Melbourne Law School - Theses

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    Empowering customary land rights: can Indonesia rise to the challenge?
    Rennie, Sarah ( 2021)
    The struggle within Indonesia to resurrect strong customary tenure takes place within a highly contested legal landscape. Land administration is bifurcated, complex, uncertain and often contradictory. This paper analyses attempts to recognise and empower customary land rights in Indonesia's 2018 Draft Bill on Customary Legal Communities. It employs comparative analysis with another jurisdiction that has long grappled with the inherent compromises involved in enacting and empowering customary tenure: the Northern Territory of Australia. In doing so, it seeks to identify shared challenges as well as to highlight alternative responses to these challenges.
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    Constitutionalism as Postwar International Law
    Saunders, Anna Joy ( 2020)
    This thesis inquires into the significance of the histories of constitution-making in Germany and Japan for international practices of constitution-making after conflict, and for the discipline of international law. It argues that, in offering constitutionalism as a solution to the problems of civil war and conflict in the decolonised world, contemporary scholarship on international law and constitution-making draws on a tradition that was developed during the post-World War II era in relation to the occupations of Germany and Japan. That tradition represents a rejection of material accounts of the causes of war and imperial aggression, and more radical visions of economic redistribution and political self-determination. In invoking these histories, international legal scholars reproduce an understanding of constitutional forms as an object of legal analysis and of technical reproduction, distinct from broader economic and political choices about the government of a society and about the international legal order in which that society exists. By exploring this tradition, this thesis seeks to denaturalise internationally-directed constitutional transformation, paired with economic liberalisation, as a technique for managing the postwar state. The Introduction sets out the paradox of the internationalisation of constitution-making, on the one hand, and the idea of constitutions as a lawful means of governing a public, on the other. It gives an account of the method of inquiring into the way the discipline of international law has sought to invoke the histories of constitution-making in Germany and Japan to resolve this paradox, which I term ‘discipline as method’. Chapter 1 describes the field of international law and constitution-making, and sets out the significance of the histories of constitution-making in Germany and Japan for the discipline of international law. Chapter 2 explores the emergence of a tradition of constitutional thought in international law in the postwar period, articulated in opposition to economic and material accounts of empire, by reference to the work of three lawyers: Quincy Wright, Ernst Fraenkel and Carl Friedrich. Chapter 3 describes the conduct of the Allied occupations of Germany and Japan, reading Allied practices and debates, and the making of constitutions, through competing ideas of the requirements of peace in the aftermath of imperial aggression. The thesis concludes by reflecting on what knowledge of this tradition offers for the discipline of international law.
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    Discretionary trusts and family property disputes
    Riethmuller, Grant Theo ( 2016)
    Whether property held on a discretionary trust is property of a spouse affects the rights of spouses when obtaining orders for property division under the Family Law Act. It is argued that the court can exercise its supervisory power to direct execution of a discretionary trust, to ensure that a discretionary beneficiary or object is not unconscionably held out of an appropriate share of the assets held on trust. As a result it is argued that the rights of the discretionary beneficiary or object are capable of categorisation as equitable property interests for the property settlement provisions in the Family Law Act.
