In the media

Over 200 organisations outline human rights concerns at outset of COVID crisis
More than 200 not-for-profit and community organisations have backed a major report calling on the Australian Government to strengthen its commitment to human rights in its laws, policies and practices (09 April 2020). More...

Tyrrell detective sentenced over illegal recordings of person of interest
Former NSW detective Gary Jubelin is fined $2,500 for each of his four counts in relation to recording person of interest Paul Savage on a mobile phone in 2017 and 2018 (08 April 2020). More...

LCA: Comments on the High Court judgment Pell v The Queen, from the Law Council of Australia President, Ms Pauline Wright
The High Court is the ultimate decision-maker within our judicial system in Australia and its job is to impartially scrutinise decisions made in lower courts to determine whether the law has been properly applied. In criminal trials, the prosecution bears the burden of proof and must prove every element of their case to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt (08 April 2020). More...

Parliamentary scrutiny of Federal Government's COVID-19 response vital for democracy
The Human Rights Law Centre welcomed the Senate's vote today to establish a cross-party Senate Select Committee to provide democratic oversight and scrutiny of the Morrison Government's response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (08 April 2020). More...

Greater transparency needed around Federal Government's new COVID 19 phone app
Human rights and privacy experts have called on Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to explain privacy and surveillance issues arising from the Federal Government's recently launched Coronavirus Australia app (08 April 2020). More...

Online safety guide for women and young girls
A new digital toolkit designed to educate and empower young women and girls to stay safe online is now live, Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor announced today (04 April 2020). More...

NSW justice system overhaul a 'clear casualty' of COVID-19
The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 sparks fears that domestic violence victims may slip through the cracks (01 April 2020). More...

Practice and courts

OAIC: COVID-19 Privacy Guidance
The OAIC has released privacy guidance for agencies and private sector employers to help keep workplaces safe and handle personal information appropriately as part of the COVID-19 response. This includes answers to frequently asked questions. We've also issued detailed advice to help regulated entities assess the privacy risks involved in changed working environments (08 April 2020). More...

OAIC: COVID-19 response from Australian privacy regulators
As entities move fast to find solutions to public health and economic problems, Privacy Commissioners and Ombudsmen reiterate the value of conducting short-form Privacy Impact Assessments to help ensure personal information is handled in a way that is necessary, reasonable and proportionate (27 March 2020).


COVID - 19: Information for Attending Court – April 2020
The New South Wales Bar Association's consolidated guide to COVID-19-related court arrangements has again been updated in terms of recent developments and includes:
Amendment No 93 to the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules, which takes effect today and includes changes regarding deeming of judgments as entered in certain circumstances and the assignment of certain matters commenced under the Public Works and Procurement Act 1912 to the Commercial List in the Equity Division of the Supreme Court
Amendment No 433 to the Supreme Court Rules which takes effect today and includes changes regarding filing of bail applications and the new email address for applications to the Supreme Court under the Service and Execution of Process Act 1982 (Cth)
Update to the Profession from the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court
Local Court of NSW – Reissued and updated Chief Magistrate's Memorandum (No.4) EAGP COVID-19 and Chief Magistrate's Memorandum (No.9) - Updated and Consolidated Listing Adjustments, which extends existing arrangements in relation to defended hearings and consolidates and clarifies those arrangements previously published in separate memoranda.

NCAT: Consumer and Commercial Division matters to be notified via email
Parties in NCAT's Consumer Commercial Division may have noticed that email has been set as the preferred address for communication from the Tribunal. Parties can update edit or update an email address previously provided to NCAT using eServices (30 March 2020). More...

The NSW Government is seeking submissions on potential reforms to allow NSW courts to set aside historical settlement agreements for child abuse. Submissions close on 15 April 2020. More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Australia's children
AIHW: 03 April 2020
This report brings together a range of data on children's wellbeing and their experiences at home, school and in the community. Highlights are presented in Australia's children: in brief. More...

Bilateral Agreement Arrangements Between Services Australia and Other Entities
ANAO: 02 April 2020
The objective of this audit was to examine the effectiveness of bilateral agreement arrangements between Services Australia and other entities. More...

Recommendations on privacy and data protection in the fight against COVID-19
Estelle Massé; Access Now: 31 March 2020
In this paper, the authors provide privacy and data protection recommendations for governments to fight against COVID-19 in a rights-respecting manner. More...


