Spotcheck results

Three weeks ago, I posted my ‘objective test’ for the utility (to me) of the three new Charter books. (‘Objective’, in the sense of being free of my apparent bias towards one of the three: Evans & Evans, Australian Bills of Rights, LexisNexis.) My optimism that I’d receive all three ‘after Easter’ was a bit misplaced. The first book to arrive – a week after I ordered it – was only published during that week (Pound & Evans, An Annotated Guide to the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, Thomson) and the last book to turn up in my mail box (mid-last week) has been published for months (Faris & Bagaric, Human Rights Charters in Australia, Sandstone.) One thing I have learnt is that the LIV bookshop doesn’t always keep to its ‘delivered within five days’ promise. (They did tell me that Faris & Bagaric was sold out when I ordered, though it took them two weeks to do that and there was no explanation of the delay on LexisNexis’s book.) Anyway…

My perspective for my spotcheck was me – with my own quirky interests – flicking through each book to see how they deal with some pet issues of mine. Here are the results:

(Counts are of full analyses, with mentions/brief analyses in brackets)

So, if I was browsing through the three books for the one that most matched my quirky interests, I’d choose Price and Evans. If I was especially interested in Part 2 (the human rights), I’d also choose Price and Evans. If I was especially interested in the rest of the Charter (the operational provisions), I’d choose Evans and Evans. I wouldn’t go for Faris & Bargaric, at least as a first choice (and, indeed, that matches the brief impression I formed when I leafed through it a month or so ago at the LIV bookshop.)

Some obvious lessons for me from this process:

  • Faris & Bagaric (and, to a lesser extent, Price & Evans) focus on Part 2, whereas Evans & Evans almost completely ignore it, focussing on Parts 1 and 3. This is a big contrast from the best comparative books out there: Volume 2 of Hogg’s Constitutional Law of Canada; and Butler & Butler’s The New Zealand BIll of Rights Act,  which give comprehensive coverage to both aspects of their respective rights laws.
  • None of the books really suits a Charter geek like me, who really wants to see all the details fully explored. (The best of the books barely gives a full analysis to a quarter of the issues that interested me.)
  • My ‘objective’ test is a bit of a failure, as its meaning largely turns on a very subjective determination of when an analysis is full or not. Oh well, I tried (and anyone with an interest or an ax to grind can check for themselves.)
  • I really shouldn’t promise to do posts! This post was a lot of work (and getting that table into my post wasn’t easy either.)
Anyway, ignoring that last point, I’ll post full reviews of each book soon… hopefully.

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