The Metamorphosis of Soft Law in Mauritius/Maldives: Part 2 – Jack McNally

In the Volume 28 of the Australian International Law Journal, I contributed an article on the preliminary objections judgment of the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (‘ITLOS’) in Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives case).  In that article, I proposed some ideas as to how strategic litigation can be employed to ‘metamorphose’ soft law instruments into hard law, and provided some thoughts on the practical effect of a judgment rendered in favour of a Small Island Developing State over the objection of a much more powerful State.  Since that time, ITLOS published its judgment on the merits of the Mauritius/Maldives case.  In this post, I provide a brief summary of the merits judgment and reflect on how the commentary in my initial article has held up over time.

Read More

Call for Submissions: Australian International Law Journal, 29 September 2023

The Australian International Law Journal (AILJ), published by the International Law Association (Australian Branch), is calling for papers on topics of public or private international law for its forthcoming volume. 

Papers should range from between 6,000 and 12,000 words. Case notes (2,000-3,000 words) and book reviews (1,000 words) within the areas of public or private international law are also welcome. 

The AILJ offers established and developing scholars the opportunity to publish high quality refereed scholarship on topics of public and private international law. The ILA is a global organisation, which plays a pre-eminent role in the progressive development of international law.  From a modest beginning in 1983 as Australian International Law News, the AILJ has become a peer-reviewed law journal of international standing.  

Papers on any topic of public or private international law should be submitted by email to the Editor in Chief at [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is 29 September 2023. Accepted submissions will be published in Volume 30 of the AILJ.

More information on the submission of articles, notes and reviews is available in the AILJ Guidelines for Authors.

2022 Nygh Hague Conference Internship Report

The International Law Association (Australian Branch) and the Australian Institute of International Affairs is pleased to share the Nygh Hague Conference Internship Report completed by 2022 participant Rachel Van Der Veen ahead of the pending deadline for the 2024 Internship.

Ms Van Der Veen participated in the Internship from 29 August 2022 to 27 January 2023 and worked mainly across the HCCH Conference on Commercial, Digital and Financial Law Across Borders (CODIFI Conference), the 2023 Council on General Affairs and Policy and the Special Commission on the 2000 Protection of Adults Convention.

Ms Van Der Veen’s report describing her experience is now available online. To learn more about the 2024 Nygh Internship (for which applications close on 30 September 2023) and to read the reports compiled by previous interns, please visit the AIIA’s website. Ms Van Der Veen will be presenting at the upcoming first session of the Early Career Seminar on Private International Law on 17 August 2023, on the topic Fiduciary Duties and the 1985 Trusts Convention.

ILA (AB) Early Career Seminar Series: Session 1, 17 August 2023

The Australian Branch is pleased to present the first seminar in its 2023 Early Career Seminar Series on topics in private international law. 

The event will be an online lunch time discussion on 17 August 2023 at 1:00pm AEST.

The panel will feature speakers Dr Sarah McKibbin, University of Southern Queensland, presenting The Australian Doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens in Practice and Rachel Van Der Veen, Australian Public Service, presenting Fiduciary Duties and the 1985 Trusts Convention. The commentator for the event will be Dr Brooke Marshall, UNSW Sydney and the session will be chaired by Danielle Kroon, Marque Lawyers.

To obtain further details, and to register, visit Eventbrite.

Events and Opportunities Digest: June 2023

Call for Abstracts: Symposium on ‘Russia, Imperialism, and International Law’ , 3 July 2023

The Walther Schücking Institute for International Law at the University of Kiel, Germany, will host an international symposium on ‘Russia, Imperialism, and International Law’ on 14-16 September 2023. The symposium will discuss Russia’s past and present attempts to (re-)establish its dominance and control in the post-Soviet sphere, with a specific focus on geopolitical (e.g., the concept of the ‘near abroad’), nationality-related (e.g., passportisation), and economic ‘tools of imperialism’. Abstracts should be around 1,000-1,500 words, and must be sent to Professor Andreas von Arnauld <[email protected]> in a single document that also includes a brief CV by 3 July 2023. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to present their research in panels on their respective themes, and following the symposium, to publish their paper in a special focus section in Volume 66 (2023) of the German Yearbook of International Law. Full details can be found here.

