Workshop - Australia and Asia: Regulatory Perspectives on Continuity and Change

11/17/2021 09:00 am 11/17/2021 05:30 pm Australia/Melbourne Workshop - Australia and Asia: Regulatory Perspectives on Continuity and Change

Government support for the study of Asian languages, history, cultures and legal systems in our schools and universities has declined or stagnated. Australia’s commitment to engagement with regional neighbours, including support for regional law and justice initiatives, remains under question.

In addition, pandemic-related travel and other restrictions have made methodological projects in Asian regulatory studies even more challenging for Australian legal scholars.

This workshop explores and showcases theoretical and methodological directions towards a purpose-driven future for comparative legal studies in 21st century Australasia.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Veronica L.Taylor, School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), College of Asia & the Pacific, ANU.

Veronica Taylor is a Professor of Law and Regulation at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University. Veronica has served as Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Director of the ANU Japan Institute, and as an ANU Public Policy Fellow. Her work focuses on regulatory justice, rule of law and institutional reform, and corporate governance issues in Asia. She is a founding editor of the Australian Journal of Asian Law, and currently co-convenes Australia’s Law and Justice Development Community of Practice. Professor Taylor is the Deputy Chair of the Australia-Japan Foundation (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Professor Melissa Crouch, Faculty of Law and Justice, University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Melissa Crouch is a Professor and Associate Dean Research and leads the Southeast Asia Law & Policy Forum at the UNSW Faculty of Law and Justice. Professor Crouch is the Vice-President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA), the peak interdisciplinary academic body for Asian studies in Australia. Her socio-legal research on Southeast Asia has been published in journals including Law & Society Review, International Journal of Constitutional Law, and Oxford Journal of Legal Studies.  She is the author of two books, The Constitution of Myanmar (2019) and Law and Religion in Indonesia (2014), and the editor of several volumes.

Professor Tim Lindsey AO FAHA FAIIA, Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, University of Melbourne

Tim Lindsey AO FAIIA FAHA is Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, and Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society at the University of Melbourne Law School. A specialist in a wide range of aspects of Indonesian law, he has won national and university teaching awards. An ARC Federation Fellow from 2006 to 2011, he was a long-serving Chair of DFAT’s Australia Indonesia Institute until 2016. Professor Lindsey has more than 100 publications to his name, with a focus on Indonesian law. He is a founder and an executive editor of The Australian Journal of Asian Law.

Organised by

Background

Contributing to Veronica Taylor’s 1997 edited volume Asian Laws Through Australian Eyes (Sydney, LBC Information Services), Malcolm Smith presented Australians as largely ignorant of Asian legal systems, or as tending to view them as inferior. A quarter of a century later, is Australia any closer to understanding the complexity, diversity and (often rapidly) evolving nature of Asian legal systems?  Have Australian comparative lawyers moved on from the Orientalist debates of the 1990s? are the broad questions this workshop aims to explore.

Assertions that Australia’s future prosperity is tied to the region sit uncomfortably alongside claims that ‘Asian’ legal systems lack the reliability and impartiality necessary for full participation in a globalised world1. Underlying assumptions that economic prosperity would bring growing acceptance of rule of law fundamentals, including a free press and independent judiciary, have also been unsettled2. China’s ability to participate in and benefit from global trade has not, it seems, been impeded by its lack of an independent judiciary or a free press. Nor has China’s economic success resulted in growing acceptance of rule of law institutions.

While China is the current preoccupation of Australian lawmakers, debates on rule of law versus the socialist legality of ‘rule by law’ are alive and vigorous throughout the region3. Australia’s own ostensible commitment to the rule of law is articulated in a 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper; and forms a key feature of bilateral foreign aid programs. Despite the rhetoric, however, actual development assistance for legal and judicial development in the Asia Pacific reached a high around 2010-12; and has since fallen back.

Only 11 of Australia’s 40 domestic universities offer Asian Studies courses in 2021. The picture for Asian language education in schools is even worse, with a declining proportion of students at all levels studying one of the four key Asian languages. As far as the study of Asian law is concerned, by 2020 there were only 34 ‘permanent’ academics based in Australian law schools with a primary focus on Asian law, most of whom remain concentrated at just five of the 44 law schools in Australia4.

Despite valiant efforts by leading Asian and comparative law scholars in Australia (including those involved in establishing the Australian Journal of Asian Law), the methodological project in Asian regulatory studies remains under-developed. Australian scholarly exchange with Asia has been further challenged by COVID-19, and by political developments in Asian nations. Regional research-related travel and scholarly exchanges have been abandoned or stalled, while budgetary demands throughout an economically stricken region have relegated comparative legal knowledge and understanding to the bottom of funding priority lists. This Conference will explore future directions, and lessons from the past, for Asian regulatory engagement in this uncertain environment.

1. Carol Johnson, Pal Ahluwalia & Greg McCarthy (2010) Australia's Ambivalent Re-imagining of Asia, Australian Journal of Political Science, 45:1, 59-74, DOI: 10.1080/10361140903517718.
2. See eg. Stuart Harris, Research Paper 7 2001-2002; Globalisation in the Asia-Pacific Context. 19 February 2002. https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp0102/02RP07#willthe.
3. John Gillespie, ‘Bureaucratic Control of Business Regulation in Vietnam, in Veronica Taylor, Asian Laws Through Australian Eyes, 1997, LBC Sydney pp. 391-398.

4. Melissa Crouch (2020) Asian law in Australian universities: Research centres as critical institutional commitments, Asian Currents.  Retrieved at https://asaa.asn.au/asian-law-in-australian-universities-research-centres-as-critical-institutional-commitments/.

