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School of Law


May 15, 2016

Felicity Gerry QC and student Narelle Sherwill deliver their paper at the 2nd Law Scholars Writing Colloquium at the Universitas Indonesia

Felicity Gerry QC and student Narelle Sherwill delivered their paper on human trafficking, drug trafficking and the death penalty at the 2nd Law Scholars Writing Colloquium at the Universitas Indonesia on the 3rd of May 2016.

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May 15, 2016

Felicity Gerry QC and student Narelle Sherwill deliver their paper at Universitas Indonesia 

Felicity Gerry QC and student Narelle Sherwill FG at UIdelivered their paper on human trafficking, drug trafficking and the death penalty at the 2nd Law Scholars Writing Colloquium at the Universitas Indonesia on the 3rd of May 2016. The paper was chosen as the Editor's Choice for publication in the Indonesian Law Review and the response from Professor Hero was that the conclusion was agreed and more needs to be done to protect human trafficking victims in criminal justice systems. Felicity was also able to discuss future research collaborations with Dean Topo and spent some time discussing the issues raised by Mary Jane Veloso's case with Minister Mohamad Hery Saripudin.

March 8, 2016

Inaugural Transnational Law Research Workshop and Student Showcase

The School of Law at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia will hold its first Transnational Law Research Workshop and Student Showcase on Wednesday 16th March 2016.

Date: 16 March 2016

Time: 8:00am -6:00pm

Location:  Mal Nairn Auditorium, Casuarina Campus, School of Law at Charles Darwin University and via web link

The School of Law at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia will hold its first Transnational Law Research Workshop and Student Showcase on Wednesday 16th March 2016. 

This event brings together academics, students and professionals from our region and from around the world, to share their research and learning in the field of transnational law. It is part of a programme of events to showcase legal research throughout 2016, from our unique position as a remote and transnational institution at the gateway to Asia.

Topics include ASEAN development, Investment strategies, transnational crime, legal education and technology, human trafficking, human security, land rights, human rights and environmental protection.

With a view to furthering transnational understanding and cooperation, we look forward to welcoming you to the School of Law in Darwin on 16 March 2016.

 Please make your booking

February 25, 2016

New unit melds law, politics and philosophy 

A new course unit at Charles Darwin University will encourage Professor Brian Moony and Senior Lecturer Felicity Gerrystudents to respond to some of the biggest questions of our time. 

Lecturers in law, politics and philosophy have collaborated to create the “Law, Justice and the State” unit, which will be offered for the first time this semester.

The lecturers involved include Head of the School of Creative Arts and Humanities Professor Brian Mooney, Professor of political science Wayne Cristaudo, and senior lecturer in law Felicity Gerry QC.

Ms Gerry said the unit aimed to develop students’ research skills and would require them to respond to modern political and philosophical issues in a legal context.

She said topics could include revolution, terrorism, feminism, culture, history, and civilisation and modern conflict.

“The connective tissue between politics and law is philosophy, which is why we have collaborated on the creation and delivery of this unit,” Ms Gerry said.

The unit  will cover justice and rationality, natural law theory, legal positivism, jurisprudence and the rule of law in varying contexts, and democracy and social justice.

December 16, 2015

Call for papers: Inaugural transnational law showcase and research workshop

We are pleased to announce that the School of Law, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia will hold its inaugural Transnational Law Research Workshop and Student Showcase on Wednesday 16th March 2016. We look forward to welcoming you, and value your contribution to the ongoing success of this event.

This event brings together academics, students and professionals from our region and globally, to exchange knowledge related to the theme of transnational law. It is part of a programme of events to showcase legal research throughout 2016 from our unique position as a remote and transnational institution, with guest keynote speakers.

Globalization increasingly requires discussion in the context of the emerging and modern theories and practice in transnational law including questions about the nature of law and society, issues of law and state and sources of law and legal authority.

We invite papers on transnational theory and practice brought on by globalization, particularly in the Asia / ASEAN region. We particularly welcome papers on jurisdiction, extradition, transnational organised crime and cross cultural legal harmonisation in the context of actual or potential effects or transboundary moral impacts.

This will be the first time that the School of Law at Charles Darwin University has held such a research event in the top end of Australia at the gateway to Asia. We hope to see papers and discussions on promoting cooperation between Commonwealth and Asian countries. We highly encourage academics and professionals from Asia / ASEAN to participate.

We look forward to welcoming you to the School of Law in Darwin in March 2016 as we move towards transnational cooperation and to highlight the work of our own students and staff.

