Reserve judgment

The Courts Legislation Amendment (Reserve Judicial Officers) Bill 2012 will abolish the offices of acting judges and acting magistrates and create the offices of reserve judge and reserve magistrate. The bill was introduced to Parliament on Wednesday.The Introductory Print is here and the Explanatory Memorandum here.On my reading of it, these reforms are unlikely to …

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Australian Crime Commission v Stoddart [2011] HCA 47: No spousal privilege at common law

There is no common law privilege against incriminating your spouse.There never has been, it seems. Centuries ago in Britain a wife was neither competent or compellable to give evidence against her husband due to the legal fiction (derived from the Bible) that man and wife were the one flesh. Even by the time of the …

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Drug analogues

Minor differences at microscopic level can produce substances very similar in effect to drugs of dependence, but that aren't specifically listed in any of the schedules of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981. Provisions in state and Commonwealth legislation prohibit these copycats so that their possession and sale is illegal even if a …

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Dickson v The Queen [2010] HCA 30: the direct collision of Commonwealth and State offences

Yesterday the High Court quashed convictions on Victorian conspiracy charges, finding they were directly inconsistent with Commonwealth conspiracy laws.Dickson v The Queen is sure to have some prosecutors scanning charge sheets for offences that ought to have been laid under Commonwealth law. But like all High Court decisions, the impact of Dickson will only become …

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