Victorian Supreme Court accepts vaccination of children can be ordered, even against parents’ wishes

ZD v Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services [2017] VSC 806 (22 December 2017)

The Supreme Court of Victoria held that the Children's Court Magistrate had the power to authorise the vaccination of three young children as a condition of interim accommodation orders under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005, contrary to the wishes of both parents. Justice Osborn held that s 263(7) of the CYFA is only capable of one interpretation and therefore the rights under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (VIC) were not relevant to the construction of the subsection.

Read More

New Zealand court finds risk of indefinite detention is a "compelling or extraordinary circumstance" in decision whether to extradite accused people smuggler to Australia

Maythem Kamil Radhi (Appellant) v The District Court of Manukau (The First Respondent) and The Commonwealth of Australia (The Second Respondent) [2017] NZSC 198

The Australian Federal Police sought the extradition of a New Zealand resident, alleging that he was involved in helping asylum seekers travel from Indonesia to Australia. The New Zealand Supreme Court found that although the man was eligible for surrender, there was a "real risk" that he would be subjected to indefinite administrative detention once in Australia and that this risk constituted a compelling or extraordinary circumstance warranting referral to the Minister.

Read More

Nauru abolishes appeals to Australian High Court after series of asylum seeker decisions

BRF038 v The Republic of Nauru [2017] HCA 56; HFM045 v The Republic of Nauru [2017] HCA 50; DWN042 v The Republic of Nauru [2017] HCA 56

The Nauruan Government recently abolished the mechanism by which parties could appeal decisions from the Supreme Court of Nauru to the High Court of Australia, leaving asylum seekers without an avenue of appeal to challenge unsuccessful decisions of the Supreme Court. This move has come shortly after the High Court's recent landmark decision in BRF038 v The Republic of Nauru [2017] HCA 56 where it held that, in certain circumstances, appeals from the Supreme Court to the High Court lie as of right, without the parties first having to seek leave of the Court.

Read More

Victorian Charter case finds human rights violated when prison prevented delivery of a book

Minogue v Dougherty [2017] VSC 724

The Victorian Supreme Court has found that a prisoner’s rights to privacy and freedom of expression under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) were violated when a book of philosophy addressed to him was returned to its sender, while dismissing other human rights claims about receiving and sending mail, and accessing photocopying services. While Justice John Dixon found that the plaintiff’s Charter rights were breached when the mail officer failed to turn her mind to his rights, he did not award damages as the plaintiff’s case had not made out a substantive breach of rights

Read More

Family Court of Australia clears the way for young trans people to access hormone treatment without court authorisation

Re Kelvin [2017] FamCA 78

The Full Family Court of Australia has held that Stage 2 hormone treatment for transgender young people does not require the court’s authorisation. Court intervention will remain necessary where there is controversy or disagreement between parents or between treating doctors and parents.

Until this case, it is understood that Australia was the only jurisdiction in the world to require transgender young people to seek court authorisation to access treatment. This has drawn criticism from doctors, parents and advocates for unnecessarily increasing mental health risks for transgender young people.

Read More

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights calls for the recognition and protection of LGBTI rights

Inter-American Court of Human Rights OC-24/17 of 24 November 2017 – Gender identity, equality and non-discrimination of same-sex couples

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has recognised the obligation of all member States to ensure same-sex marriages are protected by law and treated equally to heterosexual marriages. The Court also called for member States to put in place an administrative procedure to allow a person to easily change their registered personal information to correspond with their own self-perceived gender identity.

Read More

Eritrean refugees one step closer to trial in a Canadian court case alleging serious human rights abuses

Araya v Nevsun Resources Ltd., 2017 BCCA 401

A group of Eritrean refugees are one step closer to trial in a Canadian court case alleging serious human rights abuses against a Canadian mining company, after the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed a strike-out application. The decision is the first time that a Canadian appellate court has allowed a tort claim for breaches of international law peremptory norms – such as the prohibition of slavery – to proceed.

Read More

European Court of Human Rights rules Russia’s ‘gay propaganda laws’ are discriminatory and breach free speech

Bayev and Others v. Russia (application nos. 67667/09, 44092/12 and 56717/12) [2017] ECHR

On 20 June 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia's so-called "gay propaganda" laws breached Articles 10 (freedom of expression) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention of Human Rights. The challenge was brought by three Russian nationals who are gay rights activists and were fined for allegedly promoting homosexuality while demonstrating in public places.

Read More

Australian High Court finds 5 parliamentarians incapable of being elected on the basis of foreign citizenships

Re Roberts [2017] HCA 39 (22 September 2017), Re Canavan; Re Ludlam; Re Waters; Re Roberts [No 2]; Re Joyce; Re Nash; Re Xenophon [2017] HCA 45 (27 October 2017) and Re Barrow [2017] HCA 47 (7 November 2017)

In three related decisions, the Australian High Court has for the first time ruled on several key aspects of section 44(i) of the Australian Constitution, relating to foreign citizenship for elected members of Parliament. The Court held that four Senators (Ludlam, Waters, Roberts and Nash), and one member of the House of Representatives (Joyce), were incapable of being elected to the Parliament because they were citizens of a foreign power.  The Court also held that two other Senators whose election had been referred to the Court (Canavan and Xenophon) were validly elected and capable of sitting in the Parliament.

It is expected that the election of a number of further members of Parliament may be referred to the Court shortly for consideration.

Read More