Melbourne Law School - Theses

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    Corporate peacebuilding and the law: regulating the private sector for conflict transformation
    Kolieb, Jonathan Asher ( 2017)
    Corporations have social responsibilities and legal obligations in conflict zones. Moreover, many large transnational corporations (TNCs) have the capabilities and capacities to positively contribute to the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts around the globe. However, the potential of “corporate peacebuilding” has yet to be fully realised in theory or in practice. This thesis argues that unlocking this potential requires legal and regulatory innovation. It examines the relationship between peace, corporations and the law, and suggests that the private sector has a largely untapped peacebuilding potential in large part, due to weak governance at the global and national levels. Focusing on the governance of Australian-based TNCs, the thesis argues to realise this potential requires legal and regulatory innovation. Building upon the theory of responsive regulation, a novel regulatory framework is developed for this purpose, embodied in the regulatory diamond heuristic. It encompasses three key components: minimum standards, compliance regulation and aspirational regulation. The thesis then applies this framework to the problem at hand, and in particular explores the law’s roles in each of the constituent elements of a regulatory diamond framework that may help realise the promise of corporate peacebuilding. The thesis argues that international criminal law norms of behaviour are the most legitimate source of minimum legal standards for TNC conduct in conflict-affected areas. It is argued that these norms are applicable to corporations as borne out by the jurisprudence of the Nuremberg-era and later international trials. It is crucial that effective pathways exist to legally enforce such standards. Despite a dearth of viable international enforcement options, it is argued that there exist several promising, but underexploited, domestic avenues for legal accountability when TNCs breach those standards. Finally, despite traditional conceptions of the law’s role being focused on norm-setting and norm-enforcement, it is suggested that well-designed laws may also facilitate and encourage TNCs to go above and beyond mere compliance with minimum standards, to become partners, alongside governments and civil society, in peacebuilding efforts around the globe.
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    Food security as social provisioning: insights from the international approach and the Indonesian
    Dirou, Peter Thomas ( 2013)
    The thesis argues that the international community’s struggle to effectively deal with and take responsibility for food crises is rooted in both the structure of international law and the economic thinking that was wired into the early UN organisations. It presents a heterodox conception of economics — institutionalism — as an alternative way of thinking about problems of food and hunger. Building on the institutionalist emphasis on social provisioning, the thesis locates the legal dimension of institutionalist thought within a public law framework that emphasises authority and duty. This approach links economics and jurisprudence and conceptualises economic policy as a duty to provide.