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The Internationalisation of Law

The Internationalisation of Law

Legislating, Decision-Making, Practice and Education

Edited by Mary Hiscock and William van Caenegem

This insightful book explores the acute challenges presented by the ‘internationalisation’ of law, a trend that has been accelerated by the growing requirement for academics and practitioners to work and research across countries and regions with differing legal traditions.

The Internationalisation of Law: Introductory and Personal Thoughts for the Symposium

Mary Hiscock


Mary Hiscock* My thesis is that internationalisation of law, at least in this country, is not a novel phenomenon. What is to me uncertain, and calling for debate, is how it will develop in the twenty-first century. In March 1957, on my first day as a law student at the University of Melbourne Law School, Professor Zelman Cowen, Professor of Public Law and Dean, welcomed me to the legal profession. We students were conscious of the limitations of the law. We were well aware of the evil that had been done in World War II by a nation renowned for its legal sophistication and its observant attitude to law. We also lived in the shadow of nuclear war, where naked power seemed to rule the world without regard for law. But, together with the traditional warning about the mortality rates of law students, the Dean told us that we had now entered an honourable and a learned profession and that we were part of a community of legal scholars which had no territorial limits. We knew that, in a practical and limited sense, what he was saying was not true, for we were then destined to be Victorian lawyers, with a right to practise in the High Court, our then penultimate court of appeal. But over the next four years, we learned from those who were international scholars, either in origin or reputation or both. The ideas and principles and values that made up the law that we studied included...

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