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Commonwealth Law Conference draws near


Cite as: (2003) 77(3) LIJ, p.18

The world’s biggest legal issues will be considered at the 13th Commonwealth Law Conference in Melbourne next month.

Some of the Commonwealth’s best legal minds will tackle the topics of the International Criminal Court (ICC), legislative responses to terrorism and judicial education at the Commonwealth Law Conference in Melbourne next month.

Barrister and former state government minister Jim Kennan SC will chair a session on finding the right legislative balance in response to terrorism. The response of legislators throughout the world to terrorism threats has implications for human rights and, in turn, brings the focus on the investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences.

Mr Kennan said the session, held as part of the Criminal Law and Practice stream, would look at issues concerning legislative responses in domestic law in various countries, the international law aspects of terrorism and the “war on terrorism”.

He will chair the meeting along with the director of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat Dianne Stafford.

Guest speaker at the session will be the United Nations rapporteur on human rights Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy. The session will be held on Tuesday, 15 April.

Melbourne barrister Lex Lasry QC will chair a session of the Criminal Law and Practice stream that will look at the enforceability of ICC judgments. Keynote speakers in this session will be Judge David Hunt, member of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and Judge Lloyd Williams, member of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Mr Lasry said the enforcement of judgments might be the greatest problem facing the ICC. “Despite all the idealism of the Court, the kind of international justice we want has to be enforceable,” he said.

He pointed out that international criminal tribunals depended heavily on cooperation from local governments. If they did not cooperate then the ICC could only make a finding and refer the matter to the Assembly of State Parties. The session will be held on Tuesday, 15 April.

Judicial training in the Asia/Pacific region will be the focus of a session being held under the Human Rights and The Rule of Law stream. Australian Institute of Judicial Administration executive director Professor Greg Reinhardt will chair the session that will look closely at current methods of judicial training and options for the future.

Professor Reinhardt said there have been advances in countries of the region in judicial training and education, but more needed to be done for “the betterment of each court and its judicial officers”.

Guest speakers at the session will be Canadian Judge Sandra Oxner and Australian lawyer Livingstone Armytage. The session will be held on Wednesday, 16 April.

About 2000 delegates from around Australia and the world are expected to attend the conference. Other issues to be discussed at the conference include women and the law, HIV/AIDS, the law and judicial ethics, and jurisdictional issues arising from international e-commerce and publications on the Internet.

The brochure and registration form are available at

Jason Silverii


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