Archive for the ‘School of Law’ category

PhD graduate receives international fellowship

April 4th, 2011

Dr Mark Shepheard has recently won a short research grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation. Congratulations Mark!

He will use this to spend 2 months (mid June to mid August) at the Department of Public and Rural Law, University of Lucern working with Professor Roland Norer on water stewardship obligations and lake contracts for farmers. Policy reform is underway in Switzerland to enable sustainable watershed management as an efficient and coordinated approach to managing water resources. The process seeks to balance the requirements of different interests, overcome conflict and achieve cooperation. Water use and water resource protection are assumed as competing targets for resolution. The approach simultaneously supports independent action by watershed stakeholders while pursuing personal responsibility for sustainable development relative to water management.

The process of watershed management raises several issues for effective natural resource management. These are: Who is involved in the process as a relevant stakeholder and what are the avenues for appeal of decisions?
How is the catchment wide strategic planning and management learning cycle turned into legally binding and practical obligations for water access and use? What is the role of the elected legislature (Federal and/or Cantonal)? What is the dispute resolution process in the likely event that competing interests about water cannot be balanced? Is enforcement by judicial and/or administrative means?

Trial Run – using moot courts to test conservation laws.

September 9th, 2010

Mark Shepheard’s moot experiment has received attention from the widely-read US magazine “Conservation“.

It’s an old story: environmental protections laws enacted with the highest hopes end up entangled in lawsuits for years or even decades due to vague wording. But there may be a way to avoid the legal gridlock, argue two Australian scholars: Road test proposed rules in mock trials in “moot courts” before they get chiseled into the lawbooks.

Australia has seen its share of frustrating legal wrangles over environmental laws, Mark L. Shepheard and Paul V. Martin of the University of New England in Armidale note in an article in press at Land Use Policy. Courts have largely rejected government efforts to enforce a native plant conservation law passed in the 1990s, for instance, in part due to vague requirements. Efforts to enshrine the do-no-harm “precautionary principle” into law have also been bedeviled by disagreements over definitions.

Read more of the article at

Congratulations Michelle Lim!

September 7th, 2010

Congratulations to Michelle Lim for having her paper selected as one of the two PhD papers to be presented in the final Plenary session at the forthcoming IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium in Ghent.

This was a highly competitive selection, with only 2 papers being selected from 25 PhD students from around the world.

Many of you would have had the opportunity to hear her paper at a recent Kirby, so will be aware of the quality and potential impact of her work.

Congratulations Michelle!

Professor Stephen Colbran appointed to the AUQA Register of Auditors

August 24th, 2010

Professor Stephen Colbran was recently appointed to the AUQA Register of Auditors until 30 September 2011. AUQA is the principal national quality assurance agency in higher education with the responsibility of providing public assurance of the quality of Australia’s universities and other institutions of higher education, and assisting in enhancing the academic quality of these institutions and accreditation authorities, reporting on performance and outcomes, assisting in quality enhancement, advising on quality assurance; and liaising internationally with quality agencies in other jurisdictions, for the benefit of Australian higher education.

Professor Stephen Colbran has also recently returned from Turkey where, upon the request of the Turkish judiciary and with funding from the British government, he was a keynote speaker at a conference on judicial performance evaluation. Professor Colbran has now been engaged by the Turkish judiciary to prepare a report on how to improve the objective measures of judicial performance evaluation used in Turkey for both judges and prosecutors. Turkey has a Civil Law system in which judges and prosecutors are trained once they leave university. It is anticipated that the Turkish Ministry of Justice together with the British Government will apply for European Union funding to implement the recommendations of the report currently being prepared.

ReMarks, the feedback management system, devised by Professor Stephen Colbran, with support from external funding, is now proceeding to trials at CDU, Flinders, UWS, University of Canberra, and University of Auckland. Numerous other universities are currently evaluating the product. ReMarks can be downloaded and used by Australian Academics free of charge from

AgLaw’s success at national conference

July 23rd, 2010

The Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law (AgLaw Centre) at the University of New England has been recognised at a national irrigation conference for its significant contribution to research on water law and water institutions.

The AgLaw Centre has been pivotal to a number of studies of laws and institutions impacting on water markets conducted through the Cooperative Research Centre for Irrigation Futures over the past five years. Staff members of the AgLaw Centre were presented with three awards earlier this month at the Australian Irrigation Conference & Exhibition 2010. The conference, held in Sydney, was organised by the CRC for Irrigation Futures and Irrigation Australia.

Professor Paul Martin, the Director of the AgLaw Centre, received the “CRC Values Award for Excellence” for his leadership and for his contribution to the work of the CRC.

Dr Jacqueline Williams, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the AgLaw Centre, received the “Board Award for the Quiet Achiever / Trans-discipline”. This was particularly in recognition of Dr Williams’s achievement in integrating the work of other science and policy teams with that of the AgLaw Centre, and her commitment to engagement with communities. This has resulted in tangible applications of the research work of the AgLaw Centre and the CRC.

Professor Martin, Dr Williams, and Christopher Stone won the “2010 Science Award” for their technical report Transaction Costs and Water Reform: the devils hiding in the details. This report, published in 2008, is a cornerstone of recently-commissioned studies for both Federal and State agencies on the effectiveness of environmental laws and markets, and has resulted in a number of peer-reviewed publications. Further development of the approach is occurring with colleagues at Penn State University in the United States, and in the EEC. The report has been the most-downloaded report from the CRC Web site since 2003.

The AgLaw Centre is working closely with colleagues from across UNE in developing new approaches to the integration of science, law and institutional research relating to water. The researchers expect that two more studies will be published before the end of the term of this CRC for Irrigation Futures in August 2010.

