The Future Practice of Law
Edited by William van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock
Chapter 11: The internationalisation of legal education: An opportunity for human rights?
The following chapter explores some of the implications of the internationalisation of the law on legal education, and on the implementation of human rights law in Australia. First, however, some comments about Australia’s sixth Chief Justice, Owen Dixon, whose contribution to Australian law has been described by Lord Denning as the bringing of the ‘golden Age of the High Court’. I suspect the Chief Justice would not have approved of such language as ‘internationalisation’ or ‘globalisation’ of the law and would have found the concept mysterious, even empty. True it is that Justice Dixon rarely referred to public international law as such. It tells us something of the quality of his legal scholarship that his comment about the relationship between international law and English law in Chow Hung Ching v The King in 1949 is oft cited and well known to law students. While rejecting the notion that international law is automatically incorporated into domestic law, he considered that international law is, nonetheless, ‘one of the sources, of English Law’. This is an idea echoed by Justice Brennan in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) 43 years later in 1992, where he observed that, ‘international law is a legitimate and important influence on the development of the common law, especially when international law declares the existence of universal human rights’.
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