In 1948, as Cecil George Harris lay dying after a tractor accident, he scratched a final message into the vehicle’s fender.
illustration supplied by: Impact Studios/Dinalie Dabarera.
Courts have had to consider whether an eggshell, a tractor fender, a petticoat hem, graffiti on a wall, and a poem might be valid wills. They've shown surprising flexibility in judgment.
Malka Leifer’s extradition process has been in train since Australia lodged its request with Israel in 2013.
Extradition laws are based on the idea that offenders, or alleged offenders, should not be able to evade justice by fleeing to another country. But the case of Malka Leifer shows just how difficult that can be.
Front pages from Australian newspapers covering terrorist attacks on the United States.
The 2001 federal election was a watershed moment for Australian national security that has set a policy agenda for almost two decades.
Australian Muslims are divided on whether women will get a fair deal under Islamic dispute resolution if it is implemented here.
Islamic dispute resolution is a way of avoiding court but resolving disputes under Islamic law. Other countries use this approach. But is it right for Australia?
To avoid miscarriages of justice, we need a jury direction process that leads to maximum juror understanding.
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.
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
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.
Government and judicial interventions into the decisions of parole boards display a progressive loss of faith in these independent bodies.
George Pell emerges from court during his committal hearing on historical sexual offences.
George Pell's current committal hearing engages the principle of 'open justice' and some of its most important exceptions.
We need more clarity around this difficult question: when are sexual acts so extreme that consent is irrelevant?
How Australian courts might interpret consent in situations like this is far from clear, and needs to be sorted out.
In Australia, a victim’s right to participate and be heard in parole decisions is enshrined in legislation.
Upholding victims' rights on parole decisions means respectfully enabling their active participation in decisions that affect their personal interests.
Native title - the legal recognition of Indigenous Australian land rights - is determined under domestic law, not international law.
In an article published in the lead up to Australia Day, WA Liberal Party policy committee chairman Sherry Sufi said "native title can only exist if Australia was settled, not invaded". Is that right?
Australia’s Constitution vests executive power in the Queen and says that that power is exercised ‘on her behalf’ by the governor-general.
Many of the questions that would arise if Australia wants to become a republic have been successfully tackled elsewhere.
The charges against a 59-year-old Sydney man relate to UN sanctions and Australian autonomous sanctions.
The charges against a Sydney man for allegedly acting as an 'economic agent' for North Korea are set against the background of recent tougher UN sanctions against the rogue nation.
Increasingly, the language of ‘national security’ is invoked to protect a government’s broader interests.
New laws aiming to crack down on foreign interference in Australian politics suggest the concept of 'national security' is continually expanding.
Labor senator Katy Gallagher has been referred to the High Court over her possible dual citizenship status.
That it has taken more than five months and a compulsory declaration procedure for some MPs' dual citizenship issues to come to light reflects extremely badly on them.
Former TV reporter Ben McCormack’s lawyer suggested McCormack’s online chats discussing child sex abuse were ‘fantasy talk’.
There are some online child sex abuse offences in Australia for which a defendant’s claim that they were purely fantasising could excuse criminal liability.
As the legal battle heats up, James Paterson’s bill demonstrates an unconscionable misunderstanding about the indivisibility of human rights.
Now that the battle for marriage equality has been won, the fight over the legislation to enable it will heat up.
Bob Brown was arrested under an anti-protest law after refusing to obey police directions to leave a forestry coup at Lapoinya State Forest.
Bob Brown's successful High Court challenge to an anti-protest law in Tasmania will cause many states to review their own protest laws.
An unsent text message can be a will, an Australian court has decided.
Modern courts may be flexible in working out what your will is after you die, but that doesn't mean you should be complacent.