Attention all female law academics!

July 22nd, 2010

Bond University will be sponsoring the upcoming Australian Women Lawyers National Conference, held at the Stamford Plaza Brisbane on 6-8 August 2010.

In line with AWL’s broad objective of supporting justice and equality for women, the 2010 conference Justice for All will examine both direct and indirect discrimination against women in the legal profession. AWL recognises the unique challenges within the profession for women, and the importance of their presence in creating a balanced representation.

The conference will address a broad range of practice areas including corporate & commercial, family and administrative law as well as issues relevant to practice management, recruitment and retention.

Speakers have been invited to address the issues facing each practice area and to discuss discrimination in the profession and with the administration of justice. AWL’s aim is to make this conference highlight not only the issues facing women in general, but to make the broader community more responsive, as a whole, to women’s needs. I look forward to welcoming you all in Brisbane in August.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) points are available for the conference and are based on 1 point per hour, per education and are self assessed.

Launch of Inaugral edition of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law journal

July 21st, 2010

Please see the below link for information about the Inaugral edition of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law journal has just been launched.〈=en

Professor Paul Martin from our School of Law is one of the founding editorial members of this Journal. Congratulations to Paul and we look forward to hearing about the success of this important academic project.

The Journal aims to provide:
* a valuable resource for IUCN Academy members, other institutions and scholars interested in keeping abreast of environmental law developments worldwide
* a forum for facilitating the participation and engagement of a broader array of scholars in the IUCN Academy’s network, especially younger and emerging academics.
* a platform for promoting global information exchange and debate amongst environmental law scholars.
* a tangible “Academy product” which will raise the profile of the IUCN Academy and grow its membership.

‘If I were the Australian Minister for Agriculture…’

May 24th, 2010

The question, ‘What if I were the Australian Minister for Agriculture?’, has also been posited to four authors with expertise in farm policy and knowledge of Australian agriculture:
Professor Paul Martin (AgLaw, UNE), Professor David Pannell (School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia), Dr Alistair Watson (a freelance agricultural economist) and Professor Margaret Alston, (Department of Social Work at the Faculty Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University).

The May 2010 Farm Policy Journal will include the winning two papers from AFI’s recent Writers Competition asking entrants to imagine themselves in the Minister’s shoes.

If you were the Australian Minister for Agriculture, what would be your aims for the future of agriculture, and what measures or programs would you implement to make that happen? This was a challenge given to both professional and amateur agricultural policy-makers, with the added incentive of a prize for the two best ‘amateur’ efforts.

The May 2010 Farm Policy Journal will be released in early June.

Regional Development

January 25th, 2010

september-2009-268Across the New England and surrounding regions there is an enormous number of natural resource and land use, economic and social development issues to be tackled involving state and local government agencies, non-government organisations and communities. To ensure the best solutions to the challenges requires excellent data, analysis and decision support.

Under the Rural Resurgence programme a number of projects have been initiated that deal with different aspects of this challenge. These include work by Dr Lou Conway and Professor Alison Sheridan and by Professor Brian Dollery and Bligh Grant, all from the School of Business, Economics and Public Policy.

In late 2009, Professor Paul Martin worked closely with the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, three NSW State Ministers and senior officials to consider the potential of a regional research hub to coordinate and fund long term research. The active support of the Chancellor, the then Vice Chancellor, Dr Conway, Professor Sheridan, Dr Amanda Kennedy and Dr Jacqueline Williams from the Professions and Dr Julian Prior from Arts and Sciences, has been vital to advancing this concept. The response from government agencies has been very positive. It is hoped that during 2010 UNE will be able to lock in, to a well-structured and supported approach to this research.

This project is a prime example of UNE working with its community to create stronger communities and stronger links between UNE and the region. For more information on this project contact Professor Paul Martin at:

UNE Improving Life in Rural Communities

January 21st, 2010

normal_trees-q0026Rural people and communities experience significant social and professional isolation including the lack of access to formal education, vocational and social information, and professional services. This can adversely impact individual and community health and wellbeing and the resilience of rural people.

Launched in 2009 the UNE’s Rural Resurgence Initiative (RRI), a cluster of research projects, aims to assist rural people and communities by tackling knowledge disadvantage in its different forms. The projects are all focussed on working with communities to improve access to knowledge so as to allow improvements in health, education, social welfare, employment and economic capacity in rural communities.

There are around 10 projects in various stages of development under the Rural Resurgence banner, including:

Access to Professional Services

Inequity of access to professional services goes to the heart of communities. It spills over into difficulties attracting new staff, conducting businesses, promoting opportunities and creating new enterprises. The issues that prevent there being sufficient services for rural people and sufficient support for rural professionals include some that are specific to a particular profession and many that are common to all.

In 2008 UNE held a Rural Professional Services summit involving over 30 professional workforce groups. The participants scoped a research program to improve rural access to professional services. The Summit identified 14 key research issues including; better understanding of the needs of professional service providers, recruitment and retention, Continuing Professional Development, supporting professional associations, innovations in the delivery of services and better addressing of personal and family needs.

Eight of these professional bodies are now working with UNE researchers to create a program to address some of these issues. In August 2009 a preliminary survey of needs was initiated. During the coming year detailed consultation will be carried out to specify the questions, methods and funding support that will be required to address the issues that have been raised.

This project involves staff from the School of Law, the School of Business, Economics and Public Policy and Professor Belinda Tynan, leader of the DEHub project. The co-ordinator is Dr Amanda Kennedy: