The Fragility Of Liberty In Australia

January 21, 2014

By PATRICK KEYZER, Professor of Constitutional Law.

Last week the Queensland Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie MP, decided not to appeal two decisions of the Queensland Court of Appeal, handed down on 6 December last year, striking down the Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act.

The Public Interest Declarations Act, enacted on 17 October 2013, was the latest in a decade of reforms to the law governing the preventive detention of serious sex offenders.

The Act authorized the Attorney-General to “request” the Governor of Queensland “in Council” to make a “public interest declaration” that a sex offender released from detention by the Queensland Supreme Court or the Queensland Court of Appeal should be returned to prison if it was in the public interest to do so.

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Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act Deemed Unconstitutional

October 18, 2013

By PATRICK KEYZER, Professor of Constitutional Law.

The Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Act is almost certainly unconstitutional.  The High Court has said previously that the imprisonment of a person who is judged to be dangerous can only be ordered by a court reviewing the evidence.  This unprecedented law usurps the role of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Queensland Court of Appeal, giving the Attorney-General the judicial power to order that a person should be imprisoned.

This legislation will certainly be subjected to a constitutional challenge.

The Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Bill 2013 can be accessed here: Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Amendment Bill

 


Juries and Social Media – Report Out Now!

April 17, 2013

The Institute’s team members were recently engaged by the Victorian Department of Justice on behalf of the Standing Council on Law and Justice to:

1. Conduct a literature review of existing research and studies that discuss the use of social media by empanelled jurors and in particular the purpose and effect of such use and describe this research and these studies.

2. Review any policy implemented in interstate or overseas (Commonwealth) jurisdictions that aims to address potential prejudice caused by a juror’s access to and use of social media, and provide details regarding whether any policy has been successful.

The report is out now and has already received attention in the Sydney Morning Herald today: Trial via social media a problem for courts

To view the report, click here:

Juries and Social Media Report


Conference: Is Your Fitness Business At Risk?

January 16, 2013

Sydney, 20 April 2013                                                                  

AFIRM LogoThe Australian fitness industry has a critical role to play in supporting and facilitating active and healthy lifestyles for Australians.  However, while regular physical activity can prevent obesity and reduce the risk of inactivity-related diseases, overly vigorous exercise can trigger adverse health events.  Additionally, some programs offered by fitness providers can increase the risk of injury and this risk is heightened where there are inadequate risk management practices.  This can expose fitness facilities and staff to legal liability which can be very expensive. 

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Australia’s Next High Court Judge: Patrick Keane

November 22, 2012

Eminently qualified, former Judge on the Court of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Queensland and Solicitor General for 13 years, Patrick Keane will be Australia’s next High Court judge. As reported in The Australian recently, Justice Keane replaces Dyson Heydon. He is the eighth Queenslander to be appointed a High Court Justice and is the second Queenslander presently on the bench alongside Susan Kiefel. Over the course of his career, Justice Keane has gained respect for endeavouring to speed-up judgment times and resolve cases mores swiftly. Professor Patrick Keyzer, Director of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy comments on Justice Keane’s potential ‘fit’ for his new role as High Court judge.

To view the article, click the link below.

‘Cautious Pat Keane will ‘fit right in’ at High Court’, The Australian, 21 November 2012


Legal Challenges Of A National Child Abuse Royal Commission

November 13, 2012

The Australian’s Legal Affair’s editor, Chris Merritt recently covered the push for a commonwealth royal commission into child abuse.  When Julia Gillard revealed her plans, concerns emerged that the evidence gathered using the royal commission’s powers could not generally be used in criminal proceedings which may follow.  While the federal government has secured cooperation from NSW and Victoria in an endeavour to overcome constitutional limitations that may have restricted the scope of the enquiry, Patrick Keyzer, Director of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy comments on the doubts that may have been raised for the viability of such a commission.

To view the article, click the link below.

‘A Question of Justice’, The Australian, 13 November 2012