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    A conceptual history of recognition in international law
    Clark, Martin ( 2015)
    This thesis presents a conceptual history of recognition. It examines the development of ideas about the nature and meaning of recognition in the writings of British jurists from 1800–1950. After introducing recognition as a recurring metaphysical and ontological problem of international law and ordering, and explaining the focus on British juristic writings (Introduction), this thesis outlines a methodology for writing the history of concepts in international law (Chapter Two). While recent work in international legal history demonstrates a new attentiveness to the problems of historiography, efforts to grapple with these problems have rarely involved direct engagement with historical theory. In urging just such an engagement, this thesis adapts the themes, insights, and methods of conceptual history to the examination of concepts in international law. Conceptual history investigates the development of ‘basic concepts’: essentially contested ideas that are indispensable for political and thought and action throughout a period of time, within a national-linguistic society. This thesis adapts this methodology to guide a focus on juristic texts and their contexts. This forms the thesis’s first contribution to the field, specifically methodological debates in international legal history. It shows that historical theory is of real use in understanding and improving our attempts to grapple with the historiographical problems of international law. The thesis’s second contribution takes the form of a conceptual history of recognition (Chapter 3). In examining how recognition became a foundational idea in international law, as reflected in one important national tradition of juristic thought, this history shows how recognition was used to establish hierarchies of political communities and control entry into international society. Nowhere is this plainer than in the writings of British jurists in the context of the rise and fall of the British Empire. This development proceeded in four strands. In the first strand (1800–1880), generalised accounts of the criteria of recognition that are fixated almost solely on intra-European diplomatic disagreements gradually emerge. During the second strand (1871–85) recognition begins to incorporate ideas of Christianity, civilisation and progress to exclude non-European political communities from entry into the international community. The third strand (1885–1914) furthers this progress-orientation into the period of late colonialism and the ‘scramble for Africa’, shifting the focus of recognition to the technicalities of government and territorial control and, eventually, to a state-centric account that normalises civilisational inferiority into ‘difference’. With the fourth and final strand emerges (1915–50), recognition becomes a basic concept in international law, reflected in intense debates over its meaning and its use to advance or undermine a range of political projects within the League of Nations, including the universalisation of international law, changing modes of imperialism, and the constraint of state action through law. The thesis concludes with brief reflections on why British thinking turns away from recognition in the 1950s. With the collapse of the British Empire, the establishment of the United Nations, recognition is no longer a useful frame for exclusion and marginalisation, as the decolonising world turns to a new international law and self-determination.
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    Representation and reasoning in law: legal theory in the artificial intelligence and law movement
    Hunter, Daniel Ashley Douglas ( 1996)
    Over the past few decades there has emerged a group of researchers who , have used computerised techniques to investigate the nature of legal reasoning. These researchers have formed what is called the 'artificial intelligence and law movement.' Members of the movement have built computer systems which automate legal reasoning, and in so doing have assumed that certain models of legal reasoning are correct. This dissertation argues that in many instances the models relied on by artificial intelligence research are no longer commonly accepted as valid by legal theoreticians. It further argues that until the artificial intelligence and law movement begins to recognise alternative legal theoretical models of reasoning, it is - unlikely to produce accurate, reliable and useful automated legal reasoning systems. The dissertation examines the four main reasoning paradigms in the artificial intelligence and law movement: deductive reasoning, analogical reasoning, inductive reasoning and sub-symbolic (neural network) reasoning. In each of these reasoning paradigms it shows that there is an extensive legal theoretical literature which is largely ignored by artificial intelligence research. It reviews the different models presented by legal theorists in each of these paradigms, in, order to show the limitations of artificial intelligence assumptions about the paradigm. The dissertation reviews a representative sample of artificial intelligence and law implementations in each of the reasoning paradigms, and assesses the type of legal theory implicitly adopted in each It argues that, generally, the models of legal reasoning adopted in each paradigm by artificial intelligence research has been formalistic, static, and mechanical. As a consequence, the implementations have been computationally tractable, but unconvincing in legal theoretical terms. The dissertation shows how alternative legal theoretical models of reasoning may be incorporated into existing artificial intelligence approaches. The dissertation concludes with an indication of how in future artificial intelligence and law research might provide useful models of legal reasoning, and how it might inform legal theory.
