Law Council of Australia

International Law Section

International Law Section Essay Competition for Studies in the Law of the South Pacific

The International Law Section 2023 essay competition is now open.

Entry requirements

Essays are to explore 'The Efficacy of Existing Cross Border Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in the South Pacific Region'. Candidates have the option of submitting previously published work of up to 5,000 words or an original work not exceeding 3,000 words. Candidates will be asked to authorise their essay for publication by the International Law Section, which may publish the winning essay on the Law Council website. The winner will receive a prize value of up to $500.00 (AUD).


To be eligible, a candidate must be a citizen of, or studying in, American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, or Vanuatu.

Key dates

Deadline for submissions is COB Tuesday, 28 November 2023. Essays will be judged by the ILS South Pacific Issues Committee and the winner will be announced at the ILS Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, 12 December 2023.

How to submit

Please email completed essay to by COB Tuesday, 28 November 2023. For more information about the competition, please contact the Section Administrator at


For more information about the competition, please contact the Section Administrator at

Competition winners

Elizabeth is a third-year undergraduate student, currently interning at Kubak and Kubak Barristers and Solicitors in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Her accumulated legal research and studies over the years have influenced and developed her interests in international laws and principles and their real-world application. Born and raised in Papua New Guinea but studied extensively in Australia, Elizabeth has been exposed to the implementation and enforcement of the legal system locally and internationally. She aspires to work towards the free exercise of rights in the South Pacific with zero barriers to access of justice in PNG in the future. Elizabeth hopes to continue her international law studies and gain exposure to the changing legal climate in order to build a positive legal identity.

A copy of her essay is available here.

Ms Houlahan is a Canberra based legal practitioner with a keen interest in administrative and international law. During her time as a Legal Officer in the Royal Australian Navy, she developed an interest in maritime security law and has advised Defence on operational and international law issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to law, Ms Houlahan has postgraduate qualifications in science, and has previously worked in clinical and research science. Loretta enjoys utilising her STEM skills to advise on new and emerging technologies for clients.

Ms Houlahan currently works as a Senior Associate at HWL Ebsworth in the public and administrative law team. She continues her service to the Royal Australian Navy as a reservist Legal Officer and sits on several Health and Defence boards.

Click here to read Ms Houlahan’s winning essay in 2022.



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