Together with a few hundred others I struggled through the oppressive heat on Tuesday evening to attend Parkville for the eighth annual Chancellor’s Human Rights Lecture.
As it turns out, I shouldn’t have bothered. Not that Stephen Charles QC didn’t read a thought-provoking paper; he did, although the time constraints and breadth of what he wanted to cover prevented any detailed exploration of the issues he raised. But it turns out that the whole thing has been made available on the Web anyway – here – so you don’t have to go through the discomfort I did to see it.
Most of the oration of the former judge of the Court of Appeal centred on an analysis of the potential application of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in interpreting our own Charter. There was enough material there to launch a dozen posts, and at least a few in the coming weeks will have his lecture as their inspiration.
Stephen Charles referred to a paper prepared by Brian Walters SC and Simon McGregor The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities: A Practitioner’s Guide as a valuable aide to understanding the Victorian Charter. As a potted history of human rights development and a general overview of the Act, the paper makes a worthwhile read. For a more critical overview of the Charter, see Jeremy Gans’ Evidence Law Under Victoria’s Charter (and, of course, his Charterblog).