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Common Grounds - New Zealand & America Latina

Date: 21–23 October 2015

Time: 8.30 am

 Common Grounds conference header

This two-day conference, the first of its kind in New Zealand, will bring together a number of outstanding Latin American experts to offer a deeper understanding of the legal history and commercial culture of a region that is becoming increasingly significant to the New Zealand economy.

With a population expected to reach 625 million this year, and an increasingly democratic political landscape, Latin America looks set to develop into an economic powerhouse. Connections between New Zealand and Latin America are rapidly expanding and diversifying, and in dealing with any culture, an understanding of its law, legal system and legal culture is a vital component of successful political and commercial engagement. This conference will provide a comprehensive programme for both private and public sector entities with an interest in opportunities in the region.

Keynote speaker:

Pablo Fajardo, acclaimed human rights lawyer – sponsored by the Law Foundation
Pablo Fajardo was lead counsel in one of the largest environmental suits in history, representing 30,000 indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon against American oil giant Chevron (formerly Texaco) for widespread contamination of the Amazon basin.


Registration information will be added shortly. Please email law-events@vuw.ac.nz with any enquiries about this event.

Third Biennial Labour Law Conference of the New Zealand Labour Law Society

Date: 27 November 2015

Time: 8.30 am

old government buildings

Third Biennial Labour Law Conference of the New Zealand Labour Law Society
In conjunction with Victoria University of Wellington Law School
Conference Announcement and Invitation to Submit Papers

The New Zealand Labour Law Society’s third biennial conference will be held on Friday 27th November 2015 at the Law School, Victoria University of Wellington, 55 Lambton Quay, Wellington.

Invitation to submit a paper: The organisers invite papers and proposals for papers from academics, practitioners or judges (including student papers) on any area of labour law. We particularly encourage papers that explore or develop an area of labour law in a thematic, analytical or academic way (rather than papers that might be more appropriate for a practice oriented event) but this should not be seen as discouraging papers that take this approach in a practice oriented context.

The theme of the conference will be Challenges of Regulating Future Labour Markets and papers on that theme are particularly welcome; this might include topics as diverse as regulating zero-hours contracting, challenges in the low-paid sector, limiting employer intrusions into private life, particularly problems with social media and employer surveillance.

Submissions should include the name, title and affiliation of the author(s), a short biography and an abstract of no more than 250 words. Proposals should be submitted by 1 August and full papers by 1 November. Papers will be quality assured/referred by the organisers and notifications should be expected within 6 weeks of submission. Proposals should be sent to labourlawconference@vuw.ac.nz. Accepted proposals will receive full information on the final format although it is not expected that final papers would be longer than 6-8000 words

Full papers, following a refereeing process, may be selected for publication in a special Labour Law issue of the New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations. Papers from 2013 were published in 2013 39 NZJER (issues 2 and 3) accessible from http://www.nzjournal.org/index.htm

To register for the conference please click here (pdf).

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NZ Centre for Public Law


International Organisations and the Rule of Law: Perils and Promise

Date: 7–8 December 2015

Time: 8.30 am

NZCPL and ILA Logos


The New Zealand Centre for Public Law
The International Law Association (New Zealand Branch)

are pleased to announce a workshop on:

International Organisations and the Rule of Law:
Perils and Promise

to be held at Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law
Wellington, New Zealand

Keynote speaker and workshop commentator:

Professor José E. Alvarez
Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International Law
New York University School of Law

International organisations have represented some of humanity’s highest hopes for a more just and peaceful world order. In recent years, however, they have also been beset by serious problems and criticisms. Internationalists once believed that apolitical, technical international agencies would bring about ‘peace by pieces’, but some organisations such as the World Bank and IMF now face the contrary charge of advancing a particular brand of neoliberal economics and in the process undermining public goods and political legitimacy in their member states. Observers have noted the irony that the United Nations promulgates a “rule of law” paradigm to its member states, while it is not at all clear that the organization itself meets the requirements of that ideal. The Security Council is regarded alternately as a tool of ‘hegemonic international law’ and lamentably ineffectual where the interests of its permanent members are directly or indirectly concerned. And whereas the international community once saw the blue helmets of UN peacekeepers as symbols of international peace and security, that hopeful promise has been undercut by the tragedies in Rwanda and Srebrenica, allegations of sexual misconduct and, more recently, the catastrophic cholera outbreak in Haiti.

These problems raise a series of important theoretical and practical policy questions that demand attention from international lawyers. On the one hand, classical international organisations law, such as the doctrine of implied powers, has legitimised the continuous ‘mission creep’ of organisations well beyond what their founders originally intended, while failing to develop an adequate and enforceable doctrine of ultra vires. On the other hand, international organisations’ immunities are interpreted in an exceedingly broad, functionalist manner, making their officials and experts, as well as the organisations themselves, effectively unaccountable for a wide range of civil and criminal wrongs. Efforts to extend the international law of responsibility to international organisations have been roundly criticised on both doctrinal and practical grounds, and are unlikely to provide recourse to individuals and groups most negatively impacted by IO activities. The internal accountability mechanisms of international organisations, such as the World Bank’s Inspection Panel, may not address the root of the problems.

This workshop will take a fresh look at the resources that international law possesses to ensure that international organisations are held accountable for their errors and excesses, while remaining relevant and effective in the face of ever growing global challenges. How can international law develop in a way that preserves and enhances the dynamic possibilities of international organisations and their ability to contribute to the development of international law while making sure that the organisations themselves comply with the rule of law? Can international law offer solutions, or is it part of the problem? The workshop organisers welcome papers that present original legal or empirical research; theoretical reflections; case studies from practice; and critical and historical perspectives.

The workshop will be held in a roundtable format, focused on the discussion of draft papers. To enable all participants to benefit from the workshop, all will be expected to have read, and be prepared to comment on, each other’s papers.

Deadline for proposals: 15 July 2015

Proposals must include a one-page abstract of new writing and a one-page curriculum vitae, and should be emailed to Law-Events@vuw.ac.nz. Due to space limitations, early submission of proposals is highly encouraged. All participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses.

Successful applicants will be notified by 15 August 2015.

Draft papers, no more than 8,000 words long, including footnotes, will due for circulation to all workshop participants no later than 15 November 2015.

Workshop organisers: Campbell McLachlan and Guy Fiti Sinclair
Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law

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Capital 150 - Victoria University Open House at Old Government Buildings

Date: 25–26 July 2015

Time: 10.00 am

Victoria University is joining the capital’s 150th birthday celebrations with a weekend of events on 25-26 July.

A programme of public lectures, performances, debates and exhibitions will give visitors to the Old Government Buildings a taste of Victoria’s contribution to the capital city.

Events include a public lecture from former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer on why Wellington was chosen as the capital; a talk on George von Zedlitz, one of Victoria University’s founding professors; a debate; poetry readings; theatrical performances and displays.

The Department of Conservation will also be hosting a “two-day tea break” at the Old Government Buildings with free tea and biscuits for visitors throughout the weekend and a vintage car display, while members of Stagecraft theatre will take you back to the 1940s.

Elsewhere in the capital, Victoria University will also be contributing to 150 celebrations.

At the National Library, science, engineering, architecture and design experts will showcase some of their innovative projects, from 3D printing capabilities to the architecture of the future.

At Parliament, Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music students will be performing in the Parliament Banquet Hall and in the West Foyer. 

Click here for more information and programme updates.

Old Government Buildings


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