Brennan and Nygh Essay Prizes

Every year, the Australian Branch invites submissions for the Brennan Prize in Public International Law and the Nygh Prize in Private International Law.

These two prizes are named respectively in honour of Sir Gerard Brennan, former Chief Justice of Australia and Patron of the Branch, and the late Dr Peter Nygh, a leading Australian scholar of private international law. They are awarded to the authors of essays in the field Public International Law and Private International Law (Conflict of Laws) respectively, which demonstrate outstanding scholarship and make a distinct contribution to an understanding of the subject. The prize is open to any Australian citizen, or person normally resident in Australia or studying in Australia. The competition is intended to recognize and encourage achievement by a student, or younger scholar or practitioner of law. Essays submitted for consideration for the Prize should be between 4,000 and 7,000 words in length, and written in the year the prize is offered. They may have been submitted previously for course credit in an academic institution.

Nygh Internship

The International Law Association (Australian Branch) and Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) invite applications for the Peter Nygh Hague Conference Internship. This prize enables a postgraduate student or graduate of an Australian law school to undertake an internship with The Hague Conference on Private International Law (The Hague Conference) in The Hague, Netherlands by providing funds for the cost of travel and a contribution towards living expenses.

With over 80 members (including the European Union) representing all major regions and legal systems, The Hague Conference is a global intergovernmental organisation. It aims for the ‘progressive unification’ of the various State private international law rules. The work of The Hague Conference involves finding internationally agreed approaches to jurisdiction of courts, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of judgments. This is achieved through the development and servicing of multilateral legal conventions which respond to global needs in the areas of international commercial law and banking, international civil procedure, international protection of children, international family and family property relations, international legal co-operation and litigation as well as international judicial and administrative co-operation.

Activities of The Hague Conference are coordinated by a multinational Secretariat – the Permanent Bureau – located in The Hague. The successful intern will work for 5 to 6 months under the direction of the Secretariat assisting with research, translation and preparation of meetings in accordance with the needs of the lawyers of the Permanent Bureau.

More information about the internship, including on how to apply, is available here.

The Hon. Dr. Peter Nygh AM

The Peter Nygh Hague Conference Internship was established in memory of the late Hon Dr Peter Nygh AM, a leading international lawyer and former judge of the Family Court of Australia. Dr Nygh began his 25 year association with The Hague Conference as a member of Australia’s first delegation in 1975. During this time, Dr Nygh helped to draft the Convention on the Celebration and Recognition of the Validity of Marriages as well as the Convention on the Law Applicable to Matrimonial Property Regimes, work which contributed to his appointment to the Family Court of Australia.

After his retirement from the bench, Dr Nygh returned to The Hague Conference, and between 1994 and his death in 2002 he contributed in many ways, including serving as a co-rapporteur on The Hague ‘judgments project’ from 1996 and representing Australia in the negotiations that led to the 1996 Child Protection Convention. In his later years, Dr Nygh spent extended periods in The Hague without remuneration or payment of his expenses, yet his work did not go unrecognised. He was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Australian Government as well as the Order of Australia, partly in recognition of his outstanding and longstanding contribution to private international law, and in particular his representation of Australia at The Hague Conference.

While serving as President of the ILA (Australian Branch), Dr Nygh worked to promote co-operation between the Branch and the AIIA. These two organisations show their deep appreciation for his work by jointly presenting and promoting the Internship. The AIIA is an independent, non-profit, apolitical national organisation committed to the promotion of informed discussion among members of the Australian public on international issues and their impact on Australia. It provides a forum for discussion by hosting a range of Australian and international expert speakers from the political arena, government, academia, business and the media, as well as publishing the Australian Journal of International Affairs and the Australia in World Affairs book series.