Read More

Domestic Prosecution of War Crimes in Australia and Its Implications Abroad – Molly Thomas

On 20 March 2023, the Australian Federal Police (‘AFP’) and Office of the Special Investigator (‘OSI’) issued a press release announcing that a New South Wales man had been arrest and charged with one count of War Crime—Murder under subsection 268.70(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). It is alleged that the man, later identified as former SAS trooper Oliver Schulz, shot and murdered an Afghan man in a wheat field in Uruzgan Province while deployed to Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force (‘ADF’). This incident was the subject of an ABC Four Corners program in March 2020.

Division 268 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code was inserted to create offences of ‘international concern’ and to incorporate the complementarity principles of the Rome Statute, per section 268.1(1) and (2).  Section 268.70 falls within Subdivision F of this Division, which specifically focuses on war crimes which are serious violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions committed in non-international armed conflicts, of which murder is one.

This is the first war crime charge of murder to be laid against a serving or former Australian Defence Force member under Australian law. This article examines the background of this prosecution and its implications for Australia, its allies and the road ahead for domestic prosecution of war crimes.

Read More

Book Review: ‘China and the International E-commerce and Digital Trade Law’– David Markus

This is a review of Dr. Jie (Jeanne) Huang’s China and the International E-commerce and Digital Trade Law: the case of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (University of International Business and Trade Press, August 2022, Beijing China, ISBN: 9787566323989, 262,000 words). Dr Huang is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney Law School, specializing in conflict of laws and digital trade. She is the Co-chair of the American Society of International Law Private International Law Interest Group and Co-Director of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the Sydney Law School. 

Dr Huang’s book, ‘China and the International E-commerce and Digital Trade Law: the case of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership’ is invaluable to stakeholders who are interested in E-commerce and Digital Trade (EDT) with China.  It is also a very useful resource for diplomats and delegations involved in free trade negotiations as it simplifies the four key areas where the PRC has provided simplification of its national and provincial frameworks to assist in navigating complex rules. 

Read More

Events and Opportunities Update: March 2023

Call for Submissions, International Law Weekend, 17 April 2023

International Law Weekend 2023, the American Branch’s annual conference and the premier international law event of the fall season, is scheduled for 19 October to 21 October 2023 in New York City. The American Branch is pleased to invite other ILA Branches and their members to submit panel proposals for inclusion in the conference program by the deadline of 17 April 2023

The theme of ILW 2023 is Beyond International Law. More information and instructions on submitting a panel proposal is available.

International Law Association Webinar on the Ocean, 25 April 2023

This is the 9th of a series of webinars scheduled to take place throughout 2023 to mark the 150th anniversary of the International Law Association. This webinar will discuss the Ocean White Paper, is chaired by Eden Charles, Deputy Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations and features 12 speakers with diverse backgrounds and expertise, including ILA (Australian Branch) President Professor Natalie Klein (UNSW Sydney). It will be an opportunity to understand the main drivers of ocean change between now and 2050 and to consider potential solutions, both from the regulatory, ocean governance and management perspectives. The event is to be held online on 25 April 2023 at 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm CET. Registration is essential. The full list of webinars is available on the ADI-ILA 150 website.

Call for Expressions of Interest, Early Career International Lawyers Panel Presentations, 28 April 2023

The ILA (AB) is planning to host several panel presentations throughout 2023 highlighting the work or research of early career international lawyers. The aim is to provide a platform for early career international lawyers to showcase a current project and receive feedback on their work. This opportunity is open to all early career international lawyers (i.e. with no more than five years of experience working in international law practice or academia, or current postgraduate student), and priority will be accorded to members of the ILA (AB). Please submit your EoI (consisting of the title of the paper, 200 word abstract and CV) to [email protected] by 28 April 2023. Please advise in your EoI if you have definite restrictions on your availability for the presentation.

International Law Association Symposium, 18-20 June 2023

The symposium for the 150th anniversary of the International Law Association (ILA) will be held between 18 and 20 June 2023, in a hybrid format in Paris and online. The Symposium will be hosted at Cité internationale universitaire de Paris, Maison internationale, 17 boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris, and the program for the Symposium features an Opening Ceremony, 16 different panels, a Dinner and a Members’ Meeting. Topics to be explored include the relationship between hard law and soft law, businesses as international law actors, cooperation, due diligence, mediation, sanctions and immunities. Full details and registration is available on the ADI-ILA 150 website. Early bird rates are available until 31 March 2023.

