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Articles on Legal system

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The standard of proof that applies in different types of judicial proceedings may result in quite different verdicts. Shutterstock/Andrey Popov

Judge suspects but must acquit man on child pornography charges

After saying he was ‘deeply suspicious’, a judge cleared a man of child pornography offences. We need to understand the standard of proof to make sense of verdicts, including AFL rulings on doping.
With controversial headline “This brazen Islam” a French magazine in 2012 claimed Muslims were infiltrating hospitals, cafeterias, swimming pools, schools

The French myth of secularism

Commentators in France and elsewhere have taken the recent terrorist attacks in Paris as an occasion to reflect more broadly about Muslims in France. Many read the attacks as a sign of French Muslims…
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…
A grand jury decision not to indict a police officer over the shooting death of Michael Brown has sparked protests and questions over the system’s efficacy. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Only in America: why Australia is right not to have grand juries

The idea of the grand jury is already familiar to many Australians through American television legal drama. But its profile just skyrocketed with a grand jury deciding not to indict policeman Darren Wilson…
No longer restricted to elite athletes, personal fitness data can be collected from people jogging, going to the gym – even sleeping. Josh Janssen/Flickr

Fitness tracking data in courts – persuasive, but not conclusive

Beyond simply counting steps, fitness tracking technology creates personal black boxes that archive everything we do – even sleeping. So it’s not surprising to see that a Calgary law firm, representing…
When we imprison adults, we are more often than not imprisoning parents. So what happens to their children? shutterstock

As we imprison more adults, what’s happening to the children?

Over the past six months, Victoria’s prison system has been widely acknowledged as overcrowded and at “breaking point”. Police cells are full of those awaiting a court hearing. The County Court is being…
Amanda Knox in the hands of the Italian police. Antonio Calanni/AP

Knox case has put the Italian legal system on trial in the US

Amanda Knox has faced three verdicts in six years over a case in which it was alleged she was part of a brutal knife attack on Meredeth Kercher in Perugia in 2007 that resulted in her death. Although Knox…
Female barristers have had to challenge the male-dominated professional norms of the Bar. AAP/Gillian Ballard

Australian women must hold their nerve until justice is served

Australian men and women in relatively equal numbers obtain undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in political science, law, medicine, business and economics. There is no shortage of women academics…
Weighing up cost and benefit: proposed legal aid cuts are a perversion of justice. Lonpicman

Cuts to criminal legal aid will turn defendants into products

In an adversarial criminal justice system like the one we have in England and Wales, access to justice depends on access to lawyers. The court system is complicated and confusing, a heady mix of archaic…
Will vouchers to access legal aid services be the fix the Australian legal system needs? AAP/Lee Besford

‘Coupon justice’ won’t address legal aid crisis

Most Australians with legal problems are unlikely to be able to access the help they need. Unless you’re wealthy and can pay for a private lawyer, or extremely poor and disadvantaged and able to access…

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