The rule of law is a key concept which underpins Australia’s Constitution and its legal system. Upholding this fundamental ideal is the shared responsibility of judges, lawyers, academic scholars, public authorities and civic minded citizens – a task which requires eternal vigilance, sound scholarship and the continued scrutiny of legal and political developments.

The Rule of Law Institute of Australia and the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law at The University of Queensland’s T C Beirne School of Law are proud to present the Conference on Rule of Law: Contemporary Issues with the support of the Queensland Bar Association.

Featuring a distinguished panel of senior judges, members of Parliament and academics, the event promises lively debate on important issues arising in two areas of contemporary legal development.

Professor Suri Ratnapala of the TC Beirne School of Law and Professor Doug Fisher of Queensland University of Technology will explore the growing body of law and conflict on land management during the conference’s first session, chaired by The Hon. Catherine E Holmes of Queensland’s Court of Appeal.
Session two is dedicated to recent developments in legal ethics, with presentations by keynote speakers Professor Reid Mortensen of the University of Southern Queensland, and The Hon. Justice James S Douglas of the Supreme Court of Queensland. 

The Conference will conclude with a lunch in the Queen's Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel Brisbane, and will feature a keynote address from distinguished guest speaker The Hon. David Jackson AM QC. Mr Jackson is a noted barrister and former Justice of the Federal Court of Australia.

This is an event that will be of interest to lawyers, academics, public officials and members of the public who are interested in the all-important topic of the rule of law. Members of the legal profession may also claim CPD points for attending on a full-day or lunch-only basis.

Information correct as at date of event, April 2012.

The Conference on The Rule of Law: Contemporary Issues deals with questions of central importance for the rule of law arising from legal developments in the areas of land management law and professional ethics. As indicated in the conference program, these issues will be addressed by leading judges and academic commentators with time also for audience participation.

The Rule of Law Institute of Australia is an independent not-for-profit body formed to uphold the rule of law in Australia by promoting discussion on the importance of the principles which underpin the rule of law. The Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law is a research centre of the TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland, dedicated to the advancement of legal scholarship in Australia and the Asia-Pacific Region.

We are proud to collaborate in bringing this conference to the legal profession, the academic community and the general public with the support of the Queensland Bar Association.

We extend a warm welcome to all our speakers and guests.

Richard Gilbert
Chief Executive Officer
Rule of Law Institute Australia

Professor Jennifer Corrin
Executive Director
The Centre for Public, International and
Comparative Law, The University of Queensland

Professor James Allan

TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland

James Allan holds the oldest named chair at the University of Queensland, School of Law. Before arriving in Australia in February of 2005 he spent 11 years teaching law in New Zealand at the University of Otago and before that lectured law in Hong Kong. Allan is a native born Canadian who practiced law in a large Toronto law firm and at the Bar in London before shifting to teaching law. He has had sabbaticals at the Cornell Law School and at the Dalhousie Law School in Canada, the latter as the Bertha Wilson Visiting Professor in Human Rights.

Professor Allan has published widely in the areas of legal philosophy and constitutional law, including in all the top English language legal philosophy journals in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, much the same being true of constitutional law journals as well. Allan's latest book, a monograph for the Ashgate Applied Legal Philosophy series published in June 2011, is entitled The Vantage of Law. James Allan also has a sideline interest in bills of rights; he is opposed to them. Indeed he is delighted to have moved to a country without a national bill of rights. He has been actively involved in the efforts trying to stop one from being enacted here in Australia. He also writes widely for newspapers and weeklies, including The AustralianThe Spectator Australia and Quadrant. And since arriving here in Australia he has given or participated in more than 65 lectures, debates and talks.


Senator the Hon George Brandis SC

Shadow Attorney-General

Senator George Brandis graduated from the University of Queensland with double first class honours in Arts and Law. After winning a scholarship to undertake postgraduate legal studies at Oxford, he received a Bachelor of Civil Law and won the Sir Rupert Cross prize. He worked at Minter Ellison before going to the Bar in 1985, where he established a busy commercial practice, specialising in the Trade Practices Act. He appeared in several leading cases at the High Court, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Queensland.

He was selected to fill a casual senate vacancy in May 2000. Re-elected to the Senate in 2004, Senator Brandis was the leader of the 2010 Queensland Liberal National Senate Team.

In his early years in the Senate, he attracted attention for his work in Senate Committees, most notably the Senate Select Committee on A Certain Maritime Incident. He was Chair of the Senate Economics Committee for five years. 

In 2006, Senator Brandis was appointed as a silk. The following year he was promoted to the Ministry, as Minister for the Arts and Sport. Following the change of Government in 2007, Senator Brandis was appointed Shadow Attorney-General.

Senator Brandis was elected Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate in May 2010.  The Arts portfolio was also added to Senator Brandis’ portfolio responsibilities later that year.


Professor Gerard Carney

Dean of Law, TC Beirne School of Law
The University of Queensland

Gerard Carney became the Dean of the TC Beirne Law School in January 2012. He also holds the Sir Gerard Brennan Chair in Law. Previously, Gerard was a Professor of Law at Bond University where he taught and researched in the areas of constitutional law and administrative law, served as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law (2008-2011) and was Chair of the Academic Senate of the University (2009-2011).