Call for Papers, German Yearbook of International Law, 1 August 2023

The German Yearbook of International Law is Germany’s oldest yearbook in the field of public international law. The Editors welcome submissions for volume 66 (2023) of the GYIL. Papers should be 10,000-12,500 words inclusive of footnotes and must conform with the house style guide of the GYIL. Submissions, including a brief abstract, statement of affiliation, and confirmation of exclusive submission, should be sent by 1 August 2023 to the Assistant Editor of the GYIL via e-mail: [email protected]. More information can be found at and

Call for Papers, RUMLAE CYBERCON 23, 1 June 2023

The Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics (RUMLAE) at the University of Adelaide is inviting abstracts on the topic of ‘Cyber Conflict and Legal Frameworks’ to be presented at a conference hosted at the University of Adelaide on 4-5 September 2023.

Abstracts of 300‐600 words should be submitted, together with a 300-word biographical note on the author(s), by 01 June 2023. Please send a submission in PDF or Word format stating ‘RUMLAE CYBERCON’ in the subject line to [email protected], or contact the same individual with any queries. Selected contributors will be notified by early June and asked to prepare 20-minute presentations for the workshop, with the intention is that these presentations will be developed into Chapters in an edited collection with Brill Nijhoff.

Congratulations to Australia’s Jessup Teams!

The International Law Association (Australian Branch) (ILA (AB)) and the ILA Reporter would like to extend its congratulations to all three of the teams which will be representing Australia at the International Rounds of the 2023 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington DC in April!

The three teams advancing are, in first place Macquarie University, in second place Bond University and in third place The University of Queensland. The ILA (AB) commends all the participants in this year’s Jessup Moot on their hard work, and wishes the advancing teams good luck in representing Australia at the International Rounds. Past President of the ILA and ILA (AB) Dr Christopher Ward SC (6 St James Hall Chambers) was present at the 2023 Australian Rounds to present Macquarie University with the Harold Snelling Prize for the members of the winning team, as well as to judge the Plate Final between the University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland to determine the third place team.

The judging panel for the Plate Final comprising Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson (Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory), Professor Tim Stephens (University of Sydney) and Dr Ward SC,
with the teams and faculty advisors representing the University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland

The Inflows of Illegal Maritime Arrivals amidst the Financial Crisis of Sri Lanka: Analysing the Loopholes in the Protection Mechanisms of Australia – D.G. Niruka Sanjeewani


Illicit boat entry from Sri Lanka (SL) to Australia is not a new phenomenon, as it was highly prevalent before the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009 and in the immediate aftermath. SL was among the top four source countries from which illegal attempts to enter Australia had been reported by 2012. 736 Sri Lankan boat migrants arrived in Australia at the end of the war. Between  2011 and 2012,  825 cases of  illegal attempts were reported. Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMA)s are unauthorised people who enter a country by unseaworthy boats. Even though border security measures to prevent this phenomenon were adopted by the two countries, a sudden resurgence has become evident due to the ongoing financial crisis of the country. More than 1,000 Sri Lankan people attempted to enter Australia by boats this year. According to the Australian Border Force (ABF), the highest number of boat entries in a single month was reported in June.  

SL is currently undergoing the worst economic crisis that the country has experienced since its independence. This unprecedented economic turmoil was highly backed by the economic mismanagement of the country’s leadership that caused the shortage of foreign exchange, fuel, electricity, medicine and inflation, followed by the high price factor. Since this situation has affected persons’ livelihoods, many people began to leave the country to meet their necessities in countries like Australia. These activities are being taken place outside the regulatory standards of migration, which are highly intertwined with people smuggling. The Protocol against the Smuggling defines smuggling as ‘to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefits, of the illegal entry of a person into a state party of which the person is not a national or a permanent resident.’ Routes of people smugglers frequently start from Negombo in the west of SL to Batticaloa and Trincomalee in the East; from Galle, Mirrissa and Hambantota in the South to Point Pedro in the North in SL. Importantly, the criminalisation of people smuggling invokes a criminal perspective to this humanitarian issue. 

Read More