Director's Welcome - Issue 1, 2015

In this first half of the year, we have hosted two visiting student groups. The first visitors came to us from OP Jindal Global University (JGU) arriving in early January to a Melbourne heat wave of 40 degrees. The students rushed out to buy fans. They had not expected Melbourne to rival Delhi's heat.

Professor Susan Lamb from JGU led the group of 25 students who took the study of International Criminal Law as their focus. Melbourne Law School staff assisted with teaching, while Dr Hao Zhang, who recently completed his doctorate on Chinese environmental law, was the chief adviser to the group. I shared a convivial commencement dinner with our visitors, who quizzed me closely on race, discrimination, treatment of women and work opportunities in Australia. OP Jindal is a private university based in Delhi, the leadership of which seeks to contribute to the reform of legal education in India.

In February, the Japan Program received its class of Japanese students from Tokyo-based Chuo Law School. This year marked a decade since the ALC first started hosting Chuo students in the comparative study of Australian-Japanese law.

ALC staff members have taught in the JD and MLM programs offering: 'Judicial Power in Asia' (JD legal research offering); Deals in the Asia Pacific (JD); Asian Competition Law and Policy (MLM); Chinese Law and Commerce (MLM); Commercial Law in Asia (MLM); Construction Law and Projects in Asia (MLM);  Comparative Constitutional Law (MLM): and Law and Development (MLM).

Mr Andrew Godwin represented the Law School teaching in the China and the Common Law Program along with colleagues from Oxford and NUS in four Chinese universities: Beijing-based Tsinghua Law School and Peking University Law School; and Shanghai-based KoGuan Law School, based at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Fudan University Law School. This is the second year this short course has been offered to Chinese students. It will run again in 2016.

Finally, on the teaching front, we look forward to reporting on the experiences of our first group of 12 JD students who will spend a month living and working in Delhi in July later this year.  We are indebted to the following organisations for hosting our students for the subject 'Law and Legal Practice in Asia' (India): Phoenix Legal; S & R Associates; Amarchand Mangaldas;  Rajshekhar Rao Chambers; and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.
To date, we have hosted two major conferences. The first took sport regulation in East Asia, particularly Korea, as its focus. Generously hosted by K&L Gates, Mr Hayden Opie (ALC Member since 2014) and  Ms Stacey Steele (ALC Associate Director (Japan / Korea) jointly convened the conference.

In April, the Dean, Dr Farrah Ahmed, Professors Sarah Biddulph, Cheryl Saunders and I attended the first Oxford-National Law University Delhi-MLS conference, hosted by National Law University Delhi ('NLUD') in Delhi in April. Two days were spent reviewing early career researcher papers followed by a public conference on Indian Public Law.  The very generous support of Mr Allan Myers AO QC and Mrs Maria Myers AO made this meeting possible.

Each of these conferences broadened our knowledge of very particular areas of law. In each case, valuable connections were also made with colleagues based around the region. Hayden and Stacey hope to secure funding for a conference in 2017 on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Farrah and I commenced discussions with NLUD in 2014 and this relationship has already produced a conference, support for student interns in 2016 and the possibility that MLS students can join the NLUD negotiation competition in September of this year. Further, Professor Anup Surendranath of NLUD will visit MLS in early 2016 to talk about his ground-breaking death penalty research, which approached all internees on death row throughout India for interviews and elicited a socio-economic profile of inmates (for more information, see Together with Reprieve Australia, the ALC will host Professor Anup Surendranath to talk about death penalty litigation in India and the role of the NLUD clinic in defending those on death row.

There is obvious scope to escalate the regional conversation about the death penalty, particularly in light of Australians' involvement in death penalty litigation in Indonesia and elsewhere in the region.  I would like particularly to note the extraordinary efforts of many Indonesian and Australian litigators who worked to try and save Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from execution in Indonesia in April 2015. The legal team for these two men has worked tirelessly over a very long period. The ALC's Professor Tim Lindsey, Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, has been a key voice explaining the litigation and its strategies publicly as he worked with the litigation team.

I hope you enjoy reading this digest of the first 6 months of ALC activity in 2015. Further, my colleagues and I at the ALC very much hope to welcome many of you to the ALC's 30th birthday celebrations slated for 17 August 2015.

Finally, the ALC has joined the tweeting community. You can follow us at @alc_mls.
With very best wishes, as always.

Professor Pip Nicholson

Professor Pip Nicholson
Director, Asian Law Centre
Melbourne Law School