Spot-checking the new Charter books

While the flow of cases since the Charter has been fully operational has been a disappointment (in several ways), Victoria is now the beneficiary of three books on the statute, by a total of three academics, three barristers and three Evanses (who somehow acquired the same surname otherwise than by marrying eachother.) I ordered all three last week and will presumably receive them sometime after Easter.

But  reviewing them is a problem, because I have a clearly apparent bias towards the book by Carolyn Evans and Simon Evans, who are not only fellow academics but also my colleagues at Melbourne Law School. Indeed, Simon is my boss. Also, I read a draft of one of the chapers (on parliamentary process) and will presumably be in the acknowledgments (or maybe I’ll be biased a diferent way!) I’ll do my best to be objective when the time comes, but here’s my solution:

When I need to choose between competing law books at a bookshop, I typically ‘spot check’, by looking to see how each handles an issue I know about. So, here are two lists of spot-checking issues I’ll use to assess all three books: one for rights; and one for operative provisions. They represent my own concerns, prejudice and needs; some are obvious points that I’d expect all three books to satisfy, while others are more obscure.

Rights spot-checks:

  1. Tracing the origins of Charter s. 7(2), notably to South Africa.
  2. The significance of positive rights, like Charter s.8(3) and Charter s. 17.
  3. The significance of Charter s.10(c)‘s inclusion of ‘treatment’.
  4. Being sensible about Charter s.12‘s right of freedom of movement ‘within’ Victoria.
  5. A precise account of the Supreme Court of Canada’s (first) tobacco advertising case, covering the actual bases for the decision, rather than just portraying it as an example of the evils of rights for corporations.
  6. The relevance of ECtHR jurisprudence on Article 1 of Protocol 1 to Charter s. 20
  7. The wider significance (i.e. beyond criminal process) of the rights to liberty and security in Charter s. 21(1).
  8. The ‘autonomous’ meaning of ‘charge’ in Charter s. 25.
  9. The significance (or otherwise) of Victoria’s glosses on the right to confrontation in Charter s. 25(g).
  10. The link (or otherwise) between Charter s. 27 and s. 114 of the Sentencing Act 1991.

Operational provision spot-checks:

  1.  Comprehensive analysis of what is and isn’t an ‘administrative function’ under Charter s. 4(1)(j).
  2. The mystery of Charter s. 6(2)(b).
  3. The relationship (or otherwise) between the ‘exceptional circumstances’ requirement for an override and Charter s. 7(2).
  4. Comparison of the scope (i.e. what legislative instruments are covered?) of Charter s. 32 and the ACT equivalent.
  5. Appropriate emphasis on Charter s. 38(2).
  6. Useful and accurate examples of remedies allowed (or not) under Charter s. 39(1).
  7. Analysis of R v McNeill (No 1) [2007] NFSC 2‘s applicability under Charter s. 39.
  8. Comprehensive analysis of Charter’s application in federal proceedings.
  9. Correcting the EMs error re: Charter s. 49(2).
  10. Analysis of the meaning of ‘proceeding’, ‘commenced’ and ‘affect’ in Charter s. 49(2)
  11. Bongiorno bonus: The consequences of non-compliance with Charter s. 35.

We’ll see how they do!

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