On Thursday 23 June, the NSW Young Lawyers’ International Law Committee in partnership with the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) and the Australian Disputes Centre (ADC) launched its inaugural International Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Seminar Series at a delightful evening event held at the offices of Baker & McKenzie in Sydney.

The aim of the project is to give Series participants, all young aspiring lawyers, a greater understanding of different areas of international dispute resolution in private law, public law and investment disputes, as well as treaty and contract negotiation. Twenty-five series participants have been selected by application and the Program participation fee will be donated to the NSWYL Charity — the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, which works to support children who have experienced or witnessed serious violence.

The launch began with a warm welcome from Andrew Salgo, Partner at Baker & Mckenzie, followed by an introduction to the project by the Chair of the NSW YL International Law Committee, Achinthi Vithanage. The Solicitor-General, Mr Justin Gleeson SC, provided the key-note address, reflecting on three distinctive ‘waves’ that have developed internationalism in Australian law.  Commencing his captivating journey through time, Mr Gleeson began at federation, examining the tendency of Australian courts to refer to overseas authorities to determine disputes and the international spirit of the Australian Constitution. He noted that further internationalisation of Australian law occurred through the country’s participation in the founding of the international legal order, including the establishment of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and the World Bank. The treaties to which Australia is signatory, the customary international principles to which it is bound and the extensive material output from international organisations of which Australia is a part, have influenced the development of Australian law and necessitated a familiarity within the legal community of the laws giving effect to such obligations domestically both in Australia and in other States with which Australia trades. The third ‘wave’ Mr Gleeson said, is evidenced by the support that the Commonwealth Executive and Australian courts currently give to international dispute resolution mechanisms, in particular international arbitration.

Cari-Dee Le of Holman Webb Lawyers moved a vote of thanks to the Solicitor-General for his Address and Deborah Tomkinson, the Secretary-General of ACICA, concluded the evening’s formalities. The event was attended by many distinguished guests, including the Hon Chief Justice James Allsop AO, the Hon Justice Lindsay Foster (Federal Court of Australia), the Hon Justice David Hammerschlag (Supreme Court of New South Wales), Professor Joellen Riley (Dean of Law, University of Sydney), Mr Gary Ulman (President, The Law Society of NSW), along with other renown international law barristers and academics.

Author: Cari-Dee Le, Holman Webb Lawyers