Sir Kenneth Bailey Memorial Lecture: Past Lectures

2023 Annual Lecture

Mr Les Malezer — Breaking Laws and Making Laws on Indigenous Peoples: From the National to the International

In this lecture, Mr Malezer draws on his extensive experience working in local, national and international organisations on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to consider the contemporary challenges to changing laws and doctrines regarding the status of Indigenous peoples in Australia. He recounts his personal perspectives on the way in which international processes on the rights of Indigenous peoples can supplement the national processes to enhance the goals of justice and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The lecture was presented at the Melbourne Law School on 6 September 2023.

2020 Annual Lecture

Professor Gerry Simpson — The atomics

How might international law respond to the prospect of nuclear annihilation? With abolitionist fervour? Technocracy? Legalism? Insouciance? In this lecture, Professor Simpson delivers a report on international legal nuclearism.

The lecture was presented at the Melbourne Law School on 11 March 2020.

2019 Annual Lecture

Professor Lavanya Rajamani — Innovation and Experimentation in the International Climate Change Regime

The international climate change negotiations, plagued as they are by deep-seated and seemingly irresolvable differences, have had to demonstrate remarkable dexterity over the years in skirting political dysfunction to reach agreement. The agreements reached reflect innovation and experimentation in several respects: the architecture of the legal instruments adopted, the profusion of norms of differing legal character in these instruments, the forms of differentiation between developed and developing countries, and even in the processes and procedures parties followed to reach agreement.

This lecture explores innovation and experimentation across the climate change regime, with a focus on issues relating to legal character and differentiation.

The lecture was presented at the Melbourne Law School on 12 March 2019.

2018 Annual Lecture

Professor Joseph H H Weiler — Reconsidering the Trial of Jesus:
A Reading for Our Times

Could the Son of God truly be guilty of Blasphemy? Was his trial fair? Who are the Christ killers? – The Jews? The Romans? Hundreds of books have engaged with these questions. While covering this familiar ground the Kenneth Bailey Lecture will address three other questions to date neglected. What is the significance of this most famous of Trials to our Western understanding of Justice? Why does it matter theologically speaking that the death of Jesus was brought about by Trial and not, say, assassination? And is there any reading of the Trial which may be relevant to the debates of our mostly secular culture of today?

The lecture was presented at the Melbourne Law School on 29 May 2018.

2017 Annual Lecture

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs — The Rule of Law in a Post-Truth Era

As the internet and social media provide unprecedented access to information and commentary, a curious and probably unforeseen consequence has been that responses to contemporary problems are increasingly emotional and ideological. Research reports, scientific evidence and balanced reports are often ignored in favour of subjective, entrenched views.  If facts don’t matter, how can public policy and laws be developed to address today's challenges? This public lecture considered the implications of a “post- truth” era on the rule of law in the context of marriage equality, indigenous policy and vulnerable children.

The lecture was presented at the Melbourne Law School on 4 October 2017.

2016 Annual Lecture

Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill — International Refugee Law: Yesterday, Today, but Tomorrow?

The international refugee law regime is currently facing fundamental challenges. We are witnessing unprecedented levels of forced displacement, and yet many developed states continue to implement a raft of policies, including securitisation, restrictions on access to asylum, exclusion, interception, and external controls, that threaten not only the scope of protection, but also the very foundations of the regime.

The lecture was presented at the Melbourne Law School on 14 September 2016.

Other Lectures

Professor Stewart Motha — Forget Sovereignty: The Nomos of the Sea & People in Small Boats

This lecture was held in 2013 in conjunction with the Institute of International Law and the Humanities. An audio recording of the lecture can be listened to here.