Articles on Australian law

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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.
Judge May Lahey (left) with actor Jean Harlow in 1932. The Cornell Daily Sun (digitally coloured image)

Meet the woman who can lay claim to being Australia’s first female judge

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. AAP/Eoin Blackwell

High Court challenge to offshore immigration detention power fails

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

Climate change is a financial risk, according to a lawsuit against the CBA

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.

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