Please submit your abstracts to by the 20th February 2016.

Selection will be made by the end of February. Registration is free. Attendance and catering are not subsidised. Some consideration can be given to a limited number of online presentations via our live link facilities but attendance in person is encouraged.

Selected papers will have the opportunity to be published in the International Journal 'Issues in Legal Scholarship' with thanks to the Editor-in-Chief Dr Charanjit Singh and De Grutyer. Papers from the proceedings that are considered for publication must follow normal submission guidelines (see: ).

Future events will include themes of indigenous justice, health and law and politics and law to be notified in the New Year.


T.  08 8946 6108


September 8, 2015

School of Law hosts Visiting Professor Antoine J. Bullier (France)

Professor Antoine Bullier is a professor of law at Pantheon-Sorbonne University or Paris 1. Previously he has taught and researched in law faculties in South Africa, Reunion Island, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Japan and the Unites States.  He is the holder of three doctorates: one in political science, one in law and one in literature.

Professor Bullier recently visited CDU School of Law, where he gave a number of lectures and presentations including  “Reflections on the PhD degree: from France and the Antipodes”, "Charlie Hebdo: terrorism, law and Islam in France”  as well as guest lectures to law students. Professor Bullier is an interesting speaker and received a great feedback from the audience to his thought-provoking material, presented in a humorous and engaging manner. 

August 28, 2015

School of Law at CDU hosts a live online guest lecture from the University of Indonesia on the law on human trafficking

On Thursday the 20th of August, Academic Nathalina Naibaho from the Criminal Law Division of the Faculty of Law, Universitas Indonesia, West Java delivered an interactive guest lecture via the online collaborate system in unit LWA215 Advanced Criminal Law. The unit is coordinated by Felicity Gerry QC in the School of Law at CDU and contains modules on human trafficking, extradition, cybercrime and international justice. Felicity and Nathalina have worked together on an Amicus Curiae brief in the case of Mary Jane Veloso, on a forthcoming academic paper and have other projects planned.

August 1, 2015

Patterns of sexual behaviour: the law of evidence: back to the future in Australia and England

Felicity Gerry QC, Catarina Sjölin and Professor Gregor Urbas publish a new 4 stage test for admissibility of evidence of patterns of sexual behaviour in England and Australia. The paper was published in the 2015 edition of International Commentary on Evidence and presented at the International Conference on Evidence and Forensic Science in Adelaide this week.

As long ago as 1832 when the Makins were tried in New South Wales, the courts recognised that evidence of tendency or propensity could be more probative than prejudicial. That bodies of other children were found was relevant to rebut coincidence. Clearly issues of tendency and coincidence overlapped and the task for the court was to manage the issues. Much is the same today but unfortunately courts on both sides of the world are still getting it wrong. The recent Victorian Court of Appeal ruling Velkoski v The Queen [2014] VSCA 121 (18 June 2014) is one recent example. The Court of Appeal justices ruled only cases that are "remarkably" similar would go before the same jury, making it harder for allegations from multiple complainants to be heard together.  It has sparked concerns that a clamp down on the way child abuse cases are handled could thwart convictions. There are concerns that this will reduce the number of convictions for sexual offences, especially for those against children.

This paper explores the approach in England and Wales, and Australia to evidence of a pattern of behaviour, focussing on when it is adduced in cases involving sexual abuse. We first consider the shared common law history of the two jurisdictions before exploring how common law and legislative changes have led to surprisingly different positions in the two countries.  We conclude that the Veloski decision is contrary to legal principle and common sense
Rather than focussing on the level of similarity, courts should focus on the use to which the evidence is being put. We suggest a simpler and more rational approach which has started to emerge and could be adopted in both countries, and indeed should be considered in any jurisdiction under the following headings:

Common sense

  • Fear of propensity evidence shown in Velkoski has and will lead to a renewed search for the silver bullet (similarity) which in our view is a wholly retrograde and unnecessarily confusing step.
  • Focusing on the weight / probability and reliability is required to ensure relevant evidence is before the court and prejudicial evidence is excluded to maintain the presumption of innocence.
  • In this context tendency / propensity is always an issue whether rebutting coincidence or demonstrating a pattern of behaviour

Our 4-stage test

  • Does the evidence (whatever ‘category’ it is put into) make it more likely that D committed the offence with which s/he is charged (i.e. is the evidence relevant)?
  • Is any kind of propensity reasoning really being relied upon by the parties, whatever ‘category’ is relied upon?
  • If the evidence is admitted is there any risk of the jury employing unwarranted propensity reasoning, or placing too much weight upon it, or being otherwise distracted from their ultimate task of deciding the case on the evidence?
  • Does the probative value identified in the first question outweigh any prejudice identified in the third question, bearing in mind the need for jury direction if propensity is relied upon or prejudice is possible?
  • All other points, about collusion, contamination, similarity, age and number of previous convictions are subsumed within these FOUR questions.


