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NZ Centre for International Economic Law

Public Lectures

Proportionality and Deference in Investor-State Arbitration: Balancing Investment Protection and Regulatory Autonomy

Date: 12 May 2016

Time: 12.30 pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 3 (GBLT3) Old Government Buildings, 55 Lambton Quay, Wellington

"Proportionality and Deference in Investor-State Arbitration:
Balancing Investment Protection and Regulatory Autonomy"
Dr Caroline Henckels

Investor-state arbitration tribunals have been criticized for their inconsistent and incoherent approaches to determining state liability in regulatory disputes, and for appearing to favour the interests of investors over those of states in their decision-making. Pending reform of individual investment treaties to rebalance the interests of states and investors or to provide institutional changes such as appellate review, investment tribunals urgently need to adopt a more certain, consistent way of deciding cases involving the exercise of public power by host states. Other international and supranational courts and tribunals undertaking similar functions have all adopted a variant of proportionality analysis to determine disputes involving competing public and private interests. They have done so with an institutionally sensitive approach that pays regard to the right to regulate and to adjudicators’ comparative lack of expertise in relation to the subject matter of the measure at issue or the policy processes underlying its development. Adopting a variant of proportionality analysis modified by deference in situations of normative or empirical uncertainty could provide a means for tribunals to decide cases in a more consistent and coherent manner, leading to greater certainty for the system’s participants—and could address the concern that the decisions of investment tribunals unjustifiably impact on the regulatory autonomy of states.

Dr Caroline Henckels (PhD Cambridge, LLM Melbourne, LLB Wellington) is a Senior Lecturer at Monash University. Caroline researches at the intersection of international law and public law, with a focus on international investment law and trade law. Her most recent publications are Balancing Investment Protection and Regulatory Autonomy: Proportionality and Standards of Review in Investor-State Arbitration (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and ‘Protecting Regulatory Autonomy through Greater Precision in Defining States’ Investment Treaty Obligations: the TTIP, TPP and CETA’ (2016) Journal of International Economic Law.

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Faculty and School Events


Pasifika Law and Culture Conference

Date: 4–6 July 2016

Time: 8.30 am

After Paris, After Winston – the PACIFIC

The Pasifika Law and Culture Conference is an annual event. The purpose behind it is to increase the understanding of Pacific legal issues and to strengthen relationships between Pacific legal scholars and students. Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law will host this conference for the very first time this year.

The aim is that by hosting the conference, the following outcomes will be achieved:

  • Connecting Pasifika law students,
  • Connecting Pasifika law students with Pasifika legal scholars,
  • Creating networking opportunities for Pasifika law students with different institutions, organizations and potential employers,
  • Enabling Pasifika law students to employ practical legal skills, and
  • Enabling Pasifika law students to apply legal knowledge.

Please click here to register for the conference.

Please contact Lagi Tuimavave at lagi.tuimavave@vuw.ac.nz if you have any questions about this event.

ALTA Conference 2016

Date: 7–9 July 2016

Time: 11.00 am

Venue: Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law

banner for ALTA conference 2016

Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law is proud to be hosting the annual conference of the Australasian Law Teachers Association (ALTA) in 2016.

The 2016 ALTA Conference will bring together lawyers from Australasia and around the world and from the four sectors—academia, the public sector, non-government organisations and the private sector. Together we will explore the role of law teachers, scholars and lawyers in promoting good governance, strong and resilient economies mindful of the environment, as well as multicultural, diverse and thriving societies. The conference will also provide a forum for discussion on the role law teachers and scholars should play in forming the next generation of graduates, practitioners, government officials and civil society advisers.

Alongside keynote plenary events led by world-renowned experts, parallel sessions will enable established academics as well as new and emerging scholars to present their work and to meet and engage with speakers and participants. Some of the parallel sessions will be allocated to interest groups, allowing them to convene and reflect on the future direction of their particular area of specialisation, while others will be organised according to conference sub-themes with papers discussing various aspects of the overall theme.

Call for papers

Law teachers and scholars at all stages of their careers as well as practitioners and government officials from Australasia and beyond are invited to consult the call for papers and submit paper proposals on the above theme or any elements thereof for consideration by the 2016 ALTA Conference organising committee.

We have received numerous high quality paper and panel proposals in response to the call for papers. We thank all those who have submitted proposals and endeavour to contact them within the next few weeks. During this process, the conference organising committee will continue to consider late proposals until 15 April 2016 or until all spaces are filled.

For further queries, please contact ALTA-2016@vuw.ac.nz

Best Conference Paper Awards

Awards will be presented for the following three categories:

  • Best Overall Conference Paper
  • Best Early Career Academic Conference Paper
  • Best Legal Education Conference Paper

Further information on the awards can be found here.

