Keeping up with the cases

I’ve done a little re-arranging and adding to the links on the right-hand side of this page. The main addition is the new section on ‘recent cases’, which is part of what I use to keep up with the latest human rights case law (aside from reading the newspapers.) All Victorian statutory interpreters arguably ought to be keeping up, thanks to Charter s. 32(2):

32(2) International law and the judgments of domestic, foreign and international courts and tribunals relevant to a human right may be considered in interpreting a statutory provision.

Each of the links is a pre-programmed search of a publicly available database of caselaw that seems to work quite reasonably at picking out the latest cases from key jurisdictions that raise an issue under a human rights statutes. All of them only pick out cases from appeal courts (rather than first-instance and tribunal decisions), with the exception of the Vic Charter cases (where the pickings are so slim.)

Here are the details:

  • Can Charter cases: All Canadian Supreme Court, Federal Court of Canada and provincial Courts of Appeal cases that mention ‘The Charter’ and are archived on Canlii, in reverse chronological order.
  • ECtHR cases: A simple link to the ‘recent European cases’ page of Baillii. (No need to search, as they are all rights cases, of course.) The Court’s own HUDOC gives a fuller list, but it’s interface seems to have been coded some-time during World War II! I find it more useful these days to read ECHRblog.
  • HKBor cases: Two links for FAC (Final Appeal Court) and CA (Court of Appeal) cases from Hong Kong that mention “Bill of rights”, in reverse chronological order. I’m using the official Hong Kong courts site, rather than HKLii, as the latter’s ‘sort by date’ function doesn’t seem to work. The official site (like all official sites, it seems) is slow and clunky. And I’ve had to separate the two top courts because they can’t be search simultaneously without capturing the lower courts too. Nevertheless, I’ve already found this search useful in picking up some interesting criminal process cases from HK, on the non-curial effect of the presumption of innocence and the extent of the  privilege against self-incrimination. HK deserves particular attention in Australia, because of HK’s common law link;  its particular link to the Australian judiciary, via the occasional appearance of Anthony Mason and Michael McHugh as part-time judges on the FAC; and its somewhat Charter-like Bill of Rights Ordinance (complicated by the replication of some provisions in its post-1997 Basic Law.)
  • NZBoRA cases: Two links for the Court of Appeal and the new Supreme Court of New Zealand that mention “Bill of Rights”, in reverse chronological order, from NZLii. Don Mathias’s blog notes many of these cases, but not (typically) the non-criminal ones.
  • SABor cases: A combined search of Saflii of South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court for cases that mention “bill of rights”, in reverse chronological order.
  • UKHRA cases: This search shows every House of Lords, Privy Council and England & Wales Court of Appeal (crim and civ) cases that has ever mentioned the phrase “Human Rights Act” and has made it onto Bailii. Nice for keeping up with the latest but also for scrolling down memory lane to the earliest ever mentions of that statute, before it ever commenced. Maybe Victoria will have over 1000 cases at appellate level on the Charter in a decade or so. Maybe not.
  • UNHR Com cases: A link to recent cases from the official site (with its League-of-Nations-era web interface.)
  • Vic Charter cases: This link has been on the blog for months and it’s how I keep up with all the local excitement here at Chaterblog. The search is of every Austlii case (thus picking up non-Victorian passing mentions) at every level, for the phrase ‘Charter of Human Rights’. (I leave off the ‘and Responsibilities’, because just about everyone does, although it means that I sometimes capture immigration cases on some similarly named UN document.) Note that, unlike South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia, Victoria does not make judgments from its intermediate court – the County Court – publicly available, a reprehensible policy that probably hides a lot of fascinating insights into what is going on in a major court for Charter matters. I’m yet to learn of a single County Court case that has cited the Charter, but I find it hard to believe that there haven’t been any.

I have no link for the ACT, as the ACT cases on Austlii are always hopelessly out-of-date – what is it about the Territories? – and the otherwise useful government website doesn’t allow links that embody searches. (If you want to search for recent cases, just go to here or here and type in “Human Rights Act” into the ‘content’ box.) But there’s no need for me to keep track of ACTHRA cases, as Gabrielle McKinnon seems to find out about them 9/16ths of a second after they’re announced.

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