Do you want a chance to win $1,000 and be published in ALSA's Academic Journal? Enter into the National Essay Competition (NEC) for you chance to win!

The NEC is open to all Australian law students. Students are encouraged to submit an academic paper between 3,000 and 12,000 words on any legal issue.

The winner will receive a prize of $1,000. The top four papers will also receive national exposure in the 2017 Australian Law Students’ Association Academic Journal which is distributed to all Australian law student societies. 

Submission dates for the 2017 NEC:

Open: 9am AEST, Monday 17th April

Close: 5pm AEST, Wednesday 17th May

Submissions should be emailed to in accordance with the Submission Requirements attached below.

If you are interesting in submitting an essay, please find attached below the relevant documents for the competition.


Kathryn J Brown (1st Place)

While the customary law of espionage is codified under the law of armed conflict, international law is silent on the status of peacetime espionage. An abundance of state practice runs at odds with a paucity of opinio juris, and the most highly qualified publicists are divided over the question of peacetime espionage’s legality. This paper will draw the most learned teachings and address its concerns. Demonstrating that international law is a complete system, capable of answering the question peacetime espionage, the paper will show how the principles of sovereignty, equality and non-intervention can apply to an example of peacetime espionage. The application of first principles does not provide an answer regarding peacetime espionage’s legality per se. But this paper will prove that state practice is amenable to legal analysis. States and their lawyers need not fear that the practice necessarily incurs state responsibility. 

Evan Ritli (2nd Place)

On 2 January 2015, Palestine acceded to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, opening up the possibility of having allegations of war crimes committed during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, despite the ICC’s formal acceptance of Palestine as a State Party, Palestine’s unique circumstances mean there are still many issues and questions that may arise and will need to be addressed should an investigation into the situation in Palestine be launched. 

This essay will examine some of the key jurisdictional issues that the Prosecutor of the ICC will be faced with should an investigation into the situation in Palestine be opened. In particular, it looks at the issue of Palestine’s disputed borders, and what this dispute may mean for any attempt to prosecute the crime of settlements. It also examines the issue of jurisdiction under the Oslo Accords, and the issue of jurisdiction under the law of belligerent occupation.  
It is argued that although there are legitimate jurisdictional issues that the ICC must address if an investigation into the situation in Palestine is opened, these are largely political rather than legal in nature. As such, though these issues may prove politically challenging for the ICC, none should prove insurmountable or fatal to an investigation into the situation in Palestine. Furthermore, Palestine’s ascension to the Rome Statute should be regarded as a normatively positive step forward for international justice and, as such, should be supported by the international community, including Israel.

Tracy Albin (3rd Place)

The issue of spatial demarcation is one that has troubled UNCOPUOS for many decades. Spatial demarcation is essential in order to define and enforce State responsibility for their conduct within both air space and outer space. There have been many theories put forward in order to settle the debate, but no one theory has been sufficient to satisfy the elements of practicality, science and conclusiveness. The two most popular theories, spatial demarcation and functional demarcation, will be critically discussed below, with a consideration of the emerging practice of space tourism and its effect on the debate.

Please note that any original work contained in the essays linked above remain the intellectual property of the authors. These essays must not be copied or distributed without the consent of the author.