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Mr J.G. Allen's picture


Education CV


    • BA & LLB (1st) (University of Tasmania, 2002-2007)
    • LLM (Universität Augsburg, 2009-2010)
    • GDLP (College of Law Australia, 2010)
    • LLM (University of Tasmania, 2010-2012)

    Admissions and Appointments

    • Adjunct Researcher, University of Tasmania Faculty of Law
    • Attorney & Counsellor-at-Law (Supreme Court of New York, 2009); Barrister & Solicitor (Supreme Court of Tasmania, 2011)--both non-practising.

    Honours and Awards

    • Poynton Scholarship, Cambridge Commonwealth Trust (2013-2016)
    • Burke Scholarship, University of Tasmania Faculty of Law (2013)
    • Australia Post-Graduate Award (2010-2012)
    • DAAD Post-Graduate Award (2009-2010)
    • Faculty of Arts Dean's Roll of Excellence with Honours, University of Tasmania (2005)


      Fields of research

      Public law; legal theory; trust and corporations law theory; social ontology.


      The Concept of Office and Judicial Review


      Judicial review is concerned with the review of public officials' decisions, but the nature of public power remains poorly understood: Whence does public power derive, and how do we come to attribute it to the actions of a given individual? What distinguishes 'public' from 'private' power? What are we to make of 'hybrid' bodies or private actors exercising governmental functions? What is 'the Crown' and what does it mean to say that someone is acting as or on behalf of it? What is the relationship between the Crown and the monarch? Why do we treat monopoly power in a manner akin to the power of public officials such as ministers in some cases?

      Some of the most interesting developments in contemporary legal theory are resulting from the application of concepts in social ontology--the branch of analytic philosophy dealing with the nature of social facts and institutions--to legal theory, for example in the 'institutional legal theory' of Neil MacCormick. Using John Searle's theory of institutional facts, I seek to construct a theory of office as an institutional capacity or personality assumed by an individual from time to time, in virtue of which she comes to exercise the kind of power courts are concerned to review. On the view I present, an 'office' is a socially constructed status in virtue of which an individual is endowed with 'bundle' of capacities--powers, rights, duties, immunities, and so forth--which allows her to perform a special function within the social group. On assuming the office, she becomes the subject of the capacities associated with that office.  The creation of offices follows Searle's scheme for the creation of 'institutional facts': an institutional fact is created by the collective intentionality of two or more people, such as the recognition or acceptance in a community that 'X' (a brute fact e.g. a piece of paper or David Cameron) counts as 'Y' (an institutional fact e.g. £5 note or Prime Minister) in the circumstances. In virtue of this recognition or acceptance, bits of paper and David Cameron exercise 'deontic powers' over members of the community that recgonise them as counting as such.

      My argument is that this view of public power and official status can shed light on some of the stubborn questions in judicial review, especially those relating to the supervisory jurisdiction over non-statutory powers and the so-called 'third source' of executive power--the 'personality' of the Crown as a 'corporation sole'.


      Professor T.R.S. Allan; Dr John Allison (Advisor)

      Representative Publications

      J.G. Allen, "What is transitional constitutionalism, and how should we study it?" (2014) 3(4) Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 1098. (Editor's introduction to symposium on Transitional Constitutionalism, (2014) 3(4) CJICL 1098–1355.

      J.G. Allen and Michele Grassi, "Jurisdiction and Devolution Issues" (2013/2014) 5 UK Supreme Court Review 270.

      Jason Grant Allen, Jeremy Prichard, and Lynden Griggs, "A Workplace Drug Testing Act for Australia?" (2013) 32(2) University of Queensland Law Journal 219.

      Jason Grant Allen, "More than a matter of Trust: the German Debt Securities Act 2009 in international perspective" (2012) 7(1) Capital Markets Law Journal 55

      Jason Grant Allen, "Salus Populi Suprema Lex: Justifying Mineral Leases in the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 (Tas)" (2011) 30(1) Tasmania University Law Review 1

      Jason Grant Allen, "Group Consent and the Nature of Group Belonging: Genomics, Race and Indigenous Rights" (2010) 20(2) Journal of Law, Information and Science 28

      Jason Grant Allen and Barbara Ann Hocking, "Unlocking the Alienation: A Comparative Role for Alien Torts Legislation in Post-Colonial Reparations Claims?" (2010) 11 Human Rights Review 247



      Start Date

      Jan 2013

      End date

      Dec 2016