Criminal justice

  • New sentencing laws in NSW

    6th Dec 2018

    Practical information for criminal lawyers and their clients.

  • UN body recommends urgent action to remedy Australia’s human rights

    10th Nov 2017

    The UN Human Rights Committee has today slammed Australia’s human rights record, recommending the implementation of ‘comprehensive federal legislation’ to guarantee human rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Australia’s human rights record comes under UN scrutiny

    17th Oct 2017

    Australia’s approach to implementing and protecting human rights will be scrutinised by a United Nations (UN) committee this week, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • The use of secret evidence in criminal and civil proceedings

    5th Oct 2017

    Court procedures aim to ensure fairness between parties. In criminal matters, the intention is to ensure that the party with the most to lose, the defendant, is assured a fair trial, to avoid punishing innocent people for crimes they have not committed. This requires setting out the case against an accused clearly enough that they can refute it. In civil matters, these procedures seek to ensure fairness between the parties, including ensuring that both sides have access to relevant evidence. 

  • Thaiday, RE [2017]: A review of the Mental Health Court system

    13th Jul 2017

    Queensland Mental Health Court decides the case of Mrs Thaiday, charged with eight counts of murder.

  • Terror law arms race will not increase safety

    13th Jun 2017

    Introducing ever-more draconian anti-terror legislation will not make Australians safer and may actually increase the risk of another terror incident, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Vic juvenile detention changes create risk of torture and ill treatmen

    27th Jan 2017

    Placing Corrections Victoria staff from adult jails in charge of juvenile inmates could lead to situations similar to those exposed in the Don Dale juvenile detention Royal Commission, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Lawyers condemn plans to formalise arbitrary detention in Australia

    4th Nov 2016

    The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has today published a report recommending that Australia adopt the most draconian counter-terrorism laws in the world, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Martin’s resignation an opportunity to get Commission right: lawyers

    1st Aug 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance welcomes the decision of Brian Martin to stand down as Royal Commissioner into juvenile justice in the Northern Territory.

  • Royal Commission terms of reference a missed opportunity - lawyers

    28th Jul 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance said today that the Turnbull Government had missed a once in a generation opportunity to deal with the inherent racism of the Australian legal system towards Indigenous people.

  • ALA welcomes Royal Commission announcement into children in detention

    26th Jul 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has today offered its strong support for the announcement of a Royal Commission into juvenile detention, following reports of appalling and sickening torture and ill treatment within juvenile detention in the Northern Territory.

  • MEDIA ALERT: Lawyers oppose proposed changes to terror laws

    25th Jul 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) opposes the Turnbull Governments proposed preventative detention for terrorism offenders.

  • High Court terrorism ruling points to need for Constitutional reform

    15th Jun 2016

    The High Court today ruled that a defendant charged with Commonwealth terrorism offences cannot opt for a trial by judge alone in the New South Wales Supreme Court. 

  • A Letter to Joko Widodo

    17th Apr 2015

    An appeal to the Indonesian President to spare the lives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

  • Diplomacy with teeth

    9th Feb 2015

    Is Australia doing enough to save two young Australians on death row in Indonesia? 

  • Suspects deserve presumption of innocence following terror raids

    18th Sep 2014

    Media coverage of the terror raids carried out by Federal Police in Sydney and Brisbane is undermining the presumption of innocence for those individuals questioned or arrested during the proceedings, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • UN condemns inadequate response to police violence

    3rd Jul 2014

    A powerful condemnation of the inadequacy of Victoria’s laws to compensate victims of police violence has been delivered by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

    Hovarth v Australia marks a new opportunity for the Australian and Victorian governments to ensure our laws conform with international human rights obligations, writes Sophie Ellis, solicitor at Flemington and Kensington Legal Centre. 

  • Protecting Australia's innocent

    19th Jun 2014

    Few avenues for redress exist for individuals in Australia who have been wrongfully convicted. It's time to discuss establishing an independent Criminal Case Review Commission, writes Lauren Fitzpatrick, Media and Policy Assistant at the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

  • Release of ACT Human Rights Commission report praised

    16th May 2014

    The ACT Human Rights Commission has released a human rights review of the conditions for women imprisoned at Alexander McConachie Centre in the ACT. The Australian Lawyers Alliance has welcomed the report's release.

  • National security legislation may receive no independent review

    8th May 2014

    The government has proposed the repeal of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. In our submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, we oppose the repeal, citing the need for an independent body to review legislation, especially in the absence of an Australian Bill of Rights.

  • Planned unexplained wealth laws will not hinder crime in Tas - ALA

    15th May 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is concerned about planned unexplained wealth laws, soon to be tabled in Tasmanian parliament, after Attorney-General, Brian Wightman, flagged an upcoming Bill on the issue.

  • ALA says new Qld unexplained wealth laws will not hinder criminals

    2nd May 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance says Queensland’s Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, is mistaken if he thinks introducing unexplained wealth laws will make any difference to criminal activity.

  • ALA applauds criminal appeals review process

    21st Mar 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today commended the South Australian Government for its initiative and vision in bringing about a new review process for criminal convictions with fresh and compelling evidence upon which to base further enquiry.

  • Proposal to extend NSW prison terms could be unconstitutional

    21st Feb 2013

    The New South Wales government’s proposed continuing detention laws for serious sex offences or violent crimes are possibly unconstitutional and are likely to meet a High Court challenge, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Doubt cast over Vic Gov plan to outlaw bikie gangs

    21st Nov 2012

    Australian Lawyers Alliance member John Suta, who acts on behalf of nine members of the Wangaratta-based Tramps Motorcycle Club, today expressed serious doubts as to whether the proposed Victorian government legislation, to outlaw bikie gangs, will be legally enforceable in the state.

