Editorial: Edition 33

Written by Felicity Gerry KC



WELCOME to our 33rd Edition of ANZSIL Perspective and the first for 2023, with an excellent perspective from Tianqi Gu on the State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Chapter of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

There are a wealth of legal issues for international scholars and practitioners to analyse this year from the “Rising tide of climate litigation”, including legal challenges over fossil fuel companies climate risk disclosures. Such news allows us to reflect on other relatively recent developments such as the Land Court of Queensland decision in Waratah v Youth Verdict Galilee Coal Project which recommended applications for a proposed major new coal mine be rejected on grounds that included human rights and climate change. Factors which contributed included the value of a nature reserve rights based legislation in Queensland and cultural evidence from First Nations peoples — a must read for those interested in the intersection of grass roots activism and the law on causation. In Aotearoa New Zealand, our colleagues are waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether to overturn the strike-out in Smith v Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited and others.

In international conflict law, the UN, the US and other international bodies have called for restraint in Israel and Palestine. In Ukraine, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 21,580 civilian casualties in the country: 8,101 killed and 13,479 injured in the last year. For scholars of the right to education, in Afghanistan and, since we last published, the UN Deputy Sectary General and UN Women Executive Director have visited Afghanistan and “witnessed extraordinary resilience. Afghan women left us no doubt of their courage and refusal to be erased from public life. They will continue to advocate and fight for their rights, and we are duty bound to support them in doing so.” As I draft this editorial, there is also news on the BBC of the alleged poisoning of 700 schoolgirls in Iran to stop them going to school.

In the context of torture, Australia was shamed by the cancellation by the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture of their visits on the issue of unrestricted access to all places of deprivation of liberty in two states which was not resolved. In the International Criminal Court, Dominic Ongwen lost his appeal, although the partly dissenting opinion of Judge Luz del Carmen Ibáñez Carranza recognised the relevance of modern slavery law to former child soldiers. Finally, a special mention  to the Supreme Court of New Zealand’s landmark decision in Ellis, which recognised tikanga as a central body of law within New Zealand’s legal system, highlighting the significance of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The ANZSIL Perspective review team and the editorial team welcome analysis of other complex and vexing international law issues. We extend a warm invitation to ANZSIL members and non-members to submit your perspectives for publication. We accept submissions on public and private law international law issues and where international law may be a topic for domestic decision making — particularly international law issues related to the multicultural nature of Australia’s and New Zealand’s societies. 

Felicity Gerry KC

Editor-in-Chief, ANZSIL Perspective

The deadline for the next ANZSIL Perspective is 27 March 2023. The current call for Perspectives and submission details and guidelines are on the ANZSIL Perspective web page.

The views expressed in contributions to ANZSIL Perspective are those of the authors. Those views are not necessarily shared by ANZSIL or the Editors of Perspective.

Felicity Gerry KC
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Felicity is on the lists of counsel for the ICC and KSC having come to international practice now her children are older. She is admitted in England and Wales and Australia (Victoria and the High Court Roll) and specialises in complex criminal law cases, generally involving an international element including terrorism, homicide, biosecurity and human trafficking. She has a particular interest in complicity as leading counsel in the UK Supreme Court decision in R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8 and having led an amicus brief on CIL and complicity in the ICTY. She is Professor of Practice at Deakin University where she teaches a unit on Contemporary International Legal Challenges. She is widely published in areas including women & law, technology & law and reforming justice systems. Her current PhD candidature is on Transnational Feminisms and the Human Trafficking Dilemma.

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