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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…
In a 6:1 decision, the High Court upheld the validity of two offences created under Queensland’s anti-bikie measures. AAP/Dan Peled

High Court invites fresh challenge to Queensland’s bikie laws

Last Friday, the High Court handed down its decision in a constitutional challenge to Queensland’s controversial suite of anti-bikie laws. This decision is as interesting for what it does not decide as…
The Abbott government’s Emissions Reduction Fund could be vulnerable to a future constitutional challenge in the wake of recent High Court decisions. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: is Direct Action constitutionally valid?

Late last week, the Senate passed the Abbott government’s controversial A$2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of its Direct Action Plan to combat climate change. Its passage has been…
NSW consorting laws mean a group of dog owners who regularly meet at Sydney’s Leichhardt Pioneers Memorial Park might want to run criminal record checks on anyone joining their social gathering. AAP/Britt Smith

Careful who you chat with: it could turn you into a criminal

Next time you strike up a conversation at your local coffee shop, have a chat in the pub after work, or have a natter with fellow dog lovers as you follow your pooch around the park, you may want to get…
Australia’s judiciary has emerged as a political and activist institution, frustrating the militarised strategies of the Abbott government in asylum policy. AAP/Lukas Coch

High Court asylum case pits the executive against the judiciary

The full bench of the High Court will hear the case of 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers currently on an Australian customs vessel over two days, starting on August 5. But when the High Court issued an injunction…
The 153 intercepted asylum seekers are reportedly being detained at sea aboard the ACV Ocean Protector, pictured here in Hobart. Flickr/Grahame Bowland

Court to rule on intercepting and transferring asylum seekers at sea

Lawyers for 153 Sri Lankan asylum seekers on a boat intercepted by the Australian government applied for a full bench of the High Court to hear its case on August 5 at a directions hearing on Friday. Whereas…
In its asylum policy, Australia takes advantage of the fact that international law is not automatically absorbed into its domestic legal system. AAP/Lukas Coch

Australia’s global reputation at stake in High Court asylum case

The Australian government gave an undertaking to the High Court on Wednesday that it would not surrender or deliver the asylum seekers detained on an Australian customs vessel on the high seas to Sri Lankan…
In previous cases, the High Court has held that asylum seekers detained on Christmas Island have a right to procedural fairness. AAP/Scott Fisher

Preventing asylum seekers' return to harm through the High Court

Later today, the High Court is due to hear a challenge to the screening and transfer of a boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers back to Sri Lankan authorities. Under international law, return of persons…
The High Court has unanimously re-endorsed its decision in a successful 2012 challenge to the government funding the National Schools Chaplaincy Program. AAP/Lukas Coch

Commonwealth left scrambling by school chaplaincy decision

The High Court has again put the future of the federal government’s school chaplaincy program in jeopardy, confirming its 2012 decision that the Commonwealth’s spending programs must be supported by valid…
The High Court has given the Commonwealth two serious warnings that it needs to review its extensive spending program since 2009, but these have gone largely unheard. AAP/Lukas Coch

Commonwealth spending back in the High Court’s sights

This week, the High Court heard Toowoomba man Ron Williams’ second challenge to the constitutionality of the Commonwealth’s funding of the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program. While…
The high court has ruled that New South Wales must allow Norrie to legally identify as having a non-specific gender. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Why Norrie’s court victory is a leap forward for everyone

Have you ever asked yourself why institutions continue to demand that we identify ourselves as male or female on every form? What difference does gender make to my bank account, to the tax office, or to…
The first legal challenge to Queensland’s hardline anti-bikie laws is set to hit the High Court. But what are its chances of success? AAP/Dan Peled

Hells Angel takes on bikie laws in court, but what are his chances?

Hells Angel Stefan Kuczborski has launched a constitutional challenge to more than a dozen sections of the Newman government’s notorious anti-bikie laws in Queensland. These include the Vicious Lawless…
A judgment on whether voters in Western Australia will return to the polls to re-elect their senators is due on Monday. What’s the legal background to it all? AAP/Paul Miller

In whose interest? The High Court and the WA Senate vote

This week, a lone High Court judge faced a table of 13 barristers to begin resolving the Western Australian Senate election quandary. The hearing took two days and a judgment is likely sooner or later…
The High Court has ruled the ACT’s same-sex marriage law invalid, citing its inconsistency with the federal Marriage Act. AAP/Alan Porritt

ACT law delivers neither marriage nor equality: the High Court’s verdict

The ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex Act) 2013 produced neither a marriage nor equality. Instead it produced inconsistency, leaving the law completely inoperative. Those who exchanged marriage vows last…
The High Court will this week begin deliberating on whether or not the ACT’s same-sex marriage bill is consistent with the Constitution. AAP/Alan Porritt

Same-sex marriage and the High Court: previewing the arguments

This week, the High Court will begin hearing the Commonwealth’s challenge to the ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013. But don’t expect lofty rhetoric about equality; the case is really about the…
The High Court may be forced to decide on the constitutionality of Tasmania’s abortion protest law. Alex Guibord

Tasmania’s abortion protest law is probably constitutionally valid

Earlier this week, constitutional law academic Michael Stokes predicted the High Court of Australia would overturn new Tasmanian legislation banning anti-abortion lobbyists from protesting within 150 metres…
The binary categories of male and female don’t align with the reality that sex and gender may be fluid. Keoni Cabral

Beyond male and female: time for a non-specific sex category

Earlier this month the High Court indicated it was prepared to hear a legal case that tests the ability of intersex Australians to be legally recognised as being neither male or female. The High Court…
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…

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