Recent Events (Selection)

ALC sponsors students attending 2015 Intercollegiate Negotiation and Arbitration Competition Tokyo, Japan

The ALC sponsored students to participate in ‘Team Australia’ in the 14th Intercollegiate Negotiation and Arbitration Competition.  Jeremy Latcham (Melbourne Law School) and Shojeeb Tahsin Alam (Monash University) joined students from the University of Sydney Law School and the Australian National University to compete in English and Japanese at Sophia University, Tokyo on 21-22 November 2015.

The competition is Japan’s premier legal mooting competition, attracting 30 of the top law schools, as well as the most accomplished law students from the Asian region. Students compete in arbitration and negotiation scenarios concerning international commercial contracts.

“What is Socialist about Socialist Law? Exploring Epistemic and Institutional Change in Socialist Asia”

Socialist LawOn 28-29 October, the ALC co-hosted a conference at the University of Hong Kong on “What is Socialist about Socialist Law? Exploring Epistemic and Institutional Change in Socialist Asia”. It was co-hosted with the Asia Pacific Business Regulation Group at Monash University, the Faculty of Law at Hong Kong University, and the Centre for Rights and Justice at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

By way of background, over fifty years ago, communist states across Asia turned to the Soviet Bloc for inspiration in developing their legal systems. They enacted constitutions, laws and established institutions that, with varying degrees of faithfulness, replicated Soviet regulatory models. Much analysis about subsequent legal reforms in these countries presupposes a linear transition from socialist legalism to liberal legalism. This conference explored alternative reform trajectories. Papers largely argued that political, legal and economic changes have not entirely transformed the institutional structures and epistemic settings that supported socialist law and institutions. Rather than a linear transition, legal reform in this region is variegated – raising the question, what is socialist about laws and legal institutions in contemporary socialist Asia?

This 2-day conference brought together experts on Soviet law and the Chinese and Vietnamese legal systems. The convenors hope to publish an edited collection of papers as a result of the conference.

“Tolerance and Rights in Asia: Hong Kong and Taiwan”

30th SeminarOne of the key events of the ALC’s 30th Anniversary celebrations was a seminar on “Tolerance and Rights in Asia: Hong Kong and Taiwan”.

Mr Antony Dapiran, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Hong Kong, discussed the “Umbrella Revolution” of 2014, which brought Hong Kong to the attention of the world after police officers fired teargas into crowds of umbrella-wielding anti-government protesters, spurring mass demonstrations and a 79-day “occupation” of the heart of the city. While the Umbrella Revolution protests were the largest Hong Kong has seen, they were not unique, forming just the latest chapter in a long tradition of political protest. This presentation explored the history and background to the culture of protest in Hong Kong as an important means of political expression, and assessed the prognosis for rights in Hong Kong as we approach the twentieth anniversary of the “handover” to Chinese sovereignty in 2017.

Professor Jiunn-rong Yeh, Chair Professor, National Taiwan University, Taiwan, discussed similar issues in Taiwan. In the context of democratic transitional constitutionalism, institutional changes often go in tandem with rights recognition, in the forms of unconventional judicial rulings, interim quasi-constitutional statutory or political solutions to facilitate transformation. In the context of democratisation in Taiwan, vibrant and resilient civil engagements have been the primary driver for institutional change and rights recognition. With the recent influx of new immigrants from China and Southeast Asia, the existing demography of aborigines/Han, Mainlanders/Taiwanese and their divides, aided by the weak formation of “we the people”, have intensified the engagement of a dialectic rights movement with democratic tolerance: articulating identity and differences on the one hand and belonging and marginality on the other.

Professor Sarah Biddulph’s new book, The Stability Imperative, was also launched.

Video Recording of Event