress or its Standing Committee for reading (for the 2018-2023 Working Plan of Law-Making of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, see here; for the 2021 Working Plan of Law-Making of the State Council, see here). It is therefore expected that any suggested changes will not be finalised for at least a few years. It remains to be seen whether these new features will be furthered in the next step of law-making and ultimately adopted in the new CAL in the future.  

Despite this, the Draft sends a positive signal, as many features are in line with key concepts and best practice in international arbitration, such as the adoption of the competence-competence principle, the wider use of interim measures, the less rigid approach to determining the validity of arbitration agreements, as well as limited acceptance of ad hoc arbitration. These features would be welcomed by foreign parties and counsel dealing with disputes with Chinese parties. At the same time, the distinctive features of arbitration in China as reflected in the Draft, such as the use of mediation in arbitration proceedings and the removal of the enforcement of judicial review for awards made in China, may bring foreign parties and counsel some uncertainty in dispute-resolving processes with Chinese parties.  

Dr Shu Zhang is a Lecturer in Law at Deakin Law School, Deakin University. Dr Peng Guo is a Lecturer in Law at the Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT. 

Event: ILA (Australian Branch) AGM and End of Year Event, 1 December 2021

The International Law Association (Australian Branch) invites its members to its Annual General Meeting, to be held at 6:30 pm on Wednesday 1 December 2021 via Zoom.

The AGM will be followed at 7:00 pm by the End-of-Year Event, featuring a presentation by Emerita Professor Christine Chinkin, Chair of the International Law Association, on Women, Peace and Security: the Security Council Agenda and International Law.

Christine Chinkin, FBA is Emerita Professor of International Law, Professorial Research Fellow and Founding Director of the Centre of Women Peace & Security at LSE. Together with Hilary Charlesworth, she won the American Society of International Law, 2005 Goler T. Butcher Medal ‘for outstanding contributions tothe development or effective realization of international human rights law’. She is a L. Bates Lea Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School. She has held visiting appointments in Australia, the United States, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China. She was a member of the Human Rights Advisory Panel in Kosovo for over six years and was Scientific Advisor to the Council of Europe’s Committee for the drafting of the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

The presentation is open to both members and non‑members. There is no cost to register for the event.

Registration is essential and via Eventbrite: RSVP for the AGM (members only) and/or End-of-Year event.

Reflections on Hilary Charlesworth’s Appointment to the International Court of Justice – Isabelle Peart

On 5 November 2021, Professor Hilary Charlesworth AM FASSA FAAL was elected as a member of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). She is the first Australian woman to serve in the position and fifth female judge of the Court. Judge Charlesworth succeeds the late Judge James Crawford, who served from November 2014 to May 2021. She will fill the remaining term until 5 February 2024. 

Members of the ICJ are elected by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. When a judge of the ICJ is unable to complete their term, they will typically be replaced by a judge of the same nationality. This happened with the elections of Judge Yuji Iwasawa from Japan (replacing Judge Hisashi Owada), Judge Joan E Donoghue from the United States (replacing Judge Thomas Buergenthal), and Judge Xue Hanqin from China (replacing Judge Shi Jiuyong). However, there is no formal rule requiring this. When Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui from Algeria and Judge Awn Al-Khasawneh from Jordan resigned in 2001 and 2011 respectively, they were replaced by judges of different nationalities (Judge Nabil Elaraby from Egypt, and Judge Dalveer Bhandhari from India). 

Along with Judge Charlesworth’s nomination by Australia, Greece nominated Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, a former president of the European Court of Human Rights. Judge Charlesworth was elected with an absolute majority of votes in both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. 

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