Beyond COVID-19: Where to next for tribunals?

The coronavirus pandemic has required all organisations to reassess how they operate. Tribunals are no exception, introducing a range of procedural and other changes in a short space of time to continue to deliver services. This session offers an opportunity to look beyond the immediate effects of the pandemic. Three tribunal leaders – Judge Gerard Phillips, Deputy President Malcolm Schyvens and Registrar Sian Leathem – will discuss what COVID-19 may mean for tribunals in the longer term.

Presenter biographies:

Judge Gerard Phillips

Judge Gerard Phillips was appointed President of the Workers Compensation Commission of NSW and a judge of the NSW District Court in January 2019. On 26 August 2020, he was appointed as inaugural President of the Personal Injury Commission of NSW which will be established on 1 March 2021. Prior to these appointments, Judge Phillips enjoyed over 30 years’ of legal experience as a solicitor. He was a partner at the global private law firm K&L Gates and was a board member between 2011 and 2017. He practiced extensively in every state in Australia and the United Kingdom across a range of criminal, civil, personal injury, industrial relations and employment matters. Judge Phillips is Vice Convenor of the NSW Chapter of the Council of Australasian Tribunals.

Malcolm Schyvens

Malcolm Schyvens was appointed a Deputy President of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Division Head for the Guardianship Division on 1 January 2014. He was appointed Deputy President of the NSW Guardianship Tribunal in October 2008 and was subsequently appointed President of that Tribunal in September 2011. Malcolm is a past president of the Law Society of Tasmania, having been in private practice in Hobart for 11 years. He was also a part-time member of the Tasmanian Guardianship and Administration Board and the Forensic Tribunal. Malcolm holds degrees in law and commerce. He is currently the Chair of the Australian Guardianship and Administration Council and National Secretary of the Council of Australasian Tribunals.

Sian Leathem

Sian Leathem was appointed Registrar and Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal in April 2015. She has over 15 years’ experience in tribunal management. She led the project team responsible for merging 22 tribunals into the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and performed the role of Principal Registrar of that amalgamated tribunal. Prior to that, Sian was the Registrar of the Workers Compensation Commission of NSW for 5 years. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Master of Arts (Merit) and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the Australian and New Zealand School of Government.

Privileges: When they arise and how to handle them

From legal professional privilege to public interest immunity and the privilege against self-incrimination, privilege issues arise from time to time in tribunal proceedings. This session will provide a refresher on the key common law and statutory privileges tribunal members, registrars and practitioners need to be aware of. It will also offer practical tips on how to handle them – whether raised by counsel, a self-represented party or by the tribunal itself – using examples from practice.

Presenter biography:

Joanna Davidson was admitted to practice in 2004 and called to the Bar in 2012. From 2012 to 2014 she served as Counsel Assisting the NSW Solicitor General and Crown Advocate. She has advised and appeared in a range of public and commercial law matters in the High Court, Federal Court and NSW superior courts as well as tribunals and inquiries. Joanna previously worked in the Administrative Law Group at the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office and spent several years in commercial litigation practice. She has taught Administrative Law part time at the University of NSW law school since 2009. She is a Centre Fellow of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law. Joanna has a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School.

Reality testing: Helping people move forward

Reality testing is a core technique used in ADR processes that is equally applicable in many hearings. This fast-moving and interactive session will look at how people make decisions, what influences decision making and why reality sometimes means different things to different people. Dispute resolution specialist Nina Harding will provide thoughts and tools on helping people to narrow issues in dispute, see a different perspective, make a decision or accept an outcome and move forward.

Presenter biography:

Nina Harding has over 25 years’ experience in resolving business and public interest disputes. A law graduate with a Master of Laws, she is a nationally accredited mediator. She is a member of numerous mediation panels, including with the Workers Compensation Commission of NSW, and is the Australian Film Code Conciliator. Nina is a recognised expert in the area of dispute resolution and has taught thousands of people how to negotiate more effectively and resolve conflict. She has lectured at universities in Australia and overseas. She is currently a Visiting Senior Lecturer at The University of Hong Kong.

Key Issues in Arctic Security

Maj Gen Randy ‘Church’ Kee

This paper explores the increased demands of urgent and emergency responses on US Coast Guard and other maritime operator missions including search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response in the context of significant environmental changes and increased human activity in the Arctic region. Throughout this paper, Kee approaches security from a safety, law enforcement and defence perspective in order to characterise the major factors affecting the Arctic security landscape. Beginning with an overview of the issues facing the region, Kee lays out the complex array of features and factors that are greatly contributing to safety and security challenges in the Arctic. Kee contends that Arctic states are constrained by less than ideal security capabilities, and thus Arctic national borders and economic boundaries are being readily exploited and violated. Within this context, and with an increasingly dynamic physical environment, a desire to preserve the cultural heritage of the region, and a demand to understand economic pressures kept front of mind, Kee provides an extensive discussion on potential mechanisms for securing, protecting and defending the region to reduce the chance of conflict. Throughout this comprehensive chapter, Kee delivers a detailed analysis of the many relevant security issues, possible concerns for the future, and offers measured approaches for dealing with them that are both immediate and anticipatory in nature. As Kee maintains, ‘increasing the capabilities of cooperation and collaboration mechanisms, and creating new mechanisms to address current gaps and seams, could prove pivotal to fostering improved outcomes for the Arctic in the coming years’.


