The use of foreign judges on courts of constitutional jurisdiction in Pacific island states

Event details

SSGM Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 09 May 2019


Lecture Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Building (130),Garran Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Anna Dziedzic


Department of Pacific Affairs

The global norm is that, by law or by practice, judges will be citizens of the state they serve. Yet, in Pacific island states foreign judges regularly sit on the highest domestic courts and determine constitutional matters.

In this seminar, Anna Dziedzic presents her PhD research, in which she undertook the first in-depth study exploration of the use of foreign judges in the Pacific region and its effects on Pacific judiciaries. The seminar will outline the findings of an empirical study of the numbers of foreign judges serving in the Pacific, their nationality and professional background, the processes by which they are recruited, and the terms and conditions of their service. This study reveals a transnational movement of judges from common law jurisdictions to Pacific states, and a form of judicial service that is affected by the legal frameworks and practices of the Pacific states that use foreign judges and the policies of the external states and organisations that provide foreign judges.

The seminar will also consider the implications of the use of foreign judges for the ways in which courts approach constitutional adjudication; judicial independence; and the representative qualities of judges and judiciaries. This analysis of the practice of foreign judging and its implications provides the basis to assess the rationales for the use of foreign judges, to identify challenges that the practices poses to the legitimacy of Pacific judiciaries, and to propose good practice initiatives that might inform the laws and policies that regulate the use of foreign judges.

About the speaker

Anna Dziedzic recently completed her PhD at Melbourne Law School. She researches in the field of comparative constitutional studies, with a particular interest in the constitutional systems of Pacific island states. Her doctoral thesis examined the use of foreign judges on courts of constitutional jurisdiction in Pacific island states. She has published academic research on constitution making in the Pacific; Australian Indigenous constitutions; federalism, parliamentary systems of government, and judiciaries.

Anna is a co-convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network at Melbourne Law School and has undertaken consultancies on constitution making, gender analysis of constitutions, and legal policy issues for range of international and Pacific NGOs.

Anna holds an MA in Human Rights from University College London and first class honours degrees in Arts and Law from the Australian National University. Prior to joining Melbourne Law School, she worked at the Australian Law Reform Commission, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as an Associate to a Justice of the Federal Court and a volunteer legal analyst at the Samoa Law Reform Commission.

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