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Geoffrey Nettle an excellent appointment to the High Court

By all acGeoffrey Nettlecounts, the Abbott Government’s appointment of Geoffrey Nettle QC as the next High Court judge is a safe and sound choice. According to Attorney-General George Brandis:

I can tell you that, in consulting widely in relation to this appointment, Justice Nettle’s name came up time and time again as a particularly eminent candidate for appointment to the High Court.

Justice Nettle has a reputation for being a strong believer in precedent. I believe that this is a good thing. Activist judges tend to make decisions which push certain political agendas from the bench. In contrast, Justice Nettle wants to apply the law rather than make it.

Labor’s legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus has welcomed the appointment:

Justice Nettle has been prominent in the Victorian legal community for decades, appearing in many landmark cases as counsel

His appointment to the High Court of Australia will enable him to build on the service has given to the people of Victoria, to now serve the whole of our nation.

Nice to see some rare bipartisanship.

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The perils of social media for twits

FarleyThe laws of defamation apply to social media as much as they apply anywhere else:

A FORMER high school student has been ordered to pay $105,000 to a teacher for writing defamatory remarks about her on social media in what is believed to be Australia’s first Twitter defamation case to go to trial.

Former Orange High School student Andrew Farley, 20, made “false allegations” about music teacher Christine Mickle on Twitter and Facebook in 2012, a year after he had left school.

Mr Farley, who had never been taught by Ms Mickle, seemed to bear a grudge against the 58-year-old based on a belief that she had something to do with his father, also a teacher, leaving the school, District Court Judge Michael Elkaim said in his ruling.

“There is absolutely no evidence to substantiate that belief,” Judge Elkaim said. “The effect of the publication on the plaintiff was devastating.’’

Anyone who frequents Twitter (or other social media) on a regular basis would know that false and defamatory assertions are often made about people. In some ways it’s a surprise that it’s taken this long for such a case to result in an award of damages in Australia.

Another twitter defamation case that may well go to trial is that of Liberal pollsters Mark Textor and Lyndon Crosby against former Labor MP Mike Kelly for a tweet Kelly published about push polling. The result will be interesting to see.

When people go on social media to rant, they would be well advised to be careful that they do not open themselves to liability for defamation. A right to rant is not the same as a right to defame.

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Paul de Jersey appointed Governor

 

 

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Today’s big news is that Chief Justice Paul de Jersey has been anointed the 26th Governor of Queensland – an excellent appointment. The Queensland Law Society has graciously welcomed the appointment.

A few years ago, I once instructed Counsel (a barrister) before the Chief Justice. Back then  I was a young and inexperienced guy just trying to find his feet in the legal profession. The Chief Justice commented to Counsel that I was very well dressed. That I think was his way of being nice to a young fellow. It certainly made my day. To me, that incident shows that he is a magnanimous person. 

Unlike some appointments to such positions, the people of Queensland can be assured that  Paul de Jersey will be no political activist.

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Can you trust family members?

A written agreement could even save your family

A written agreement could even save your family

My last blog post discussed the massive advantages of having an agreement in writing – a written agreement helps avoid disputes and makes it more likely that any dispute will be resolved in your favour.

However, we often like to believe that agreements with family do not need to be written agreements. After-all, members of families are supposed to be nice to each other, and always act honestly towards each other. Blood is thicker than water, right?
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Government regulation of media an enemy of free speech

Why the proposed media regulation in Australia was a terrible idea:

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Why you should exercise your right to silence

When I act for clients suspected of having committed criminal offences, I always advise them to say nothing to the police until and unless they have cleared what they want to say with me first. This video explains why you have everything to lose and nothing to gain by talking to police.

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Response to Adam Creighton’s anti-lawyer rant

While I took a break from blogging, Adam Creighton had a column in The Australian which blamed lawyers for the high levels of regulation in Australia. This is my belated response.

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Thanks for reading

This is the last post of the year. I am heading off for a Christmas break. Should be back around mid-January next year,

In the meantime, here’s an interesting piece about how to conduct a successful family law mediation.

Merry Christmas!

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The first post

AndJusticeForAll1

Hi!

This blog is intended to comment primarily on legal matters for the benefit/ enjoyment of lawyers and clients alike.

Having been a solicitor for a number of years and having acquired experience and knowledge in many areas of law, I feel I can confidently comment on issues that arise from time to time in the law, the legal profession and the lawyer-client relationship. I may however from time to time comment on other issues.

I shall try to post with some regularity, but there may be times I am too busy to do so.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it.

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