Gerard has a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours and the inaugural Law Medal from QIT in 1980, a Master of Laws from the University of London in 1986, and a PhD from Bond University in 2001, and was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland and of the High Court of Australia.

In 1988, he was seconded to the Legal Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. In 1995-1996, he was the Executive Associate to the then Chief Justice of Australia, Sir Gerard Brennan.

Gerard has published principally in the field of Australian constitutional law. His two major ground-breaking books are: Members of Parliament: law and ethics (published by Prospect/Butterworths LexisNexis in 2000); and The Constitutional Systems of the Australian States and Territories (published by Cambridge University Press in 2006).

As a constitutional law expert particularly in the area of parliamentary privilege, he has been a consultant to Commonwealth and State parliamentary committees and other bodies including Transparency International (Berlin). He has been a visiting professor at Duke Law School (USA), the University of Stockholm, the University of Ghent, and the University of Western Australia.


The Hon Justice James Douglas

Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland

James Sholto Douglas was born on 9 February 1950 at Brisbane to James Archibald and Marjorie Mary Douglas.  He was educated at Villanova College, Coorparoo (1967), and The University of Queensland, graduating as a Bachelor of Arts (1971) and a Bachelor of Laws (1973).  He was the recipient of the Comparative Law Prize.  Douglas also attended The University of Cambridge, graduating as a Bachelor of Laws (1976) and being awarded the Diploma in Legal Studies (1979).  He married Margaret Anne Kennedy on 22 December 1980.  They have a son, Francis, and a daughter, Hannah.

Douglas served as Associate to Justice James Archibald Douglas of the Supreme Court of Queensland (1972), who was his father, and Sir Harry Gibbs, when his Honour was a Justice of the High Court of Australia (1973-1974).  He was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland on 20 December 1973, and commenced private practice at the bar in 1977.

Douglas has served as a member of the Committee of the Bar Association of Queensland (1978-1981, 1994-2001), Editor of the Queensland Reports (1986-1991), Chairperson of the Advisory Board of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (1989-1996), Chairperson of the Queensland Theatre Company (1990-1996), a member of the Legal Committee of the Companies and Securities Advisory Committee (1992-1994), Vice-President and later President of the Bar Association of Queensland (1999-2001), a member of the American Law Institute (from 2001), a Grade 1 Arbitrator with the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators of Australia (2001-2003) and as a part-time member of the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal (2003).

Douglas was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland on 27 November 2003.  He is still in office.  Since his appointment, Douglas has served as President of Alliance Française de Brisbane Inc (2005-2010), a member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (from 2006) and of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (from 2011).


Professor Douglas Fisher 

Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology

Educated in Edinburgh in Scotland. Professor Doug Fisher holds a MA LLB and PhD from the University of Edinburg and has been admitted as a solicitor in Scotland and Queensland, Australia. He has held academic appointments at Universities in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia and has been a Professor of Law since 1982. 

Professor Fisher has specialised in the area of natural resources law and environmental law both professionally and academically since 1975.  He has written six major books and a number of shorter contributions in this area of the Law. Professor Fisher is currently a Professor of Law at the Queensland University of Technology.


The Hon Justice Catherine Holmes

Justice of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Queensland

Justice Catherine Holmes holds the degrees of B.Econ (ANU), B.A. (Hons), LLB, LLM (Advanced) (UQ). She was admitted as a solicitor in 1982 and as a barrister in 1984, taking silk in 1999.

While in practice, Justice Holmes was at various times a part time member of the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, Deputy President of the Queensland Community Corrections Board and, during 1998 and 1999, Counsel assisting the Forde Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse.

Her Honour was appointed to the Supreme Court of Queensland in March 2000. She was the judge overseeing the Court’s criminal list for some years, and was the judge constituting the Mental Health Court from February 2005 until May 2006, when she was appointed to the Court of Appeal. From 16 January 2011 until 16 March 2012, Justice Holmes was the Commissioner of the Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland Floods 2010-2011.


Professor Reid Mortensen

School of Law, The University of Southern Queensland

Reid Mortensen is Professor of Law at the University of Southern Queensland.  He was formerly College of Law Reader in Legal Ethics at the University of Queensland, and was Deputy Director of the Centre of Public, International and Comparative Law there.  Professor Mortensen's research and publication is in the fields of lawyers' ethics and international and comparative law. In lawyers' ethics, his work centres on philosophies of virtue, and his writings have addressed their relationship with moral and legal theories of care, religious perspectives on legal practice, lawyers' character, the reform of the legal profession in Queensland and the management of client money.  Professor Mortensen's work in international and comparative law concentrates on private international law.  He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the journals Legal Ethics and the Journal of Private International Law.  Professor Mortensen is also on the executive of the International Association of Legal Ethics, and is a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Ethics Committee.


Mr Graham Perrett MP

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs

Graham was educated in country Queensland and received a Diploma of Teaching in 1985 from the Brisbane College of Advanced Education. He taught for three years with Education Queensland on the Darling Downs and in north Queensland at Babinda, and for eight years in Catholic schools in Brisbane. He's still passionate about education and ensuring especially that all children have access to quality education.

