Editorial: Edition 36

Written by Felicity Gerry KC



Tēnā koutou, yumalundi, and welcome to this edition of ANZSIL Perspectives which follows the wonderful ANZSIL annual conference. I hope you all found the conference enjoyable and enriching. I hear International Law Barbie had a fine time! This year’s conference was themed around the question of international law’s resilience. Professors Guy Fiti Sinclair and Surabhi Ranganathan provided two excellent keynote lectures, and an incredible twenty-two panels engaged in insightful and fruitful conversation about all manner of international legal issues.

This edition of ANZSIL Perspective features Dr Penelope Ridings on the International Law Commission’s (ILC) launch of a new topic: ‘Settlement of Disputes to which International Organisations are Party’. Her insight makes a valuable contribution to understanding the academic research and the practical issues arising. We also have a very interesting piece by Dr. Ricky Lee analysing Saudi Arabia’s withdrawal from the Moon Agreement in favour of the Artemis Accords. A huge thank you to our review team for their thoughtful reviews. I like to think we do not have a notorioius “reviewer 2”. Our editorial team has identified notable legal developments over the last month which include the following:

  • In the armed conflict space, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine continues—but the situation has been complicated by internal unrest and complex questions surrounding the status of the Wagner Group. Also in the humanitarian and disarmament space, the OPCW recently confirmed that all declared stockpiles of chemical weapons have been destroyed. Confirmation that cluster munitions have been provided to Ukraine has also caused serious concern, as the use of such munitions is challenging to reconcile with the principle of distinction
  • In international trade, the European Union-New Zealand FTA has been officially concluded, easing access to a major international market and protecting the interests of New Zealand producers. Negotiations for an European Union-Australian FTA are ongoing; many chapters of that FTA have already been concluded. For all three actors, these agreements represent an ambitious and complex balancing of several economic and legal interests. 
  • International courts and tribunals have seen an increased rate of activity in recent weeks. The ITLOS recently released all received submissions relating to Advisory Opinion 31, on sea level rise and climate change; these will undoubtedly prove of interest not only for environmental lawyers, but also for practitioners and scholars interested in how states understand not only the jurisdictional competence of the tribunal but also sources of international law.
  • At the ICJ, proceedings have recently been commenced addressing issues ranging from the prohibition of torture, to state immunities, to the Montreal Convention. On Thursday, 13 July, the ICJ released its decision in Continental Shelf (Nicaragua v Colombia)—a ruling which identifies a customary rule for determining the outer limits of continental shelves, and which has already been the subject of scrutiny. The ICJ also recently released a note detailing its procedure for advisory proceedings, and determined on 9 June that the declarations of intervention filed by third states as part of the Ukraine v Russia proceedings—except for the declaration of the United States—are admissible.
  • On the topic of international disputes, the International Law Commission has commenced its work on settlement of disputes to which international organisations are party. This work remains in its early stages. Dr. Penelope Ridings, member of the International Law Commission, has provided an insightful piece in this issue of ANZSIL Perspectives analysing the ILC’s work to date on the topic, as well as its potential implications for international organisations hosted in the Pacific region.
  • Finally, the relationship between law and global common spaces has also seen recent developments. The Council of the International Seabed Authority is continuing its discussion of the draft regulations on exploitation of mineral resources in the Area, an issue which remains highly controversial but of significant importance to many Pacific island nations. The regulation of activities in outer space also continues to develop: in the last two months Spain, Ecuador and India have all signed on to the Artemis Accords, which links back to our Perspective from Dr Ricky Lee.

There is such a lot to think about! As always, ANZSIL Perspective welcomes expert contributions on any of these issues, or any other topics presently testing international law, whether those contributions come from our members or beyond. We warmly invite you to submit your perspectives on public international, private international, and domestic-international interface legal matters. ANZSIL Perspectives are conversational in tone and designed to encourage debate, so we also would be glad to receive any responses you may have to pieces published. We look forward to receiving submissions from a diverse range of scholars, including new and emerging authors.

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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