Director's Report

Congratulations on Recent Appointments

I am delighted to advise of several new appointments. Associate Professor Jianlin Chen will join the Law School and ALC in mid-2017. Jianlin comes to us from Hong Kong Law School where he worked in the areas of comparative Asian resources law, general commercial law and Asian legal systems. Jianlin is very known to ALC staff and we look forward to welcoming him to Melbourne.

We heard last week that Tarunabh Khaitan, based at Oxford University, has successfully secured an ARC Future Fellowship to explore whether the design of democratic constitutions could, and should, be used to foster constitutional resilience. We hope to welcome Tarun back to the ALC in early 2018.

Forthcoming Publications

We also have a range of forthcoming publications.  Socialist Law in Socialist East Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2018) co-edited by myself, Fu Hualing, John Gillespie and Will Partlett challenges readers to consider the resilience of the socialist legacy in each of contemporary Vietnam and China. Sarah Biddulph’s Justice: The China Experience (CUP 2018)  explores how certain ideas about justice have come to dominate the Chinese polity and society and how some conceptions of justice have been rendered more powerful and legitimate than others.

I am also delighted to announce the establishment of the Indian Law Review, which is an academic-led, double-blind peer-reviewed, generalist journal on Indian law. Associate Professor Farrah Ahmed is a founding editor of the Review.  I am also sure Farrah would welcome your participation in her Admin Law Blog, which is a forum for the discussion of ideas and developments of interest to scholars of administrative law across the common law world.

You may also be interested in selected forthcoming articles and papers by ALC staff.

We also continue to publish the ALC Briefing Paper series. Our most recent paper, which briefly introduces the Chinese court system, is available free of charge. A paper on the Indian court system is due out later this year. We will shortly release Briefing Papers in English and Vietnamese, which were presented at the first Vietnamese conference that focussed on Vietnamese death penalty law and practice. This March 2017 conference was jointly hosted by the ALC and the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, with the generous support of DFAT.

Enabling free access to the papers in Vietnamese will invigorate the death penalty debate in Vietnam through access to leading research on this issue regionally.

Recent Events

In February 2017, the ALC hosted the Japan Summer School, teaching 18 students from Chuo and Keio Law Schools.

In April 2017, ALC visitors from Japan and Hawaii continued our focus on the death penalty by sharing their research and experience of Japanese abolitionist activism and its challenges and the impact of lay judges on death penalty sentencing.

Research Grants

The ALC regularly benefits from Asia-focussed research grants. Most recently, Andrew Godwin secured funding to continue work with the Federal Court of Australia and Supreme Court of Victoria on the role of culture in the determination of civil disputes in Australia and regionally.

Sarah Biddulph is working with current ALC visitor Weitseng Chen, from NUS, on debates on the Chinese model of law and development.

ALC Associate, Professor Susan Kneebone secured funding to bring Professor Guofu Liu to the ALC in 2017. Susan is leading a project that considers migration, marriage and nationality in Australia and China.

MLS has also established a new grant scheme to support MLS colleagues working with scholars at Renmin University, from which ALC members also hope to benefit.


I am delighted to announce that a number of new scholarships will be available to international students from Asia commencing the Melbourne Juris Doctor (JD) or Masters in 2018.

The Melbourne Law School Yao Yi and Xu Bin Asia Leaders Scholarship will support students from Mainland China.

The Melbourne Law School Charles-Lim Capital Asia Leaders Scholarship will be available to commencing JD students from Brunei, Cambodia, China Mainland, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Alex Chernov Scholarship will be awarded to students from India - one JD and one Masters student commencing each year for 3 years, with a full fee waiver for each course.

The Malcolm DH Smith Memorial Scholarship continues to award first-year Melbourne JD students who have completed an undergraduate law degree or a degree majoring in Asian studies at a tertiary institution in Australia or Asia. Congratulations to the 2017 recipient, Ms Didi Hu.


Our two Asia-focussed travelling subjects will run in 2017. Economic and Business Law in Asia ran for the first time in late 2016 and Kirsty Ha describes her experience. We wish our 12 Law and Legal Practice in Asia students all the best for their month-long internship in Delhi this coming July.

Finally, in August 2017, I will establish a reading group which takes Vietnamese law and legal institutions as its focus.  If interested in joining this group, please contact the ALC.


Professor Pip Nicholson
Asian Law Centre

Pip Nicholson