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LIV launches online Charter Case Audit

Briefs

Cite as: April 2015 89 (4) LIJ, p.18

The LIV has launched an online searchable database of Victorian decisions relating to the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006.

The Charter Case Audit contains information on court and tribunal decisions involving the Charter that have been reported or are otherwise available to the public from 26 September 2006 to 31 December 2014.

The database is searchable across 22 areas of law, by Charter rights and other Charter sections raised, date and by court or tribunal. It can also be searched according to a ranking system, under which cases can be filtered according to how important the Charter was to the final decision.

LIV president Katie Miller said that as a searchable database, the Charter Case Audit is a useful legal research tool for lawyers, government, academics, students and advocacy groups engaging with the Charter.

“We hope that the Charter Case Audit will assist lawyers to use the Charter in legal argument and advocacy, for example, during negotiations with public authorities or when approaching questions of statutory interpretation where human rights might be engaged,” Ms Miller said.

The Charter Case Audit would also be important in the upcoming review of the Charter, which will be completed by 1 October 2015.

“The LIV will be analysing trends arising in the updated audit as part of its submission to the review,” Ms Miller said.

Consistent with the findings of the LIV Charter Case Audit published in December 2012, the latest update continues to show that the Charter has had an important but measured effect on litigation and the roles and functioning of courts and tribunals. There has been a decline in the average number of Charter cases every year since January 2013.

The 2014 Charter Case Audit shows:

  • Numbers of Charter cases have averaged 24 per year over 2013-2014 compared to 47 per year from 2006-2012.
  • Rights in the Charter most relied on: in 2013-2014 right to a fair hearing cited most (27 per cent) compared to privacy and reputation in 2006-2012 (22 per cent).
  • Areas of law in which the Charter has been raised: continuing trend of 77 per cent of decisions in civil or administrative matters and 23 per cent in criminal matters.
  • The Charter Case Audit provides information on the underlying cause of action in each case, the Charter arguments raised and who raised them, whether the Charter argument was upheld and a summary of the final decision. It provides links to the full case and where available, case notes by the Human Rights Law Centre and intervention submissions by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

    Access the Charter Case Audit, which was prepared with help from Ashurst.

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