Earlier this week I was published in The Spectator with some reflections on the ramifications of the sudden passing of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The intense political battle that is brewing over President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as Ginsburg's replacement demonstrates just how contentious the Supreme Court has … Continue reading On the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the politicisation of the Courts
Earlier this month I was published in The Spectator to mark the 100-year anniversary of the Engineers' decision on 31 August 1920. One of the most consequential High Court decisions in Australian history, the Engineers' case effectively re-wrote the core assumptions that had previously underpinned the interpretation of Commonwealth legislative power under the Constitution. Here … Continue reading Reflections on the Engineers’ decision, 100 years on
The Victorian cases of DPP v Walters and Boulton v The Queen demonstrate how textualist arguments can be used to sustain judgments that clearly do not accord with the legislative intent of Parliament. These cases involved courts engaged in supposedly textualist analysis that resulted in interpretations of statutes that were clearly and wholly inconsistent with … Continue reading Reflections on DPP v Walters and Boutlon v The Queen
In Australia, it is well-established (see eg Paul v Constance) that the creation of a trust requires a sufficiently clear manifestation of intent on the part of the supposed settlor (the 'certainty of intention' requirement). Generally, the requisite intention is said to be evinced by the use of language bearing a sufficiently imperative character. The … Continue reading Precatory words, Love and the law of equity
Designing a political system from the ground up is no doubt a complex and contentious challenge. This challenge is something I have had ample opportunity to contemplate as I have studied Advanced Constitutional Law this semester. What is clear is that there are many different approaches that may be adopted, many different principles that may … Continue reading Why Originalism?
Lawyers, judges, politicians, academics and philosophers often appeal to notions of ‘justice’ in public debate and civic discourse. But what the term ‘justice’ actually means is often loosely defined and uncritically understood. Oxford defines justice in terms of ‘just behaviour or treatment’ and ‘the quality of being fair and reasonable’. Cambridge defines justice as ‘the … Continue reading Why justice matters