Civil Liberties Australia

Promoting people's rights and civil liberties. It is non-party political and independent of other organisations.
Civil Liberties Australia

Civil Liberties Australia

Freeing up the law

A defendant will be represented in court by an artificial intelligence in February 2023 for the first time ever. The DoNotPay smartphone app will tell a defendant what to say during a court case challenging a speeding ticket. The apps’ developers have not disclosed the exact date or location of the case in the USA, New Scientist reports. Should the robot lawyer lose the case, the company has promised to cover the cost of the fine for the defendant. DoNotPay is billed on its website as the “world’s first robot lawyer”. Joshua Browder, founder and CEO, said: “The goal of this company is to make the $200 billion legal profession free for consumers.” https://tinyurl.com/4n5peyaz or https://tinyurl.com/5x8mewp4

CLArion January 2023 – Human Rights Act special: model for Oz

With The Voice to dominate 2023, CLA is concentrating on key national justice issues beyond the referendum. Since 2020, we have been lobbying hard behind the scenes on a Human Rights Act for Australia. To achieve the best possible version, we’ve helped produce major changes in the nation’s first HR Act, the one in the ACT, due to start in 2023 and operate fully in 2024. Also this year, CLA will focus on Failure To Disclose (FTD), the legal blight perpetrated mostly by prosecutors and police which makes our courts unfair and leads to miscarriages of justice, with taxpayers having to fund big compensation payouts.

  • NACC and federal HRA create ethical infrastructure for Australia\
  • hat Whitlam left to be done…
  • New consultation focus is on implementation
  • Parliament fails to safeguard human rights
  • Bromley, 38 years in jail, about to get his day in High Court
  • Attorneys-General and SCAG focus is on future law reform again
  • Jails ready to burst: prepare to pay more taxe
  • 87% want a vote on going to war: politicians refus
  • Scotland raises age at which kids can be jailed
  • NZ Hall case bares mistakes – or worse – by lawyers
  • Canada rethinks VAD for the mentally ill

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DPP and police Failure To Disclose (FTD) warps justice

Increasingly, in criminal trials throughout Australia, the failure to disclose (FTD) critical information to the defence appears to be skewing trials towards wrongful conviction outcomes. The problem is not new – the cases of Mallard, Keogh and Eastman over two decades demonstrate that fact – but what was an occasional blight seems to be becoming a plague of considerable proportions. Here’s the story, plus a special report on the Rules of Disclosure by legal academic Dr Bob Moles.

CLArion December 2022 – Flawed justice, and women bear the brunt

Increasingly, more women are in jail in Australia, and Aboriginal women are 21 times more likely to be jailed; most men and women in jail are suffering from mental health problems. The nation has an epidemic of poverty and homelessness, twin scourges which foster more draconian laws, longer jail sentences and so mushrooming prison building. Meanwhile police force numbers expand the more incompetent they are, especially re domestic crimes against women. Australia is in a downwards “justice” spiral: women are bearing the brunt. Radical re-thinking of flawed systems across federal, state and local governments needs to create better justice for the nation.

Explosive letter & speech reopens SNF inquiry call

A former Tasmanian prosecutor, Tony Jacobs, with 30 years experience which includes 30 murder trials, has written an explosive letter – beginning with the famous phrase ‘J’Accuse, quoting Emile Zola in 1898 – to the state’s Law Society claiming that “Mrs (Sue) Neill-Fraser’s conviction for murder should have been overturned because of the mistakes & omissions of a number of Tasmanian Legal Practitioners”. Jacobs’ letter was tabled in the Legislative Council of the Tasmanian Parliament on Tuesday 15 November 2022 by Michael Gaffney MLC. Here’s the tabling speech from a Hansard proof copy, .and you can read the tabled the letter.

CLArion November 2022 – Big win for remedies when rights breached

One jurisdiction has agreed to implement the principle of ‘No Rights Without Remedies’ starting in 2023, as the campaign for a national Human Rights Act switches into higher gear with a briefing to MPs in Parliament House. The federal Budget delivered in small ways for rights and liberties, but there were worrying failures nationally and internationally in terms of Australia’s prison systems, and in how we run trials whee rape is alleged, including serious new questions surrounding judicial directions, the rights of juries and ‘counselling’ in and out of court…raised here for the first time.

NACC: CLA explains how integrity and rights go together

CLA’s submission to the National Anti-Corruption Commission parliamentary inquiry placed the NACC in context – along with a much-needed, federal Human Rights Act to follow – as delivering a better, fairer and more equal ethical infrastructure for Australia. When CLA appeared before the NACC inquiry committee, it was unfortunately more intent on parsing clauses from a legal perspective than discussing the best national philosophy for Australia. (Note: the committee asked for submissions to be kept as short as possible).

What are human rights? Where from? Why?

‘Human rights’ is a simple concept: the rights let you do what you reasonably want to do…without preventing someone else doing what they want to do. But they can get bound up in formal ‘legalese’. Here, CLA explains our understanding of what ‘human rights’ means as applied to Australia, and why we should have a national, or federal, Human Rights Act or bill of rights like NZ, Canada, the UK and the USA.

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