Topic: Rights and risk: a risk theory analysis of judicial review of the indefinite immigration detention of refugees with adverse security assessments

Presenter: Ms Kellie Robson - PhD Candidate, TC Beirne School of Law

Ms Robson's thesis applies Ulrich Beck's risk theory to indefinite immigration detention in Australia because of adverse national security assessments. Beck's theory is of a world risk society where science's 'partial demystification' has increased the estimability of malign effects of human actions, yielding social organisation around attempts to foresee and control future hazards. The administrators responsible for defining and managing risk accrue power through probability calculations of risk trumping rationality. 

Beck proposes a separation of powers ensuring control functions for the judiciary, along with parliament and government, on issues involving human safety. He prescribes a values based approach for the institutions of law and politics to address challenges of the age of universal human rights, risk, and responsibility.

The thesis explores whether Australia could improve decision-making involving national security risk by incorporating accountability mechanisms compatible with its international human rights obligations. In a climate of uncertainty and politicised fear, the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation is the agency responsible for assessing national security risks. Kellie argues the collective emphasis to protect national security in world risk society justifies intensive judicial scrutiny of any individual's ongoing detention. 

All welcome, please register by emailing Beth Williams.

Contact: Beth Williams, ph: (334) 69350, email:

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