Faculty of Law


On this page

Faculty and School Events

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).

Back to top ^

Public Lectures

Domestic Courts and the International Legal System

Date: 15 June 2015

Time: 12.40 pm

GB238, Socrates Room
Old Government Buildings, 55 Lambton Quay


The International Law Association New Zealand Branch in association with
the Faculty of Law at
Victoria University of Wellington
invite you to attend a Public Lecture on

 Domestic Courts and the International Legal System 

presented by 

Professor David Sloss

 Chaired by Professor Campbell McLachlan QC


Traditional accounts of international law in domestic courts focus on the distinction between monist and dualist legal systems. In monist systems, courts apply international law directly—that is, without intermediation of domestic lawmaking institutions. In dualist systems, direct application is not an option, so courts apply international law indirectly, or not at all. In dualist systems, the formal authority of courts to apply international law requires the approval of domestic lawmaking institutions.

Although this account is formally correct, it tells us very little about the functional role of domestic courts in the international legal system. In this lecture, Professor Sloss will present a functional account that focuses on the distinctions among horizontal, vertical, and transnational legal obligations. Modern international law regulates horizontal relationships between states, vertical relationships between states and private parties, and transnational relationships between private parties whose interactions cross state lines. The role of domestic courts in interpreting and applying international law varies greatly, depending on whether the international rule at issue is horizontal, vertical, or transnational.

This lecture is based on a book chapter that draws on materials from approximately two dozen countries to present an account of the role of domestic courts in interpreting and applying horizontal, transnational, and vertical international legal rules.

About Professor David Sloss

David-SchlossProfessor Sloss is an internationally renowned scholar who has published two books and numerous law review articles addressing the application of international law in domestic courts. His scholarship in this area is informed by a decade of experience in the United States government, where he helped draft and negotiate several major international treaties. Professor Sloss serves frequently as a consultant for U.S. attorneys who seek advice on the domestic application of international law in U.S. courts.


Please RSVP to law-events@vuw.ac.nz to confirm your attendance

Back to top ^


Weak Form Review and the Rule of Law

Date: 15 June 2015

Time: 1.00 pm

Venue: Moot Room (GB340), Level 3, Old Government Buildings, Victoria University of Wellington

The New Zealand Association for Comparative Law and the New Zealand Society for Legal and Social Philosophy Seminar

'Weak Form Review and the Rule of Law'

Seminar presented by Stephen Winter, University of Auckland

No RSVPs required

Back to top ^

NZ Centre for Public Law


2015 ANZSIL Conference: International Law-Making at a Crossroads: Participants, Processes and Principles

Date: 2–4 July 2015

Time: 8.30 am


The 23rd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law (ANZSIL) will take place from Thursday 2 July 2015 to Saturday 4 July 2015 at Victoria University of Wellington, in Wellington, New Zealand.

Conference overview

The expansion and fragmentation of international law has brought a new complexity to international law-making.

Today, there is an unprecedented diversification of actors, processes and fora involved in the creation of international standards, with government organisations, non-state actors and other networks are increasingly involved in the norm developing process.

While certain forms of international collaboration are deliberately aimed at facilitating international agreement without establishing legally binding obligations, such agreements achieve a remarkable degree of compliance by states.

Theories of international law-making no longer focus only on the fixed sources of law, but also explore the generation of law as an ongoing process of communication, interpretation, and narration.

These innovative efforts at engaging in and making sense of legal diplomacy raise significant questions about the legitimacy, accountability, effectiveness, and nature of international law.

Keynote speakers


Registration is now open. To register, download the registration form (PDF, 150KB) and follow the instructions.

Draft conference programme

Please note this programme (PDF, 473KB) is subject to change, including updates to locations and presenter details.

Back to top ^


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

Back to top ^