High Court

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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…
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…

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