Evidence of tendency, propensity and / or coincidence is logically admissible only when the court focusses on the facts in issue and balances the interests of each party fairly. Frankly nothing less than that should do on either side of the world.

August 4, 2015

New Colombo Plan 2015 - University of Udayana Bali

Nine CDU law students completed two week study course on Balinese Customary Law at Udayana University in Bali  as part of the Commonwealth New Colombo Programme 2015. In addition to attending seminars and lectures, students also had the opportunity to participate in an international seminar hosted by Udayana University on the subject of recognition and protection of local communities' rights and traditional knowledge. The students also visited a number of cultural sights, including the High Counsil of Customary Law Villages, the famous subak irrigation fields and experienced Indonesian culture and hospitality first hand. View gallery

August 4, 2015

Global policy needs to reach G20 goal

A global policy and uniform laws on sexual violence are needed to help reach the G20 goal of increasing the number of women in employment, according to a new paper which examines the links between sexual violence towards women and economic growth. Authored by Charles Darwin University law academic Felicity Gerry QC and by Nottingham Law School senior lecturer and barrister Catarina Sjölin, the paper sets out the case for empowering women by tackling sexual exploitation through legal uniformity, extra territoriality and corporate responsibility. Details

July 31, 2015

CDU student Caitlin Marshall reflects on her internship experience at HIRC

CDU student Caitlin Marshall has just completed a summer internship at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program in Boston, USA. Caitlin has shared her inspiring experience on the HIRC blog, where she talks about the variety of tasks she undertook, the clients she met and the inspirational team she worked with for four weeks.

July 28, 2015

Expressions of Interest for the NCP programme in University of Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta

The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is an initiative by the Australian Government which provides funding opportunities and supports to Australian undergraduates to undertake short-term study in the Indo-Pacific region. We are now calling for expressions of interest from internal and external law students for the short-term study programme at University of Gadjah Mada, in Yogyakarta.

About the programme
The programme will be held in University of Gadjah Mada, in Yogyakarta from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The topic of the course will be International Business Law. The successful candidate is required to enrol in the exchange unit and upon successful completion of the programme, 10 credit points will be credited towards the law degree course.
The two week program will include daily seminars combined with field trips to relevant organisations such as courts and government agencies. Students will also visit important cultural sites such as the world famous Borobodur Temple.

As this is a Commonwealth initiative successful applicants will receive generous scholarship grants. The scholarship will cover most if not all expenses. This may include tuition fees in Indonesia, return flights, accommodation expenses, insurance, visa and some food expenses while attending the programme.

Students must be Australian citizens and enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws Degree or Bachelor of Laws with Honours Degree. Students of combined law degrees are also eligible for participation. Associate Degree in Legal Studies students are not eligible for the NCP programme.

  • Be enrolled at CDU throughout the duration of the NCP programme
  • If you will be eligible for graduation within 6 months of the programme you may not be able to participate. If you have completed all of your law specialist electives or generalelectives you will be ineligible to participate in this programme.
  • 90 per cent of students must be aged 18 to 28 inclusive at the commencement of programme; 10 per cent of students can be over 28.
  • It is a pre-condition that students must have a current Australian passport at the time of applying that is valid until at least July 2016.
  • Students must be available for the entire period of the programme.

Selection criteria
Selection will be based on a combination of academic achievement, progress in the law degree and a statement written by the applicant.

Submission of applications
Please provide the following details:

  •     Full name, student number, date of birth
  •     Confirmation that you are currently enrolled in Bachelor of Laws Degree or Bachelor of Laws with Honours Degree
  •     The total number of units you have completed in the law degree (law units and non-law units)
  •     Confirmation that you have a current Australian passport and the validity is until at least July 2016.
  •     Confirmation that you are not enrolling in your last unit in a law degree
  •     A written statement to demonstrate your interest in the NCP programme (maximum of 500 words)

Limited places available and please submit your expressions of interest to  by Friday, 14th  August 2015.  We look forward to receiving your applications.

July 20, 2015

Latest issue of the School of Law Newsletter is available

The latest issue of the School of Law Newsletter is available now (PDF 1.08 MB)

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