Keynote speakers

The ALTA 2016 conference organising committee is delighted to announce as confirmed keynote speakers (in alphabetical order) for its annual meeting to be held in Wellington on 7-9 July 2016:

  • The Hon Christopher Finlayson QC, Attorney-General (New Zealand)
  • Professor Andrew Geddis, Faculty of Law, Otago University (New Zealand)
  • The Hon Justice Susan G M Glazebrook, Judge of the Supreme Court (New Zealand)
  • Professor Jane Kelsey, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland (New Zealand)
  • Professor and Dean Lorne Sossin, Osgoode Hall Law School (Canada)

The list will be updated regularly.

Key dates

Proposal submission deadline: 15 April 2016
Notification of acceptances: April 2016
Speaker registration deadline: 10 May 2016
Early bird registration: 21 May 2016
Submission of full papers for awards: 10 June 2016
Conference: 11am Thursday 7 July to 1pm Saturday 9 July 2016

Register for the conference here.

Registration fees (please note, the below promo codes will need to be entered as you register for the conference to enable the correct discount to be applied to your registration):

Early bird ALTA member: $705 incl. GST: Promo code “EBALTA”
Early bird non-member: $810 incl. GST: Promo code “EBNM”
Regular ALTA member: $885 incl. GST: Promo code “ALTA”
Regular non-member: $960 incl. GST: No promo code
Speaker & Faculty staff: $705 incl. GST: Promo code “SPFS”
Full-time student (PhD): $470 incl. GST: Promo code “FTST”
One-day: $355 incl. GST: Please specify which day you would like to register for: Thursday promo code: THU, Friday promo code: FRI
Saturday: $160 incl. GST: Promo code “SAT”

Other information

Accommodation for delegates
Visiting Wellington
Visiting New Zealand

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NZ Centre for Public Law


Symposium on Quasi-Constitutionality and Constitutional Statutes

Date: 19–20 May 2016

Time: 8.30 am

Call for Papers–Symposium on Quasi-Constitutionality and Constitutional Statutes–Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

The New Zealand Centre for Public Law
at Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law

in partnership with
The International Society of Public Law (ICON·S)
Boston College Law School
invite submissions for
Symposium on Quasi-Constitutionality and Constitutional Statutes
Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law

Thursday & Friday, May 19-20, 2016

The New Zealand Centre for Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty Law, Boston College Law School, and The International Society of Public Law (ICON·S) invite submissions for a two-day symposium on quasi-constitutionality and constitutional statutes, to be held on the Pipitea campus of Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law (Old Government Buildings) on Thursday & Friday, May 19-20, 2016.
This symposium is convened by Joel Colón-Ríos (Victoria University of Wellington) and Richard Albert (Boston College).

Subject-Matter of Symposium
It is now uncontroversial to state that, even in countries with a master-text constitution, what counts as fundamental law cannot be reduced to a single canonical document. Constitutional conventions, international obligations, and constitutional jurisprudence are frequently, and indeed correctly, considered part of a country’s constitution. Increasingly, judges and scholars alike attribute to “ordinary” laws what may be identified as a quasi-constitutional status. Reference is commonly made to superstatutes, to statutes with constitutional significance, and even to “constitutional” statutes. This symposium will convene scholars engaged in the comparative study of quasi-constitutionality. Subjects of inquiry may include quasi-entrenchment, quasi-constitutional rights, transitions to and from quasi-constitutional status or any issue examining the conceptual space between ordinary law and formal constitutionality.

Structure of Symposium
This two-day symposium will feature ten (10) papers selected through this Call for Papers, with one (1) discussant assigned to each paper, for a total of twenty (20) participants. Five papers will be presented and discussed on each day, with each paper allocated one hour of time for group discussion. Each day will feature a keynote luncheon speaker and will conclude early enough with time for rest and relaxation.

Submissions are invited from scholars of all ranks, including doctoral students.

The convenors intend to publish the papers in an edited book with each paper as a separate chapter. Discussants may also be invited to submit stand-alone papers to the edited book. An invitation to participate in this symposium will be issued to a participant on the following conditions: (1) the participant agrees to submit an original, unpublished paper between 8,000 words and 10,000 words consistent with submission guidelines issued by the symposium convenors; (2) the participant agrees to submit a full pre-symposium draft by April 15, 2016; and (3) the participant agrees to submit a full post-symposium final draft by August 1, 2016.

Submission Instructions
Interested scholars should email an abstract by October 1, 2015 to ryan.hynes@bc.edu on the understanding that the abstract will form the basis of the full pre-symposium draft to be submitted by April 15, 2016. Scholars should identify their submission with the following subject line: “New Zealand—Abstract Submission—Quasi-Constitutionality.”

Successful applicants will be notified no later than November 1, 2015.

