Foreign Judges: National courts, transnational connections

As part of the Global Public Law Seminar Series, the CCCS will host a panel discussion on the phenomenon of foreign judging. Panellists from a variety of jurisdictions will discuss forces behind the transnational movement of judges; its effect in the jurisdictions that use foreign judges and those that provide them; and the implications of the use of foreign judges for constitutional adjudication, judicial independence and the role that courts play in their domestic and international contexts.

We tend to assume that the judges who sit on a state’s highest courts will be citizens of that state. However, in more than 30 jurisdictions around the world, foreign judges sit on domestic courts and decide cases of constitutional, legal and social importance.

The use of foreign judges raises issues of practical and theoretical importance for modern judiciaries, including judicial independence and accountability to domestic and international communities, the diversity and representativeness of judiciaries, the migration of legal ideas across national borders, and the transnational relationships between judicial actors and institutions.

The Seminar will also mark the launch of Foreign Judges in the Pacific, a new book by Anna Dziedzic, which presents an in-depth study of these issues in nine Pacific island states of Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

A panel discussion with Justice Vergil Narokobi, Dr Eselealofa Apinelu, Professor Hugh Corder, Professor Rosalind Dixon and Dr Anna Dziedzic. Professor Cheryl Saunders chaired the event and formally launch the book.

About the panel

Justice Dr Vergil Narokobi is a Judge of the National and Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea. Prior to his appointment as a judge in 2019, he was Legal Counsel at Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea and President of the Papua New Guinea Law Society. His PhD from Victoria University of Wellington examined the implementation of Papua New Guinea’s national goals and directive principles and basic social obligation. He also holds an LLB from the University of Papua New Guinea and an LLM from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Eselealofa Apinelu is the Attorney General of Tuvalu. She was Tuvalu’s first female lawyer. She was awarded a PhD from Swinburne University for her thesis ‘Standing Under Fenua: Customary Rights and Human Rights in Postcolonial Tuvalu’.

Hugh Corder held the Chair of Public Law at the University of Cape Town from 1987 to 2019 and is now a Senior Research Scholar in Public Law. He has been a Fellow of the University since 2004. A graduate of the universities of Cape Town, Cambridge and Oxford, his main teaching and research interests focus on judicial appointment and accountability and mechanisms to further administrative review. Professor Corder has been widely involved in community work since his student days, concentrating on popular legal education, human rights, the abolition of the death penalty, and the maintenance of the rule of law. He served as a technical adviser in the drafting of the transitional Bill of Rights for South Africa in 1993.

Rosalind Dixon is a Professor of Law and Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law UNSW Sydney. She is immediate past co-president of the International Society of Public Law, and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Arts and Social Sciences.

Anna Dziedzic is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law at Melbourne Law School. She researches comparative constitutional law and judicial studies, with a particular focus on the Pacific region. She is a Convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network at Melbourne Law School, Co-Editor of the Blog of the International Association of Constitutional Law, and Regional Coordinator for Oceania for the Global Citizenship Observatory at the European University Institute. She holds a PhD from Melbourne Law School, an MA in Human Rights from University College London and a BA/LLB from the Australian National University.

Cheryl Saunders has specialist interests in Australian and comparative public law, including comparative constitutional law and method, intergovernmental relations and constitutional design and change. She is a President Emeritus of the International Association of Constitutional Law, a former President of the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies, a former President of the Administrative Review Council of Australia, a senior technical advisor to the Constitution Building program of International IDEA and a convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network. Cheryl is a Laureate Professor Emeritus at Melbourne Law School and is the founding Director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies.

View the webinar recording