Law Essay Competition 2007


The winning essay was written by Martin Clark, which was subsequently published:

Martin Clark, ‘Building the Dignified Authority of Legislation: Towards the Office of Dignified Legislator, Process and Representation’ (2015) 40 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 136.

Second place: Stephen Polesel, for “An Interrogation of Frederick Schauer’s Theory of “Decision According to Rule” in Mabo v Queensland (No 2).”

Third place: a tie between:

  • Samuel Ellemor, for “An Unjust Law is Not a Law”
  • Jack Lonnborn, for “Fish, Dworkin and the Metaphysics of Interpretation”


[The competition was not held in 2013 due to lack of funding]



In 2012, the competition was judged by Justice Bell and Chief Justice Keane. The results were:

  • 1st Place – TESS VICKERY for an essay entitled “Where the Wild Things Are (Or Should Be): The Case for Awarding Non-Human Animals Direct Moral Status under John Rawls’ Contractarian Theory of Justice”.
  • 2nd Place – JORDAN SOSNOWSKI for an essay entitled “Gorillas in our Midst: Expanding the Human Rights’ Rhetoric”. This essay was also subsequently published in Pandora’s Box in 2013, the annual publication of the Justice and the Law Society (available here).



The 2009 Essay Writing Competition attracted high-quality jurisprudential papers from every state of Australia making shortlisting and judging a competitive process. Entries were open to undergraduates from around Australia, whether studying law, philosophy or international relations, to submit unpublished essays between 2000 and 8000 words long. The 2009 winners are as follows:

  • First Place: NICOLAS ELIAS (Juris Doctor, University of Melbourne), whose essay entitled “Law’s claim to Ethical Responsibility: The Law and Morality of Torture” was awarded $300.
  • Second Place: THOMAS GRAHAM (Final Year Undergraduate, University of Melbourne) with “Securities Related Litigation in the People’s Republic of China” winning $150.
  • Third Place: LIZ KOFOED’S (Juris Doctor, University of Melbourne) essay “The Relationship between Technical and Aspirational Aspects of Law Pertaining to the Figure of the Refugee” won $50.

We sincerely appreciate our Judges, the Hon. Justice PA Keane (Queensland Court of Appeal), Professor Wilfrid Press (University of Adelaide) and Professor Woljiech Sadurski (University of Sydney), who generously gave their time to consider the shortlisted essays; without their distinguished opinions, this competition would not have been possible. Thank you to all of the contestants who put aside their time to get another essay together alongside their assignments! And, we extend our gratitude to the University of Queensland who donated the $500 prize money.



The ALPSA 2008 Legal Philosophy Moot was held on Sunday 28 September 2008. The moot was based on the problem of the Speluncean Explorers written by Lon Fuller, and required teams to consider philosophical and jurisprudential issues. The moot is somewhat unusual in that it does not emphasise extensive research and reliance on authority, but instead requires teams to engage in sophisticated legal and philosophical analysis. Judges from UQ, QUT and Griffith put teams to the test, raising issues that ranged from questions of criminal procedure to the nature of the social contract.

Teams competed in three rounds of competition, and a team of UQ mooters comprising Chris Curtis, Michelle Delport and Edmund Robinson ultimately won the Grand Final, which was judged by the rather intimidating panel of Professor Suri Ratnapala, Dr Jonathan Crowe, and Acting Judge Brian Devereaux SC, former Public Defender for Legal Aid Queensland. 

Runners-up in the Final were Louise Young and Luke Gamble of QUT, with Louise winning the Best Speaker Prize for both the General Rounds and the Grand Final.

Thanks to all the teams that participated, as well as the following judges of the general rounds: Associate Professor William MacNeil (Griffith University), Dr Nick James (UQ), Mark Thomas (QUT), Professor Jim Allan (UQ), Dr Francesca Bartlett (UQ) and Ryan Goss.



The standard of competition in the 2007 ALPSA National Essay Competition was very high, with entries up four-fold from 2006. In light of this, we released an extended results list, and we have awarded three Highly Commended certificates in addition to the three prize places.

The judges of the competition were: Justice Keane of the Queensland Court of Appeal; Professor Peter Cane of the Australian National University Law Faculty; and Dr Marguerite La Caze, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Queensland.

  • First Place: Graeme Karstaedt, University of Western Australia
  • Second Place: Nora Gotzmann, University of Queensland
  • Third Place: Ben Bertoldi, University of Queensland

Highly Commended:

  • Raphael de Vietri, University of Western Australia
  • Jessica Panegyres, University of Western Australia
  • Penelope Scott, University of New England



  • First Place ($1500): Frances Simmons (University of Technology Sydney) “Protecting Women’s Agency: Trafficking in Women for Sexual Exploitation and the Challenges for Feminist Jurisprudence”
  • Second Place ($750): Luke Heilbuth (University of Sydney) “Ought the Law to Ban Pornography?”
  • Third Place ($250): Gabrielle Appleby (University of Queensland) “A Postcard from Papua: a 30 Year Check Up on PNG Democracy”
  • Highly commended: Katie Eagles (Melbourne) “The Reason Australian Law Will Never Allow a Heterosexual Advance Defence”

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