There is no cost to participate in this symposium. Successful applicants are responsible for securing their own funding for travel, lodging and other incidental expenses. The New Zealand Centre for Public Law will negotiate a special group rate for lodging. Lunch will be provided.

Please direct inquiries in connection with this workshop to the convenors:
Joel Colón-Ríos
Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law
Richard Albert
Boston College Law School

About the New Zealand Centre for Public Law
The NZ Centre for Public Law was established in the Faculty of Law at Victoria University of Wellington in 1996 by the Victoria University Council, with the funding assistance of the Victoria University Foundation. The objectives of the Centre are: (1) to stimulate awareness and interest in public law issues; (2) to provide a forum for the discussion of those issues; and (3) foster and promote research of these issues. The Centre is a liaison point for the Law Faculty’s external relationships on public law issues and in conjunction with other related parts of the wider Victoria University community. Its activities revolve around hosting conferences, seminars and other events to debate and influence the public law issues of most current topical concern. The aim is to add to the public debates on these issues by making accessible the key facts and different perspectives on the issues; and by providing fora for engaging with and sparking dialogue with key decision-makers as well as learned commentators. The NZ Centre for Public Law engages with politicians, public servants, the judiciary, the legal profession, academics, distinguished international visitors, and everyone else who wishes to help shape the current issues of our democracy. For more, please visit http://www.victoria.ac.nz/law/centres/nzcpl.

About The International Society of Public Law (ICON·S)
The International Society of Public Law (ICON·S) was officially launched in June 2014 at an Inaugural Conference sponsored by the European University Institute and NYU School of Law in Florence, Italy. The conference featured a keynote address by Jeremy Waldron, plenary papers by Robert Keohane, Ruth Rubio Marin and Joseph H.H. Weiler, and hundreds of participants in concurrent panels on all subjects in public law.
Presided by Sabino Cassese, ICON·S emerged from the Editorial Board of I·CON—the International Journal of Constitutional Law. For several years now I·CON has been, both by choice and by the cartographic reality of the field, much more than a journal of comparative constitutional Law. I·CON has expanded its interests, range of authors, readers, Editorial Board members and, above all, issues covered to include not only discrete articles in fields such as Administrative Law, Global Constitutional Law, Global Administrative Law and the like, but also increasingly includes scholarship that reflects both legal reality and academic perception, and which in dealing with the challenges of public life and governance combines elements from all of the above with a good dosage of political theory and social science. Learned societies have often been founded to validate the emergence, autonomy, or breakaway of an intellectual endeavor. By contrast, international learned societies are often driven by the realization of intellectual cross-fertilization that can stem from disciplinary ecumenism. ICON·S is both.
The ICON·S Executive Committee includes Sujit Choudhry, Gráinne De Búrca, Ran Hirschl, Bing Bing Jia, Susanna Mancini, Phoebe Okowa, Michel Rosenfeld, Ruth Rubio Marin, Hélène Ruiz Fabri, Anne van Aaken, and Joseph H.H. Weiler. For more information, please visit: http://icon-society.org/site/index.

About Boston College Law School
Founded in 1929, Boston College Law School offers broad course offerings and small class sizes that permit considerable personal interaction with faculty. The international and comparative law curriculum provides opportunities for in-class instruction, innovative and flexible study-abroad programs, and meaningful training in the field. Boston College Law School understands that globalization magnifies the scope and complexity of law and legal practice. The curriculum trains students for the needs of today, while giving them skills and perspectives that anticipate the needs of tomorrow. The program prepares leaders to pursue social justice not just nationally, but internationally as well. For more, please visit: www.bc.edu/law.

About the Convenors
Joel Colón-Ríos is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington. His research explores the relationship between constitutionalism and democracy from a theoretical and comparative perspective. His papers have been published in leading international journals and explore topics such as different institutionalizations of judicial review of legislation, the theoretical basis of the doctrine of unconstitutional constitutional amendments, and the juridical implications of the theory of constituent power. His current book project, Constituent Power and the Law, looks at the ways in which judges, government officials, jurists, and citizens from various jurisdictions have made use, and use, the theory of constituent power to justify or challenge the legal validity of different exercises of political power.

Richard Albert is an Associate Professor at Boston College Law School and, in 2015-16, a Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University. A specialist in comparative public law with a focus on formal and informal constitutional amendment, he has since December 2014 been Book Reviews Editor for the American Journal of Comparative Law, which awarded him the Hessel Yntema Prize in 2010 for “the most outstanding article” on comparative law by a scholar under the age of 40. He is also an elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, an elected member of the Executive Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law, a member of the Governing Council of the International Society of Public Law, and a founding co-editor of I-CONnect, the new scholarly blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law. Prior to joining the faculty of Boston College Law School, Albert served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of Canada. Educated at Yale, Harvard and Oxford, he is currently engaged as a consultant on constitutional reform in Europe and the Caribbean.


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