Regional Border Security Management in the Territorial North

Professor Heather Nicol

This paper explores the layered relationship between security practice in the Canada-US Arctic borderlands and Northern communities’ well-being. Evolving management practices that stem from southern border policy have defined a security relationship between Alaska, Yukon and the regions’ pan-Arctic indigenous peoples that present unique challenges. For example, what is the relationship between security and mobility and indigenous rights broadly defined under this policy regime? What does this this security relationship offer ongoing non-conventional security challenges in the region? This paper considers the larger implications and potential for better regional border management policies.



The case for an alternative border management paradigm in the North American Arctic

Professor Christian Leuprecht

The literature, policy, and practice in managing borders and their integrity in North America is dominated by paradigms from the continent’s more southern borders – since that is where most people live and most good cross the border. Yet, these paradigms are either not applicable or ill-suited to managing land borders in North America’s Arctic: the type and amount of traffic in people and goods differs in both proportion and absolute numbers, the nature of security threats is quite different, and the way security and threats are conceptualized by local communities is quite different. In sum, assets in Northern North America are scarce and exponentially more expensive to deploy. Instead of the indiscriminate transfer and application of border management norms and practices from elsewhere to the North, this paper works towards developing a border management paradigm that is sensitive to the endogenous and exogenous constraints of managing borders in the North American Arctic.



Influencing Russia’s support for Southern Ocean MPAs

Ms Elena Zharkova1

1Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, Washington DC, USA

Russia has not been in favour of the establishment of large scale Marine  Protected Areas in CCAMLR, particularly where the fishing potential is not well researched.  There is no legal mechanism for gazetting Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for biodiversity or conservation purposes in Russia and consequently, the country is not familiar with this practice.  ASOC Russia has been working with other Russian eNGOs to promote the value of high seas MPAs to Russian authorities and the necessity for appropriate legislation.  This paper explores progress made thus far with particular reference to the CCAMLR context.


Elena Zharkova has a strong background in conservation. Previously, she was communications officer for IFAW Russia, where she worked on successful campaigns to ban the Russian winter bear hunt, the hunting of harp seal pups along the Russian coast, protection of Russian tigers and conservation of western gray whales. As part of her work for ASOC, she promotes the importance of the Antarctic environment in Russia, through events, public speaking, and outreach to government officials.

Campaigning for CCAMLR MPAs in China

Jiliang Chen1

1The Greenovation Hub, Beijing, China

Antarctic policy is seen as a marginal issue in  China’s government.  The ASOC campaign to promote Southern Ocean MPAs has generated increased public interest on Antarctic issues and has begun to shape the narratives on Antarctica in China.   This paper explores the role of eNGOs in generating that change.


Jiliang has expertise on the governance of the living resources in the Antarctic and high seas. Prior to the GHUB, he worked for the Institute for Environment and Development and Heinrich Böll Stiftung. He had observed the UN Climate process from 2007 to 2011. Since 2012, he has been engaging in the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Antarctic Treaty Consultative meetings, and publishing papers and commentaries in various journal and newsletters. Jiliang holds a bachelor’s degree on Environmental Science from the East China Normal University and a master’s degree on Environmental Management from the Technical University of Freiberg, Germany.

Developing a strong International Code for Ships operating in Polar Regions

Ms Claire Christian1

1Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, Washington DC, USA

While shipping in polar regions  continues to grow, additional traffic is putting these sensitive areas at risk for negative

ASOC coordination and leadership of eNGOs interested in this issue has played a critical role in ensuring that the Polar Code includes important environmental protection aspects and negotiations result in a meaningful instrument that will protect the polar regions.


Claire Christian has worked for ASOC since 2009 and has developed substantial expertise on a full range of issues relevant to the Antarctic environment. Her aim is to educate and inspire people around the world to protect the Antarctic continent and its surrounding ocean, which are some of the world’s last great wilderness areas. In her work with ASOC, she coordinates policy and strategy related to many of the issues that impact the Antarctic environment, including tourism, fisheries, marine protected areas, and climate change. As part of this work, she has developed relationships with Antarctic stakeholders, including government officials, scientists, and industry. She leads ASOC’s delegations to Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCMs) and meetings of the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). To share ASOC’s messages with as many audiences as possible, she has authored blogs, opinion pieces, and academic articles, and has been interviewed by a wide variety of international publications and media outlets. Claire has a special fondness for Antarctica’s fascinating but little-known invertebrate species and aspires to make them as famous and beloved as penguins. She received an M.A. in International Affairs at American University, School of International Service in May 2008.

Progressing Antarctic krill management

Ms Nicole Bransome1

1The Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington DC, USA

The combined impacts of a changing climate and concentrated coastal fishing are having negative impacts on krill predators and Southern Ocean ecosystems, but the Commission for CAMLR   has the mandate and opportunity to lead the world in developoing precautionary ecosystem-based management for the Antarctic krill fishery. ENGOs are supporting primary research and technical workshops in 2018 and 2019 to inform the development of ecosystem-based krill fishery management frameworks, Outcomes of the krill workshops will be considered by the CCAMLR scientific community prior to the revision of the conservation measure governing the Antarctic krill fishery scheduled for 2021.


Nicole Bransome’s work at The Pew Charitable Trusts focuses on the interface of science, policy and communications to achieve protection of the Southern Ocean. Nicole specifically focuses on securing marine reserves in the Southern Ocean and implementing an ecosystem-based fisheries management plan for the Antarctic krill fishery through the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctica Marine Living Resources. Nicole has a master’s degree in marine environmental sciences and was previously a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow at the Department of the Interior, where she provided policy advice on federal interagency ocean policy initiatives including the Ecosystem-Based Management priority of the National Ocean Policy and the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force.


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