To avoid miscarriages of justice, we need a jury direction process that leads to maximum juror understanding.
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.
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
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.
Government and judicial interventions into the decisions of parole boards display a progressive loss of faith in these independent bodies.
George Pell emerges from court during his committal hearing on historical sexual offences.
George Pell's current committal hearing engages the principle of 'open justice' and some of its most important exceptions.
We need more clarity around this difficult question: when are sexual acts so extreme that consent is irrelevant?
How Australian courts might interpret consent in situations like this is far from clear, and needs to be sorted out.
In Australia, a victim’s right to participate and be heard in parole decisions is enshrined in legislation.
Upholding victims' rights on parole decisions means respectfully enabling their active participation in decisions that affect their personal interests.
Native title - the legal recognition of Indigenous Australian land rights - is determined under domestic law, not international law.
In an article published in the lead up to Australia Day, WA Liberal Party policy committee chairman Sherry Sufi said "native title can only exist if Australia was settled, not invaded". Is that right?
Australia’s Constitution vests executive power in the Queen and says that that power is exercised ‘on her behalf’ by the governor-general.
Many of the questions that would arise if Australia wants to become a republic have been successfully tackled elsewhere.
The charges against a 59-year-old Sydney man relate to UN sanctions and Australian autonomous sanctions.
The charges against a Sydney man for allegedly acting as an 'economic agent' for North Korea are set against the background of recent tougher UN sanctions against the rogue nation.
Increasingly, the language of ‘national security’ is invoked to protect a government’s broader interests.
New laws aiming to crack down on foreign interference in Australian politics suggest the concept of 'national security' is continually expanding.
Labor senator Katy Gallagher has been referred to the High Court over her possible dual citizenship status.
That it has taken more than five months and a compulsory declaration procedure for some MPs' dual citizenship issues to come to light reflects extremely badly on them.
Former TV reporter Ben McCormack’s lawyer suggested McCormack’s online chats discussing child sex abuse were ‘fantasy talk’.
There are some online child sex abuse offences in Australia for which a defendant’s claim that they were purely fantasising could excuse criminal liability.
As the legal battle heats up, James Paterson’s bill demonstrates an unconscionable misunderstanding about the indivisibility of human rights.
Now that the battle for marriage equality has been won, the fight over the legislation to enable it will heat up.
Bob Brown was arrested under an anti-protest law after refusing to obey police directions to leave a forestry coup at Lapoinya State Forest.
Bob Brown's successful High Court challenge to an anti-protest law in Tasmania will cause many states to review their own protest laws.
An unsent text message can be a will, an Australian court has decided.
Modern courts may be flexible in working out what your will is after you die, but that doesn't mean you should be complacent.
Danny Lim, Sydney, was convicted of ‘offensive behaviour’ for a sign that referred to Tony Abbott and alluded to the c-bomb. The conviction was dismissed in August this year.
Australia has a reputation for swearing. Yet this sits at odds with laws that criminalise offensive words.
Judge May Lahey (left) with actor Jean Harlow in 1932.
The Cornell Daily Sun (digitally coloured image)
Dame Roma Mitchell is remembered as Australia's first female judge. But Queenslander May Lahey beat her to the punch when she became a judge in Los Angeles in 1928. Her lack of recognition is symptomatic of how Australia remembers expats, particularly women.
The decision reveals the striking breadth of the government’s power to deal with asylum seekers and refugees in ways that directly contravene international law.
The Australian government had and has the power to do things necessary to establish and maintain its immigration detention facility on Manus Island, despite detention violating PNG law.
Amid a sea of troubles – including the premature loss of their CEO and a money-laundering scandal – the CBA is facing a shareholder lawsuit.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
A new lawsuit against the CBA puts climate change in a new legal light: a financial hazard. The case opens up fresh lines of attack on institutions that contribute to climate change.