Law & Justice

Publication Search Results

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  • (2022) Hush, Anna
    For decades, feminists at Australian universities have fought to publicise and politicise the issue of campus sexual violence. These efforts have recently come to fruition, with universities publicly acknowledging the problem and undertaking various institutional reforms. However, there has been little scholarly attention paid to political struggles over sexual violence within universities. This thesis critically examines the politics of feminist activism against sexual violence at Australian university campuses. It situates this activism against the backdrop of the neoliberalisation of Australian universities, to reveal how feminists have challenged – and at times, acted in complicity with – these transformations in the landscape of Australian higher education. This analysis is both historical, drawing on archival material relating to the history of campus feminist politics, and contemporary, using data from interviews with students currently engaged in organising against sexual violence. It explores the strategies and tactics adopted by feminist collectives, the constraints on feminist mobilisation in the neoliberal university, and the shortcomings of these movements. This thesis makes two original contributions to knowledge. Firstly, it extends existing analyses of university sexual violence and contributes to the growing body of scholarship on this topic. Research on campus sexual violence in Australia has so far focused on policy analysis and prevalence data. While this provides an important basis for evaluating the scope of the problem and potential remedies, it is largely disconnected from political struggles over institutional responses to sexual violence, a gap this thesis seeks to fill. I offer an analysis of the historical and contemporary struggles that have created the conditions for institutional change, as well as the complex ways in which the neoliberal university undermines and constrains oppositional movements. Secondly, this thesis makes a theoretical contribution to the field of New and Feminist Institutionalism. It critically intervenes in the institutionalist field, drawing greater attention to the roles of macro-social contexts and actors in the form of social movements in processes of institutional change and proposing a framework that foregrounds these aspects of institutional politics. The findings of this research reveal significant limitations in Australian universities’ responses to sexual violence, with their actions falling short of both student demands and expert recommendations. I argue that these actions have largely functioned to consolidate managerial power and mitigate reputational risk, in doing so narrowing the space of political contestation. My analysis further illuminates the specific institutional constraints that bear upon student feminist organisers within the neoliberal university. This analysis offers strategic insights into feminist engagement with institutions, suggesting that student movements must develop the capacity to disrupt processes of institutional reproduction and challenge the reformist approach adopted by universities. A transformative response to campus sexual violence, I argue, will require broader and better-organised coalitions of staff and students in order to collectively challenge and overcome these constraints.

  • (2022) Hartridge, Samuel
    The fundamental aim of this thesis is to test three things. First, whether there can be a ‘rule of law’ in the international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) rules that regulate the use of lethal force by state militaries (Rules of Targeting). Second, whether there should be such a rule of law, and third, whether there is one. These questions matter because they allow us to consider what is important about the rule of law and whether and, if so, how the rule of law can be applied within the context of an armed conflict. I have chosen to focus on targeting decisions by state militaries, in the context of international armed conflicts (IAC) – conflicts between two or more states. This is because it forms the paradigm case for which the law in question is designed. In this thesis I set out why there can be a rule of law regulating the use of lethal force in IACs, why – to a limited but non-trivial extent – there currently is such a rule of law, and why it is a worthwhile endeavour to attempt to apply the rule of law to such exercises of power.

  • (2023) Poonjatt, Justin Jos
    In disputes between corporations and individuals, those seeking remedies through court litigation may find themselves in protracted legal and financial battles. Right-holders may face possible structural disadvantages if they do not have access to adequate resources, whereas corporations are risking their market reputation. Because of the risks involved, corporations may establish private processes to settle disputes outside of courts and avoid litigation. During the process, corporations use different tools that facilitate dispute settlement, which may adversely affect the right to access judicial remedies. One such tool is a legal waiver. This thesis investigates the use of legal waivers by corporations in private processes (also called operational-level grievance mechanisms) to settle human rights claims using cases from Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. Through examining the two cases, I explore the use of legal waivers to facilitate corporate-friendly remedies while limiting the right of victims to access judicial remedies. The use of legal waivers in private processes raises doubts regarding their consistency with different legal frameworks, such as international human rights law and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The thesis interrogates legal waivers through multiple lenses, such as the role of inequality of bargaining power, the emerging regulatory gulf between states and corporations and the legal validity of waivers as per the domestic laws of Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. It concludes that legal waivers should be transparent, facilitate victim-oriented remedies, be limited to civil claims and not be a tool for enforcing standardised remedies.