Event Details

Date:
17 November 2021 at 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Venue:
Online and Sky Room, Level 14, 30 Collins St, Melbourne
Categories:
Business Law and Taxation; Global Business; Governance and Regulation Research Network

Description

Government support for the study of Asian languages, history, cultures and legal systems in our schools and universities has declined or stagnated. Australia’s commitment to engagement with regional neighbours, including support for regional law and justice initiatives, remains under question.

In addition, pandemic-related travel and other restrictions have made methodological projects in Asian regulatory studies even more challenging for Australian legal scholars.

This workshop explores and showcases theoretical and methodological directions towards a purpose-driven future for comparative legal studies in 21st century Australasia.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Veronica L.Taylor, School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), College of Asia & the Pacific, ANU.

Veronica Taylor is a Professor of Law and Regulation at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University. Veronica has served as Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Director of the ANU Japan Institute, and as an ANU Public Policy Fellow. Her work focuses on regulatory justice, rule of law and institutional reform, and corporate governance issues in Asia. She is a founding editor of the Australian Journal of Asian Law, and currently co-convenes Australia’s Law and Justice Development Community of Practice. Professor Taylor is the Deputy Chair of the Australia-Japan Foundation (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Professor Melissa Crouch, Faculty of Law and Justice, University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Melissa Crouch is a Professor and Associate Dean Research and leads the Southeast Asia Law & Policy Forum at the UNSW Faculty of Law and Justice. Professor Crouch is the Vice-President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA), the peak interdisciplinary academic body for Asian studies in Australia. Her socio-legal research on Southeast Asia has been published in journals including Law & Society Review, International Journal of Constitutional Law, and Oxford Journal of Legal Studies.  She is the author of two books, The Constitution of Myanmar (2019) and Law and Religion in Indonesia (2014), and the editor of several volumes.

Professor Tim Lindsey AO FAHA FAIIA, Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, University of Melbourne

Tim Lindsey AO FAIIA FAHA is Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, and Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society at the University of Melbourne Law School. A specialist in a wide range of aspects of Indonesian law, he has won national and university teaching awards. An ARC Federation Fellow from 2006 to 2011, he was a long-serving Chair of DFAT’s Australia Indonesia Institute until 2016. Professor Lindsey has more than 100 publications to his name, with a focus on Indonesian law. He is a founder and an executive editor of The Australian Journal of Asian Law.

Organised by

Background

Contributing to Veronica Taylor’s 1997 edited volume Asian Laws Through Australian Eyes (Sydney, LBC Information Services), Malcolm Smith presented Australians as largely ignorant of Asian legal systems, or as tending to view them as inferior. A quarter of a century later, is Australia any closer to understanding the complexity, diversity and (often rapidly) evolving nature of Asian legal systems?  Have Australian comparative lawyers moved on from the Orientalist debates of the 1990s? are the broad questions this workshop aims to explore.

Assertions that Australia’s future prosperity is tied to the region sit uncomfortably alongside claims that ‘Asian’ legal systems lack the reliability and impartiality necessary for full participation in a globalised world1. Underlying assumptions that economic prosperity would bring growing acceptance of rule of law fundamentals, including a free press and independent judiciary, have also been unsettled2. China’s ability to participate in and benefit from global trade has not, it seems, been impeded by its lack of an independent judiciary or a free press. Nor has China’s economic success resulted in growing acceptance of rule of law institutions.

While China is the current preoccupation of Australian lawmakers, debates on rule of law versus the socialist legality of ‘rule by law’ are alive and vigorous throughout the region3. Australia’s own ostensible commitment to the rule of law is articulated in a 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper; and forms a key feature of bilateral foreign aid programs. Despite the rhetoric, however, actual development assistance for legal and judicial development in the Asia Pacific reached a high around 2010-12; and has since fallen back.

Only 11 of Australia’s 40 domestic universities offer Asian Studies courses in 2021. The picture for Asian language education in schools is even worse, with a declining proportion of students at all levels studying one of the four key Asian languages. As far as the study of Asian law is concerned, by 2020 there were only 34 ‘permanent’ academics based in Australian law schools with a primary focus on Asian law, most of whom remain concentrated at just five of the 44 law schools in Australia4.

Despite valiant efforts by leading Asian and comparative law scholars in Australia (including those involved in establishing the Australian Journal of Asian Law), the methodological project in Asian regulatory studies remains under-developed. Australian scholarly exchange with Asia has been further challenged by COVID-19, and by political developments in Asian nations. Regional research-related travel and scholarly exchanges have been abandoned or stalled, while budgetary demands throughout an economically stricken region have relegated comparative legal knowledge and understanding to the bottom of funding priority lists. This Conference will explore future directions, and lessons from the past, for Asian regulatory engagement in this uncertain environment.

1. Carol Johnson, Pal Ahluwalia & Greg McCarthy (2010) Australia's Ambivalent Re-imagining of Asia, Australian Journal of Political Science, 45:1, 59-74, DOI: 10.1080/10361140903517718.
2. See eg. Stuart Harris, Research Paper 7 2001-2002; Globalisation in the Asia-Pacific Context. 19 February 2002. https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp0102/02RP07#willthe.
3. John Gillespie, ‘Bureaucratic Control of Business Regulation in Vietnam, in Veronica Taylor, Asian Laws Through Australian Eyes, 1997, LBC Sydney pp. 391-398.

4. Melissa Crouch (2020) Asian law in Australian universities: Research centres as critical institutional commitments, Asian Currents.  Retrieved at https://asaa.asn.au/asian-law-in-australian-universities-research-centres-as-critical-institutional-commitments/.