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    Unadjudicated claims to equitable interests under a constructive trust: their assessment as property under the pension assets test
    O'Connor, Pamela Anne ( 1995-07)
    The Social Security Act 1991 incorporates the general legal meaning of property in its definition of an asset, for the purpose of the pension means test. This creates the opportunity for pension applicants to argue that assessable assets held by them should be reduced by the amount of any equitable proprietry rights held by others in the assets. The Federal Court has held in Kintominas v Secretary, DSS and in Kidner v Secretary, DSS that equitable proprietry claims under remedial doctrines, such as under the constructive trust doctrine discussed in Baumgartner v Baumgartner are to be regarded as property even though there has been no judicial declaration of their existence, no dispute between the legal owner and the person claiming an equitabe interest, an no unconscionable abuse of title rights by the legal owner. This thesis argues that the Federal Court’s approach is not the preferable one, for three main reasons. The first relates to the changing nature of the constructive trust to a necessary element. The second is that, at a time when the constructive trust in Australia is in transition from the traditional institutional conception to a remedial paradigm along North American lines, the beneficial interest should no longer be viewed as existing independently of a judicial decree. The third argument is that, even if an equitable interest under a remedial constructive trust is accepted as existing independently of a curial declaration, it cannot be valued for the purposes of the assets test.
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    Probability and paternity: the utility of probability theory in the legal determination of facts in issue with particular reference to the resolution of paternity disputes
    Park, M. M. ( 1986-05)
    In this thesis it is proposed to examine the forensic application of probability to judicial or curial decision making, both in general and with particular reference to the determination of parentage such as is required in a paternity suit.
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    Sex work as work : labour regulation in the legal sex industry in Victoria
    Murray, Kristen ( 2001-02)
    Prostitution occupies a significant place in academic research. It has been analysed from a range of disciplines including sociology and anthropology, women’s studies, criminology and law, and medicine and health services. Much of the recent scholarship in Australia concerning prostitution has focussed on the relationship between sex work and sexually transmissable diseases, and on the decriminalisation of prostitution. Despite the considerable number of studies into prostitution, there has been only limited consideration in Australia of prostitution as a form of waged labour. Some feminist theorists, writing from an historical perspective, have examined the concepts of sex and work and the way in which these are reproduced within the practice of prostitution.
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    Insolvent trading under the corporations law: the amending insolvent trading legislation introduced by the Corporate Law Reform Act 1992 addresses the major inadequacies of its predecessor, but also leaves a number of issues unresolved
    Coburn, Niall F. ( 1996)
    The Corporate Law Reform Act (1992) (Cwth) (the Act) received Royal Assent on 24 December 1992. The provisions of the Act became operative in two stages: Parts 2, 3, 6 and 7 commenced on 1 February 1993 and Parts 4 and 5 commenced on 23 June 1993. The Act introduced a new insolvent trading regime into the Corporations Law replacing s 592 and related provisions. The new regime introduced significant changes to the Corporations Law (Law). Some of the main features are; imposing on directors a duty to prevent the company from engaging in insolvent trading, implementation of new statutory defences, introduction of provisions that relate to holding companies, decriminalisation of the insolvent trading provision and civil penalty orders for contravention of 588G in the absence of dishonest intent, new criminal proceedings for contravening 588G in circumstances of dishonesty, liquidators standing to take proceedings and power given to the court to make compensation orders for liquidators and creditors. (from introduction)
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    Time and the dimensions of substantiality: analysis of temporal market definition issues and the substantial lessening of competition standard
    Leuner, Tom ( 2007)
    There is a lack of guidance on the underlying requirements of the substantial lessening of competition legal standard. This paper seeks to develop the analytical basis for such guidance. It works from the premise that such guidance would lead to more consistent decision-making and provide a clear framework for many aspects of market definition and competition analysis. The timeframe for assessing substitution possibilities is one area that is particularly vague. It is argued that existing approaches to timeframes are flawed, as they fail to focus on the fundamental requirements of the substantial lessening of competition standard. The paper advocates a new approach derived from an analysis of the duration requirement of substantiality - the requirement that competition effects have a certain duration. The paper then analyses factors other than duration that may also affect the analysis of substantiality. It is argued that there are only three dimensions of substantiality in the substantial lessening of competition standard: duration, size of the effect and probability. Other possible dimensions, such as the size of the industry, appear to be irrelevant. Finally, the paper examines how the thresholds for the three dimensions interact and vary, arguing that there must be some capacity for trade-off between the thresholds.