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Law Council of Australia

International Law Section

Message from the Chair - December 2022

Dear ILS members,

Thank you all for your engagement and participation in the work of the ILS this year.

2022 has been a challenging year.  Our transition from lockdowns and managing the difficulties which have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the future direction of the Section and re-engage with overseas connections as international travel has re-opened.

Earlier in the year, the ILS Executive adopted its new ILS 2022-2023 Strategic Plan which articulates the vision of the Section and current areas of strategic focus. The ILS also restructured its committees. Two streams of committees have been established to support the objectives outlined in the ILS Strategic Plan 2022-2023. The first is the international substantive law stream, which includes international rule of law and policy as well as special interest committees.  The second encompasses organisational committees to support the interdisciplinary activities of the ILS.

The substantive law stream includes the Public International Law Committee, International Trade and Business Committee, International Dispute Resolution Committee and the South Pacific Issues Committee.  The organisational stream includes the Chapter Engagement Committee, Publications Committee and the Young Members Committee.  The ILS Executive would be pleased to hear from members about ideas relating to activities for these committees.  Please feel free to contact our ILS Administrator Doris Wimmler at doris.wimmler@lawcouncil.asn.au.

In September 2022, in association with the South Pacific Lawyers Association, LAWASIA and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the ILS presented a Conference and Workshop held in Fiji on the topic of Alternative Dispute Resolution, which focused on ADR in the South Pacific.  Leading international and local experts shared thematic insights on topics such as International Commercial Arbitration, the Singapore Convention on Mediation, Environmental Disputes and Climate Change as well as their views on Recent Developments in ADR.  Also, in November 2022, the ILS contributed in many sessions to the most successful LAWASIA Conference held in Sydney. I thank the Executive members for their substantial contributions.

The ILS continues to present the highly successful International Law and Practice Course and The Authors” Series which will continue in 2023.  The ILS will also continue to expand its international engagement with the re-invigoration of its Chapters, which commenced in 2022 with the New York Chapter and a networking function held at the Australian Consulate-General New York. I wish to thank the Consul-General, Mr Nick Greiner, for his support with this initiative.

On 21 September 2022, the Law Council President and Director, International met with Australia’s High Commissioner to Singapore, the Hon. William Hodgman, to discuss areas of possible collaboration and opportunities for Australian lawyers in Singapore, particularly the re-establishment of the Singapore Chapter of the Law Council of Australia’s International Law Section.

The President and Director, International discussed their engagement with international counterparts at the POLA Conference and raised with the High Commissioner the Law Council’s concerns regarding the increased pace of executions in Singapore in 2022.

I also wish to acknowledge the work of our Executive Committee member, Anne O’Donoghue, in assisting in the organisation for the rescue, and relocation, of Afghani women judges and their families in Australia. I also recognise the work of the International Association of Women Judges and the Australian Chapter as well as other organisations who worked so effectively in this extraordinary endeavour.

This month I had the pleasure of meeting the 2022 winner of the International Law Section’s Essay Competition for Studies in the Law of the South Pacific, Ms Loretta Houlahan. Ms Houlahan’s essay on Climate Change-Related Sea Level Rise and the Law of the Sea will be published on the Law Council’s website and circulated to members.

On behalf of the ILS Executive, we look forward to continuing to build the ILS in 2023 and your engagement.  We will be initiating an ILS Newsletter in 2023 to keep you informed of the activities and legal and policy issues which arise for the ILS.

I wish everyone the best for the festive season and a joyous holiday season.

Mary Walker OAM

Chair International Law Section

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