Articles on Australian law

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Malka Leifer’s extradition process has been in train since Australia lodged its request with Israel in 2013. AAP/supplied

Explainer: what is extradition between countries and how does it work?

Extradition laws are based on the idea that offenders, or alleged offenders, should not be able to evade justice by fleeing to another country. But the case of Malka Leifer shows just how difficult that can be.
To avoid miscarriages of justice, we need a jury direction process that leads to maximum juror understanding. Shutterstock

We need better jury directions to ensure justice is done

Because judges have a secondary audience when issuing jury directions - appeal court judges - the language used has become too wordy and confusing. It needs to change.
Among other things, Greer’s dismissal of “harm” also illustrates how misconceptions about rape inhibit prosecution. Flickr/walnut whippet

Greer is right to say rape law has failings, but wrong to suggest its decriminalisation

The author and academic makes some valid points about rape, but to decriminalise it, as she suggests, fails to recognise bodily autonomy as a key marker of humanity to which women are entitled.
False beliefs about language and speech underlie legal precedents that allow jurors to be “assisted” by unreliable transcripts of forensic audio. The Everett Collection/Shutterstock

Legal precedent based on false beliefs proves hard to overturn

Not all false beliefs arise from malicious misinformation. Some legal precedents rest on the status of everyday 'common knowledge', since shown to be false, but embedded in our law nonetheless.
Australian governments have too often succumbed to perceived community pressure to limit parole authorities’ independence and powers. AAP/Samantha Manchee

Political interventions have undermined the parole system’s effectiveness and independence

Government and judicial interventions into the decisions of parole boards display a progressive loss of faith in these independent bodies.
Australia’s Constitution vests executive power in the Queen and says that that power is exercised ‘on her behalf’ by the governor-general. AAP/Alan Porritt

Nine things you should know about a potential Australian republic

Many of the questions that would arise if Australia wants to become a republic have been successfully tackled elsewhere.

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