Pell v The Queen [2020] HCA 12
Special leave to appeal granted.
Appeal treated as instituted and heard instanter and allowed.
CRIMINAL LAW – Sexual offences against children – Appeal against conviction by jury on ground that verdict unreasonable or cannot be supported having regard to whole of evidence – Where prosecution case wholly dependent upon acceptance of truthfulness and reliability of complainant's account – Where jury assessed complainant's evidence as credible and reliable – Where witnesses gave unchallenged evidence of specific recollections, practices and routines inconsistent with acceptance of complainant's account ("unchallenged inconsistent evidence") – Where Court of Appeal required to take into account forensic disadvantage experienced by applicant – Whether prosecution negatived reasonable possibility that applicant did not commit offences – Whether Court of Appeal required applicant to establish offending impossible to raise reasonable doubt – Whether unchallenged inconsistent evidence required jury, acting rationally, to have entertained doubt as to applicant's guilt.
CRIMINAL PRACTICE – Appeal – Video evidence – Where evidence of complainant and other witnesses recorded – Where Court of Appeal viewed recorded witness testimony – Whether proper discharge of appellate court's function necessitated review of recorded witness testimony
WORDS AND PHRASES – "beyond reasonable doubt", "compounding improbabilities", "credibility and reliability", "function of the appellate court", "function of the jury", "impossibility", "improbability of events", "invariable practice", "jury's advantage in seeing and hearing the witnesses", "negatived the reasonable possibility", "opportunity witnesses", "realistic opportunity for the offending to have occurred", "religious ritual", "routines and practices", "significant forensic disadvantage", "significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted", "solid obstacles to conviction", "standard and burden of proof", "unchallenged evidence", "uncorroborated", "video-recordings of the witnesses at trial".
Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), ss 45(1), 47(1); Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic), ss 276(1)(a), 378, 379(b)(i). Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth), s 37. Jury Directions Act 2015 (Vic), ss 4A, 39.

Department of Education v Zonnevylle [2020] NSWCATAD 96
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – FOI – access applications -application for restraint order under section 110 – exercise of discretion - held conduct of person making applications justified the making of a restraint order-order made.

Choi v Commissioner of Police, NSW Police Force [2020] NSWCATAD 95
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Freedom of Information – Government Information Public Access – access application – determination without a hearing – role of agency in proceedings and in choosing its witnesses – decision that information not held -whether searches were reasonable – whether disclosure of information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the supply to an agency of confidential information that facilitates the effective exercise of that agency's functions – whether disclosure of information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the effective exercise by an agency of the agency's functions

EGR v Commissioner of Police, NSW Police Force [2020] NSWCATAD 94
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW - government information - judicial and prosecutorial functions - excluded information - conclusive presumption - overriding public interest - personal factors - balancing of public interests

Hotait v Commissioner for Fair Trading, Department of Finance, Services and Innovation [2020] NSWCATOD 36
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - administrative review of decision to refuse the applicant's application for a contractor licence in the category of general building work under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) – applicant a director of an externally-administered company - whether there is no evident risk that future work would not be completed - whether applicant took all reasonable steps to avoid external administration

Mawas v Commissioner of Corrective Services New South Wales [2020] NSWSC 319
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – judicial review – s 69 of the Supreme Court Act 1970 – no leave required to institute – leave to bring proceedings out of time – inflexible application of policy – pre-release leave – exceptional circumstances – reasons for decision – further amended summons dismissed – costs reserved



Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Administrative Arrangements (Administration of Acts—Amendment No 2) Order 2020 (2020-136) — published LW 6 April 2020
Administrative Arrangements (Administrative Changes—Resilience NSW) Order 2020 (2020-137) — published LW 6 April 2020
Liquor Amendment (Waiver of Fees) Regulation 2020 (2020-138) — published LW 8 April 2020
Public Health Amendment (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Regulation 2020 (2020-145) — published LW 9 April 2020
Supreme Court (Amendment No 433) Rule 2020 (2020-139) — published LW 9 April 2020
Uniform Civil Procedure (Amendment No 93) Rule 2020 (2020-140) — published LW 9 April 2020
Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 (2020-123) — published LW 3 April 2020
Evidence (Audio and Audio Visual Links) Amendment (Emergency Measures—COVID-19) Regulation 2020 (2020-125) — published LW 3 April 2020

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.