Charter interventions

The Commission has intervened in this Supreme Court proceeding brought by the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne, against the Melbourne City Council. The proceeding relates to protesters outside of the Fertility Control Clinic, which provides reproductive health services, and the Council’s duties under Division 1 of Part 6 of…
This case raises important issues about police powers and human rights. The Supreme Court decision finds that police acted incompatibly with the human rights to privacy and freedom of movement when they coercively questioned a person during a vehicle stop, when they had no legal authority to do so. The…
This case raised the question of how section 39(1) of the Charter operates. In particular whether the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) had jurisdiction under section 39(1) to consider a person’s claims that their human rights in the Charter had been breached. The Commission intervened to make submissions on…
This was an appeal by the DPP of Justice Lasry's ruling to stay the criminal trial of Mr Chaouk because his trial was "likely to be unfair in the sense that it carries a risk of improper conviction" unless he had a solicitor to instruct counsel on a day-to-day basis…
This case involved three separate appeals against supervision orders made by the County Court under the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009. The Commission received a Charter notice in each appeal after the Court of Appeal identified that there was a question regarding the impact of the Charter…
A judicial review of a Children's Court determination that two children (aged 9 and 11) were not mature enough to be represented on a direct instructions basis. The case raised the proper interpretation of the legal representation provision of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (CYFA) (section 524) compatibly…
 This case was an appeal from a Supreme Court decision Taha v Magistrates' Court (Supreme Court) June 2011, which held that the Magistrates' Court was required to make enquiries about the circumstances of the offender, including any intellectual disability, before making an imprisonment order against an individual for unpaid fines…
In this appeal of a County Court sentencing decision a question was raised as to the interpretation of a transitional provision in the Sentencing Act 1991 compatibly with the human right to liberty in the Charter. The transitional provision concerned the transition between the old sentencing regime which included community…
This case is an appeal against a 2010 VCAT decision that found Christian Youth Camps (CYC) had unlawfully discriminated against a group of same-sex attracted young people by denying them use of a CYC-owned and operated Philip Island Youth Camp. VCAT held that CYC had discriminated against the group in…
The Commission intervened in this application for judicial review of a decision by the Office of Police Integrity (OPI) to refer a complaint of police violence against Mr Bare to Victoria Police for investigation rather than investigating it themselves. Among other things, Mr Bare complained to OPI that he was…
Parents at three Victorian State primary schools challenged the provision of Special Religious Instruction (SRI) at their schools as amounting to direct and ongoing discrimination against their children because their children were segregated from their classmates when SRI took place and not provided alternative instruction during that time. SRI is…
In this case, the High Court considered in detail the operative provisions of the Charter for the first time. The Commission intervened in the case when it was before the Victorian Court of Appeal and continued as a party to the proceedings in the High Court appeal. The Commission's submissions…
This case was a judicial review of a Magistrates' Court decision to sentence Mr Taha to 80 days imprisonment for unpaid traffic and public transport fines of more than $11,000. Mr Taha has an intellectual disability. Under section 160 of the Infringements Act 2006, an offender who receives an infringement…
This case concerned Patrick, a 58-year-old man with a mental illness, who had been living as an involuntary patient in a hospital. He appealed an order by VCAT appointing an unlimited administrator who may sell his home against his wishes on the basis that it infringed his human rights. The…
 Raytheon sought a three-year exemption from provisions in the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 to be able to seek information from their prospective employees and contract workers about their nationality and place of birth, and to refuse to employ them based on this information. This information was sought to comply with…
The Peel Hotel sought an exemption to enable it to refuse or restrict entry to its venue where it believes on reasonable grounds that unrestricted entry would either adversely affect the safety or comfort of those within the venue, or would adversely affect the character of the venue as primarily…
In this case a co-accused sought to have his proceedings severed from that of the other accused because otherwise he would not be tried without unreasonable delay. The Commission intervened to make submissions on the "speedy trial" aspects of the Charter's right to a fair trial. The Commission wanted to…
This case was an application for leave to appeal a VCAT decision to appoint the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) as the guardian of RB, a 28-year-old man with a disability. The application was brought by RB's mother, Mrs Waters, who had applied to VCAT for appointment as RB's…
Under the Confiscation Act 1997 property used in connection with the commission of serious offences under the Act can be confiscated and the proceeds forfeited. In this case, the DPP applied to confiscate and forfeit Mr Ali's property and family home where he lived with his wife and four children.…
Cobaw Community Health Services lodged a representative complaint of discrimination against Christian Youth Camps (CYC) on the basis that CYC had refused to allow Cobaw's suicide prevention support group for same-sex attracted young people to run a two-day program at its Phillip Island youth camp. CYC acknowledged that the reason…
The Commission made submissions in this review of a Community Treatment Order under the Mental Health Act 1986 as to how the Charter applied. The Commission's submissions outline that section 32 of the Charter requires the Act to be interpreted compatibly with human rights and that section 38 places a…
This was an application by a man who is in a homosexual relationship for a grant of adoption in respect of a child who had been in his and his partner's care as a foster child for the past four years. The Adoption Act 1984 does not permit adoption by…
An accused sought to appeal pre-trial decision to allow a taped phone conversation between him and the complainant to be used as evidence against him in his criminal trial. The tape recording is what is referred to as a "pretext conversation": a conversation initiated by the complainant to elicit admissions…
This case was an appeal against a decision by the Secretary of the Department of Justice to refuse Ms Castles' request for access to IVF treatment whilst in a low security prison. Ms Castles had been undergoing IVF before her imprisonment, was nearing the age at which IVF would no…
This case was an appeal against an extended supervision order made under the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005. The Commission submitted that the interpretation obligation in section 32 of the Charter required the discretions conferred by the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005 to be read as not authorising…
Travel Sisters applied for an exemption from provisions in the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 to enable them to conduct women only travel tours. The Tribunal was required to assess the application in light of the Charter. The Commission made submissions opposing the granting of the exemption because the applicant had…
In this matter, the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) applied for an exemption from complying with the Equal Opportunity Act 1995. The purpose of the exemption was to enable the VEC to consider, among other things, information about political party or lobby group membership of potential employees. The Commission made submissions…
This was an appeal by the Director of Public Transport against a VCAT decision to grant XFJ taxi driver accreditation. The Director had refused XFJ taxi driver accreditation because XFJ had killed his wife in 1990. In 1992 XFJ was acquitted of his wife's murder on the grounds of insanity…
Ms Momcilovic was convicted of drug trafficking, based on the fact that she was the occupant of the premises at which the drugs in question were found and that those drugs were of a traffickable quantity. In these circumstances, section 5 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981…
This case involved criminal charges for trafficking and possession of drugs of dependence under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981. A preliminary issue for determination was whether the County Court should exercise its discretion to refer a question to the Supreme Court regarding the interpretation of section 5…
The case was an application for a coercive powers order under the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004, which compels a person to appear before the Chief Examiner to provide evidence. Section 39 of the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004 expressly removes a person's privilege against self-incrimination. The Commission…
This was an appeal against the granting of an extended supervision order under the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005. Section 11 of the Monitoring Act permits the making of an ESO in relation to sex offenders who have completed their sentences where the Supreme or County Court is "satisfied,…
This was an appeal to VCAT against the decision of the Mental Health Review Board. The main issue was whether the failure of the Board to conduct a review of Mr Kracke's community treatment order as required under the Mental Health Act 1986 meant that order was invalid. The Board's…
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