6 April 2005

Light relief: High Court of Australia, Big Bang theory, and litigants in person

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/hca/transcripts/2002/C4/1.html This is the transcript of a real case before the High Court of Australia. I would try and summarise the argument of the applicant in person (something like he's failed to get credit for proving that the Big Bang theory in false and that, in fact, the world doesn't exist) but in doing so I am probably mischaracterising his argument, in particular, the link to his application - in this case, an electoral petition challenging the election in the Australian Capital Territory seat of Fraser. Enjoy! PS "big snaps" to Jacques for the heads-up on this case UPDATE: But wait, there's more... That was the second time the case ended up in the HCA. See the earlier one also: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/hca/transcripts/1996/C102/1.html

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Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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