Articles on Law

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Code-breaking genius Alan Turing was driven to suicide by the criminalisation of homosexuality. Such convictions still haunt many Australians. AAP/Keir David

Saying sorry for governments intruding in your bedroom

It is time for all Australian governments to acknowledge a historic wrong. In doing so they will help to right an injustice and demonstrate a real commitment to respect for all Australians. Earlier this…
The Coalition government’s deal with the states over schools funding should not be broken so easily. AAP Image/Tim Dornin

Legally binding or not? Why breaking the Gonski funding deals matters

Education minister Christopher Pyne has announced the new government will dump the agreements with the states on the Gonski school funding reforms, negotiated by the former Labor government. Pyne has said…
It’s set to be a big few months for the High Court of Australia. What are the key cases to watch? petelawley

The High Court – coming to a Centre Stage near you

In coming months, the High Court – the highest court in Australia and the final arbiter on the meaning of the Constitution – will decide several high-profile cases. These decisions, which may result in…
Televised court proceedings will reveal what goes on inside these walls. John Allan

Cameras in court throw us in at the deep end before we’re ready

The Court of Appeal is to be televised for the first time now that a ban on cameras in courts in England and Wales has been lifted. High-profile media organisations have been lobbying for such a move for…
Two thirds of children with cancer are in clinical trials. Matter

New law will help drive more clinical trials for child cancers

Clinical trials provide the unbiased evidence essential for improving treatments in all areas of medicine. For children with cancer the development of safe treatments that work has relied on high quality…
The High Court has found that Indigenous disadvantage needs to be taken into account during sentencing. AAP Image/Marianna Massey

High Court to give ‘full weight’ to Indigenous disadvantage

How long should a criminal’s past history and background remain relevant in a court of law? That was the question before the High Court earlier this week in the case of William Bugmy. Bugmy, a 29 year-old…
Two women wearing niqabs in France. The traditional Islamic garment has caused controversy in the UK after a judge forced a woman to remove hers to give evidence in court. EPA/Ian Langsdon

Women and veiling: the elephant in the courtroom

The rights and wrongs of women wearing niqabs to give evidence have been the subject of an English court decision and much social and media debate recently. Over the past few years, the issue has also…
Studying law can be confronting and can lead some students to depression or anxiety. But what can be done about it? Law school graduate image from www.shutterstock.com

Law school too hard? Why the struggle could be a good one

As law teachers, we have plenty of hopes for our students. Upon graduating, we want them to have a good grounding in legal knowledge and to be creative thinkers. We also hope they will come out of law…
Indonesian military officers have been caught up in people smuggling rings, but what actually happens to the kingpins of these operations? AAP/Karlis Salna

Prosecuting people smugglers in Indonesia

Against widely held opinion in Australia that Indonesia is not doing anything to stop people smugglers from shipping asylum seekers to Australia, Indonesia has, in fact, stepped up its activities to curb…
Nothing on the box? The Home Office is providing a new source of entertainment. ukhomeoffice

Immigration arrests are not a spectator sport

In the week that saw the British press rightly condemning the use of Twitter to send violent threats to several women, the Home Office started to use the social media site to publicise operations to carry…
Where can I plug in my laptop? Courtrooms are due a digital makeover Fayerollinson

Paper-hungry courts put on digital diet

The UK courts are to be dragged into the 21st century with a £160 million investment to help them go digital. Announcing its plans, the Ministry of Justice revealed that the courts get through a staggering…
New legislation, if passed next week, will be an important step towards better protection for whistelblowers. Whistle image from www.shutterstock.com

Whistleblowing law now an acid test for federal politicians

After six different parliamentary committees over 20 years, and commitments from all sides of politics, the test is now on for the final week of the current federal parliament. Federal leaders have certainly…
To assess the risk of a schizophrenic attack, we try to work out the risk of a rare event in a bunch of people with a mixed bag of symptoms. Flickr/daniellehelm

Are you really at risk of attack by someone with schizophrenia?

A violent attack by someone who is mentally ill quickly grabs the headlines. And it’s usually implied that mental illnesses are a preventable cause of violent crime. Tackle that and we can all sleep safer…
The murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher sparked much social media comment, some of which threatened to compromise the criminal trial of the accused. AAP/Facebook

Trial by social media: why we need to properly educate juries

This week, the Standing Council on Law and Justice (which constitutes the attorneys-general of the Commonwealth, states and territories) published a report on the impact of social media on juries. The…
NSW Attorney General Greg Smith (center) claims that previous laws guaranteeing the right to silence were easily exploited by criminals. AAP/Dean Lewins

When you say nothing at all: NSW and the right to silence

The right to silence when being interviewed or questioned by police would be considered a fundamental legal right by many people. But it is not a “right” you can exercise in New South Wales any more. The…
Copyright law could make the job of creating Massive Open Online Courses more difficult. Legal image from www.shutterstock.com

Legal learning: how do MOOCs and copyright work?

Another university has jumped on the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) bandwagon this month, with the Australian National University joining up with Harvard venture edX. In ANU’s case, it will enable Nobel…
An Australian navy vessel escorts asylum seekers to Christmas Island-but what are our obligations to other vessels? AAP Image/Scott Fisher

Explainer: what are Australia’s duties to rescue at sea?

Australia, like all coastal states, is under an absolute obligation to undertake rescue at sea wherever and whenever necessary. It is not, however, immediately apparent that this is the case. A question…
NSW premier Barry O'Farrell needs to reform the law to give Sydney University more responsibility for its colleges. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Why a solution to the St John’s scandal lies with Barry O’Farrell

Why is the University of Sydney powerless to stop bullying behaviour in what the public sees as “its colleges”? This has been a constant refrain in recent weeks as the controversy surrounding the behaviour…
Robert Bagie, Olive Bagie, adopted son Ramsley Woosup and Mimia Whap were afraid of flying after losing a family member in the Lockhart river crash. AAP/Jade Bilowol

Lockhart River crash compensation a big win for Indigenous justice

A couple of weeks ago, Justice Henry of the Queensland Supreme Court handed down judgement in favour of the families of five people killed in the tragic Lockhart River plane crash in 2005. The court awarded…

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