  • ALA calls for immediate examination of taser use in NSW

    14th Nov 2012

    The NSW Government should immediately examine the extent of use by police of Taser guns following damming findings given today by Coroner, Mary Jerram, into the death of Brazilian student, Laudisio Curti.

  • WA sex offender website will not make community safer - ALA

    15th Oct 2012

    “The Community Protection Website, released today by the WA Government, will not assist in reducing sex offences or making the community safer in WA,” Australian Lawyers Alliance director, barrister and criminal law spokesman, Greg Barns, said.

  • ALA cautions against $50 million pledge for more CCTV cameras

    8th Oct 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance says that the pledge by Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, today, to spend $50 million for additional CCTV cameras around Australia to monitor people’s movements in response to Jill Meagher’s death, does not take account of privacy concerns and potential misuse of cameras to profile groups and individuals.

  • NT Minister’s decision not to discipline officers a disgrace - ALA

    5th Oct 2012

    A lawyer representing the family of a man who died in a Northern Territory watchhouse, earlier this year, has labelled the Deputy Chief Minister’s announcement today, not to discipline the officers who contributed to his death, as shameful.

  • ALA cautions that death should not lead to the overuse of surveillance

    29th Sep 2012

    “The greater use of surveillance cameras by the Victorian Police and local government, as announced by Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu today, will not necessarily improve the detection of crime and comes with serious policy implications attached,” Australian Lawyers Alliance director and Criminal Barrister, Greg Barns, said.

  • Charitable VIC motorcycle club members are having property confiscated

    26th Sep 2012

    Nine members of the Wangaratta-based Tramps Motorcycle Club have had their firearms, some of which are needed to work jobs and farming properties, confiscated by Victorian Police because of alleged prejudice and false assumption.

  • NSW violent offender proposals fail fairness test - ALA

    24th Sep 2012

    Proposed laws announced by NSW Attorney-General, Greg Smith, today, enabling violent offenders to be kept in prison beyond the term imposed by a court or only released subject to strict limits on their freedom, failed the fairness test, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • ALA renews calls for Royal Commission into child sex abuse

    11th Sep 2012

    The ALA renews its calls for a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in religious institutions, following Anglican Bishop Brian Farran’s support for an open inquiry.

  • Trial by media has no place in upholding justice in Hey Dad case - ALA

    10th Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is today urging restraint on the part of the media and the alleged victims of former Hey Dad star Robert Hughes, following prejudicial comments in the media that could impinge on Mr Hughes right to a fair trial.

  • Failure to report may go straight to the top

    10th Jul 2012

    The allegations of failure to disclose serious sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia may now go right to the top.

  • DPP should be briefed by police: Failure to report child sexual abuse

    6th Jul 2012

    The ALA calls for a brief to be prepared by the police for the DPP in respect of the conduct of all three senior priests involved in the meeting at St Mary’s Cathedral on 3 September 1992, following the radio interview with Father Usher on ABC AM this morning.

  • ALA renews calls for national inquiry into child sex abuse in church

    5th Jul 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance renews its calls for a national inquiry into the abuse of children within the Roman Catholic Church. It is unacceptable for the Church to investigate its own failure to investigate child sexual abuse.

  • Call for Royal Commission into abuse of children in care of church

    4th Jul 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling for a National Royal Commission into abuse of children in the care of the Catholic Church, following an ABC Four Corners program on Monday night that assisted in publicly ventilating the issue.

  • ALA critical at second attempt to erode rights by SA government

    18th Jun 2012

    “The attempt by the South Australian Labour Government to again erode the right to be awarded costs in claims in prosecutions, which fail in summary hearings, shows disregard for the parliamentary process,” Australian Lawyers Alliance South Australian President, Tony Kerin, said.

  • More govt funds needed for drug prevention and treatment

    24th May 2012

    “Today’s Institute of Criminology Report, released by the Justice Minister Jason Clare, linking drug use levels to crime, shows the only way to stop such criminal behaviour is by diverting funds from prison construction to drug prevention and treatment,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President Greg Barns said.

  • ALA calls for National Inquiry into sexual abuse of children

    19th Apr 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today called for a National Inquiry into sexual abuse perpetrated in religious institutions.

  • Harming a pregnant woman less serious than a policeman - ACT law

    5th Apr 2012

    Under proposed ACT law it will be considered far more serious to harm a policeman than a pregnant woman, The Australian Lawyers Alliance is warning.

  • ALA welcomes support on health-based drugs policy

    3rd Apr 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance welcomed the Australia 21 report to be released today by prominent Australians such as, Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, former Health Minister Michael Wooldridge, former AFP Commissioner Mick Palmer and former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery QC, arguing that the 40-year war on drugs has failed and a new approach, that includes decriminalising some substances, should be adopted.

  • ALA calls for National Judicial Inquiry into police weapon use

    19th Mar 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling for a National Judicial Inquiry into the use of Tasers, capsicum spray and other potentially lethal police weapons, following the death of a man in Sydney, yesterday.

  • ALA urges Qld election not to be another law and order auction

    17th Feb 2012

    Australian Lawyers Alliance National President, Greg Barns, today urged all major parties in the forth-coming Queensland state election to steer clear of a law and order auction.