Graham was awarded a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 1993 by the University of Queensland with his thesis on "The Autobiography of Malcolm X". After studying law part-time Graham received his Bachelor of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology and was also admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1999.

He then worked as an organiser with the Queensland Independent Education Union and received his Certificate in Organising. He later became a Senior Policy Advisor with the Queensland Government working for the Honourable Stephen Robertson (Mines/Native Title/Health) and the Honourable Geoff Wilson (Mines). He also spent time as an advisor to the Queensland Resources Council.
In 2004, Graham first contested the Federal seat of Moreton for the Australian Labor Party. He contested the seat again in 2007 and was successfully elected to the House of Representatives.

Graham is the Chair of the House of Representatives Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee and a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Committee, Joint Select Committee on Cyber Safety and Joint Select Committee on the Christmas Island Tragedy. He is also a convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Amnesty International group and Parliamentary Friends of the Red Cross group. Graham is also a member for the Griffith Asia Institute Advisory Council.


Professor Suri Ratnapala

TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland

Suri Ratnapala is Professor of Public Law at The University of Queensland. He holds the degrees of LLB (Colombo); LLM (Macquarie) and PhD (Qld), and teaches constitutional law and jurisprudence, fields in which he has published widely. The Professor has received fellowships from the Institute of Humane Studies, George Mason University, Virginia; the Social Philosophy and Policy Centre of the Bowling Green State University, Ohio; the Centre for Independent Studies and the International Centre for Economic Research, Turin, Italy. In 2000, he received a John Templeton Foundation Award for his course 'Advanced Constitutional Law and Theory' and was awarded a Centenary of Australian Federation Medal for his contribution to Australian society through research in law and economics in 2003. 

Prior to entering academia Suri worked as Senior State Counsel in Sri Lanka and has consulted for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and AusAid in institutional capacity building projects in Asia.

The hotels on this list are located within easy walking distance of the conference venue. The list is not exhaustive. Appearance on this list does not imply recommendation.

The Marriott Hotel – 5 star
515 Queen Street, Brisbane (Ask for Government Rates, The University of Queensland, $233 per night subject to room availablity) – Phone 61 7 3303 8000 -

The Stamford Plaza – 5 star
Corner of Margaret & Edward Streets, Brisbane (Ask for The University of Queensland Corporate Rate, $230 per night, subject to room availability) – Phone 61 7 3221 1999 -

Sofitel – 5 - star
249 Turbot Street (adjacent to Brisbane Central Station) – Phone 61 7 3835 3535 – Rooms from $325 per night,

Clarion Collection Rendezvous Hotel – 4.5 star
255 Ann Street (opposite Brisbane Central Station) – Phone 61 7 3001 9888 – Rooms from $188 per night,

Quality Hotel The Inchcolm – 4 star
73 Wickham Terrace (near Turbot Street) – Phone 61 7 3226 8888 – Rooms from $149 per night,

Astor Metropole Hotel and Apartments – 4 star
193 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill (near Upper Edward Street) – Phone 61 7 3144 4000 – Rooms from $149 per night,

Novotel Brisbane – 4.5 star
200 Creek Street (near Turbot Street/Wickham Terrace) – Phone 61 7 3309 3309 – Rooms from $259 per night,

Oaks Aurora Tower (Apartments) – 4.5 star
420 Queen Street, Brisbane – Phone 61 7 3838 9800 – Rooms from $154 per night

Mantra on Queen Hotel and Apartments – 4 star
570 Queen Street, Brisbane – Phone 61 7 3234 8888 – Rooms from $175 per night,

Medina Executive Hotel and Apartments – 4 star
15 Ivory Lane, Brisbane (On top of Hill next to Story Bridge) – Phone 61 7 3218 5800 – Rooms from $142 per night,

Hotel George Williams (YMCA) – 3.5 Star
317-325 George Street, Brisbane Rooms from $105 per night Phone: 61 7 3308 0700 Web:

Snooze Inn – 3 Star
383 St Pauls Terrace, Fortitude Valley, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane Rooms from $109 per night Phone: 61 7 3620 4800 Web:

Metro Hotel Tower Mill – 3 Star
239 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill, Brisbane Rooms from $130 per night Phone: 61 7 3832 1421 Web:

Explorers Inn – 3 Star
63 Turbot St, cnr George St, Brisbane Rooms from $100 per night Phone: 61 7 3211 3488 Web:

If you would prefer to stay closer to the University of Queensland some options are:

The Jephson Hotel at Toowong – 4 star
63 Jephson Street, Cnr Sherwood Road, Toowong, 10mins bus ride to the city, plenty of transport available - Phone 61 7 3736 4400 – Rooms from $209 per night,

Chasely Apartments – 3.5 star
435 Coronation Drive, (Cnr of Chasely Street) Auchenflower, 10mins bus ride to the city, with plenty of transport available - Phone 61 7 3371 4000 – Rooms from $155 per night,