High Court

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The decision is a win for 69-year-old Queensland breast cancer survivor Yvonne D'Arcy. Dan Peled/AAP

High Court rules breast cancer gene cannot be patented

Australia's highest court has ruled a gene mutation linked to cancer cannot be patented, ending a long battle over whether companies can own the rights to genetic material.
Dyson Heydon prided himself throughout his judicial career on the robust independence and intellectual integrity he brought to the role. AAP/Renee Nowytarger

Bias and the ‘black-letter’ judge: who is Dyson Heydon?

How has a former judge with an avowed commitment to judicial independence and probity found himself at the centre of a very public controversy over his own impartiality?
The message that terrorism is exceptional and egregious will be compromised if the current citizenship revocation bill becomes law. AAP/Dan Peled

Bill relies on legal fiction of self-executing law to revoke citizenship

Multiple concerns have been raised about the citizenship-stripping bill's inattention to human rights, its differential impact upon dual and sole nationals, and its potential application to persons who commit relatively minor crimes.
Karen Nettleton, whose daughter and grandchildren are currently in Syria, has a made a public plea for her family to be allowed to return to Australia. ABCTV

Even Khaled Sharrouf’s family has the right to come home

Whatever we think of the family of foreign fighter Khaled Sharrouf or their circumstances, they enjoy the right to return on the same footing as every other Australian citizen.
South Australia’s proposed anti-bikie laws criminalise the wearing of anything that indicates association with a declared ‘criminal organisation’ on licensed premises. AAP/Eric Sands

Queensland holds lessons for states set to crack down on bikies

While South Australia's proposed anti-bikie laws may be constitutional, there are clear reasons why introducing them is at best premature – and at worst a very bad idea.
The Northern Territory’s ‘paperless arrest’ powers are at odds with recommendations by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Shutterstock/Igor Golovniov

Paperless arrests are a sure-fire trigger for more deaths in custody

Northern Territory police powers to make 'paperless arrests' are completely contrary to recommendations by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and now the inevitable has happened.
The investigation that brought down the NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, is one of several that has put the powers of ICAC in the spotlight. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Are corruption watchdogs out of control? Their records say no

ICAC has claimed some high-profile scalps, prompting some claims that the watchdog is out of control. Yet our new research shows 99% of complaints don't proceed to a formal investigation.
The High Court has upheld a NSW Court of Appeal decision that ICAC had no power to investigate Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

High Court forces ICAC to drop Cunneen inquiry and review others

The High Court has decided ICAC did not have the power to investigate a NSW Crown prosecutor, so the commission will have to review investigations involving the conduct of private individuals.
Three of the seven seats in the High Court of Australia will soon be filled by women judges. Lukas Coch/AAP

Two-for-one: a good new High Court judge, and a woman to boot

Now that women will make up 40% of High Court judges come June 2015, is gender now irrelevant? Hardly. Women have made up slightly less than 10% of all High Court judges in the court’s history.
Today FM faces enforcement action by ACMA after a long-running legal challenge to the media regulator’s powers ended in defeat for the broadcaster. AAP/Warren Clarke

High Court rejects attempt to make media watchdog toothless

After a High Court win over Today FM, ACMA is likely to be able to deal more swiftly with this kind of case – and with less risk of incurring large legal bills.
The High Court decision on 157 asylum seekers detained at sea in 2014 – as well as recent legislative changes – raises concerns about the rights of asylum seekers. AAP/Lukas Coch

Australia can detain asylum seekers on the high seas, the High Court decides

On Wednesday, the High Court handed down an important judgment on the legality of the interception of asylum seeker vessels and the detention of those onboard on the high seas. It ruled, by a 4:3 majority…
Man Haron Monis was a madman with a persecution complex, but his frustration with the legal system wasn’t without justification. AAP/website screenshot

Man Haron Monis’s poison letters split the High Court and laid bare a flaw in the system

This week’s hostage tragedy in Sydney’s Lindt Cafe will cast a long shadow. It will force us to rethink our readiness for emergencies and the adequacy of our criminal justice system. There has already…
Should Australia’s High Court judges be representative of the community that their rulings affect? Should politics play a part? AAP/Lukas Coch

Appointing Australia’s highest judges deserves proper scrutiny

Late last week, the federal government appointed Geoffrey Nettle, a Victorian Court of Appeal judge, to the High Court to replace retiring justice Susan Crennan. Nettle is an excellent lawyer and his appointment…

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