Category Archives: Constitutional law

Harris v Caladine [1991] HCA 9 | 17 April 1991

ON THIS DAY in 1991, the High Court of Australia delivered Harris v Caladine [1991] HCA 9; (1991) 172 CLR 84 (17 April 1991).

Parts of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) allowing Judges of the court to make rules delegating judicial powers to registrars and non-judical officers were held to be valid and not in breach of the doctrine of separation of powers found in s71 and Chapters II and III of the Australian Constitution.

Family Court Judges may make rules and delegate their powers as long as they continue to bear the major responsibility for the exercise of judicial power.  The delegation must not be inconsistent with the obligation of a court to act judicially and that the decisions must be subject to review or appeal by a Judge.

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Inc Pty Ltd v Commonwealth (“Fraser Island case”) [1976] HCA 20 | 14 April 1976

ON THIS DAY in 1976, the High Court of Australia delivered Murphyores Inc Pty Ltd v Commonwealth (“Fraser Island case”) [1976] HCA 20; (1976) 136 CLR 1 (14 April 1976).

The court held that the Commonwealth could validly legislate over the environment through its trade and commerce powers under the Constitution.  As a result, sand mining licensed by the Queensland Government was prohibited on the Fraser Island – the largest sand island in the world.

Fraser Island later became part of the Register of the National Estate, National Heritage List and the World Heritage List.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1976/20.html

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Abebe v Commonwealth [1999] HCA 14 | 14 April 1999

ON THIS DAY in 1999, the High Court of Australia delivered Abebe v Commonwealth [1999] HCA 14; 197 CLR 510; 162 ALR 1; 73 ALJR 584 (14 April 1999)

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1999/14.html

In 1994, the Commonwealth Parliament enacted provisions in Part 8 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) limiting the ability of the Federal Court to review the legality of an administrative decision of the Refugee Review Tribunal.

In 1997, Ms Abebe, an Ethiopian woman who unsuccessfully sought refugee status in Australia, brought proceedings in the Federal Court against the Immigration Minister seeking relief on the grounds that she had been denied natural justice and that the Refugee Review Tribunal’s decision declining her application for permanent residence was unreasonable. The Federal Court dismissed the application.

Ms Abebe then made an application to the High Court, challenging Part 8 of the Act and seeking orders for prerogative relief.

The High Court dismissed Ms Abebe’s application, determining that the provisions of Part 8 were not outside of the legislative powers or the Commonwealth.

Lawyers 1300 00 2088

Viro v R [1978] HCA 9 | 11 April 1978

ON THIS DAY in 1978, the High Court of Australia delivered Viro v R [1978] HCA 9; (1978) 141 CLR 88 (11 April 1978).

The High Court held that it is no longer bound by decisions of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom.  The court is “pre-eminently equipped to decide what is the law for Australia”.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1978/9.html

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Attorney-General (NSW) v Trethowan [1931] HCA 3 | 16 March 1931

ON THIS DAY IN 1931 the High Court of Australia delivered Attorney-General (NSW) v Trethowan [1931] HCA 3; (1931) 44 CLR 394 ( 16 March  1931).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1931/3.htm

In 1929, the Constitution Act 1902 (NSW) was amended with the enactment of s7A, which contained a manner and form provision that a bill for the abolition of the NSW upper house (Legislative Council) could not be presented to the Governor for Royal Assent unless the bill was passed by both houses of the state parliament and then approved by a popular referendum.

In 1931, both houses passed a bill for the abolition of s7A and a bill for the abolition of the Legislative Council. The bill for the abolition of the Legislative Council was not approved by popular referendum.

Before the bills could be presented to the Governor for Royal Assent, Trethowan and another councillor obtained a decree from the NSW Supreme Court which in effect restrained the Government from presenting the bills to the Governor. The persons restrained (the defendants) included the NSW Attorney-General, the President of the Legislative Council, the Premier and the other Ministers of the Crown for NSW.

The High Court of Australia dismissed an appeal by the defendants, upholding the validity and binding effect of s7A.

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Australian Communist Party v Commonwealth (“Communist Party case”) [1951] HCA 5 | 9 March 1951

ON THIS DAY IN 1951, the High Court of Australia delivered Australian Communist Party v Commonwealth (“Communist Party case”) [1951] HCA 5; (1951) 83 CLR 1 (9 March 1951).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1951/5.html

The Commonwealth Parliament enacted the Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950 (Cth) to dissolve the Australian Communist Party of Australia and also empower the Government to dissolve other associations. The High Court held that the legislation was invalid because it was beyond the power of the Commonwealth Parliament under the Constitution and the rule of law.

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Dred Scott v Sandford 60 US 393 (1857) | 6 March 1857

ON THIS DAY IN 1857, the US Supreme Court delivered Dred Scott v Sandford 60 US 393 (1857).

https://supreme.justia.com/us/60/393/case.html

The US Supreme Court ruled that slaves African ancestry were not citizens under the US Constitution.

The decision caused outrage and was a significant event leading up to the election of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088