Professor Spencer Zifcak

Allan Myers Chair of Law/Professor of Law

Spencer Zifcak is Professor of Law at Australian Catholic University. He obtained his Ph.D from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His principal areas of research and teaching are in public international law, comparative constitutional law, international human rights law and international organisation. His two most recent books, Globalization and the Rule of Law and United Nations Reform have been published by Routledge (UK).

Professor Zifcak has been Visiting Fellow at the UNESCO Centre for Human Rights Education at Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia Visiting Fellow at Wofson College, University of Oxford Visiting Scholar in the Centre for Global Justice and Human Rights, New York University and Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Law, Trinity College, Dublin. In 2010 he was appointed to the internationally, competitively awarded position of Benjamin Meaker Visiting Research Professor, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bristol (UK).

Professor Zifcak has combined his academic work with active, professional contributions to international and national human rights law and politics. He was for ten years a Vice-President of the International Commission of Jurists (Australian Section). In that capacity he conducted human rights missions on behalf of the international organisation among other places in the Philippines, Slovakia, Indonesia, Aceh and East Timor. In 2003, he was awarded the Paul Baker Memorial Prize for Human Rights by the Law Institute of Victoria for this work.

Professor Zifcak has worked as a legal consultant with the United Nations in East Timor advising the UN the development of a process of constitutional consultation and later advising the new nation's Constituent Assembly on the drafting of its new constitution. Subsequently, he was commissioned by the Asia Foundation to work with the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, advising it on legal matters and later evaluating its operation.

Professor Zifcak has been actively involved in consultancy work concerning the introduction of national human rights legislation. In 2000, he worked with the Constitution Unit at University College, London, in examining the implementation of the UK Human Rights Act. In 2005, he drafted a Model Human Rights Act for Australia which formed one key building block for the establishment of the National Human Rights Consultation conducted in Australia in 2009. In 2008, he worked with colleagues at the University of Bristol in the UK on the development and drafting of human rights legislation in Northern Ireland.

His three most recent books are Globalisation and The Rule of Law (Routledge 2005), United Nations Reform (Routledge 2009) and Rethinking International Law and Justice (with Charles Sampford, Routledge 2015).

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