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Books

Every Issue

Cite as: September 2015 89 (9) LIJ, p.66

This month's books cover the Constitution, criminal procedure, employment law and land valuation.

In_print

Annotated Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia
Quick and Garran, Annotated Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia (revised edn), 2015, LexisNexis, hb $285

The new edition of Quick and Garran’s Annotated Constitution begins with a 60- page table recording every time the High Court has made reference to it in the past. This comes as no surprise, as the book is a basic constitutional law reference point. I searched AustLII for recent references to the book, and found extracts from it being cited only a few weeks ago in High Court proceedings. It is a legal standard that will retain its influence for a long time to come.

The authors were intimately involved in drafting the Constitution, and drew upon their experience to record the drafting history of individual provisions. The book, therefore, gives a useful and authoritative summary of the evolution of every provision in the Constitution.

The Annotated Constitution has been reprinted several times in the last 40 years, with minimal changes. This new edition does not alter the text, but provides some welcome improvements. Apart from the table of High Court citations, it contains an updated index and an up-to-date version of the Constitution. Most importantly, the layout of the book has been modernised. I compared it with an earlier version and found that the new layout is substantially easier to read. The editors have also helpfully included references to the original 1901 edition page numbers.

The book is a treasure trove of information about the Constitution that is of interest to both historians and practising constitutional lawyers. The commentary is detailed and systematic (surprisingly, it remains one of the few provision-by-provision commentaries on the Constitution). Apart from the commentary itself, there is a long and useful account of the historical legal development of the Australian colonies.

Every lawyer or historian researching a difficult constitutional question is likely to consult the Annotated Constitution, at least as a starting point. As Maurice Byers pointed out in his foreword to the 1995 reprint, “[a]ll those whose work requires some acquaintance with the Constitution seldom consult it without gain”. The improvements in the new revised edition make it a worthwhile purchase for every lawyer with a specialist interest in the Australian Constitution.

Daniel Lovric, commonwealth Office of Parliamentary Counsel
Victorian Criminal Procedure: State and Federal Law 2015
Richard Fox, Victorian Criminal Procedure: State and Federal Law 2015, The Federation Press, 2014, pb $90

This is the fourteenth edition of this text. It is a comprehensive overview of the law governing procedures for prosecuting offenders in Victoria for state and commonwealth offences. The text covers the gamut in a sequential fashion commencing with the initiation of prosecutions, to the procedures before and during summary and indictable hearings, including committals, to sentencing, re-hearings and appeals. It skilfully considers these procedures as they apply to both state and federal offences prosecuted in Victoria. As with previous editions, it is comprehensive, readable, accessible and well indexed.

The statute law reflects the position immediately prior to parliament’s rise for the November 2014 election. The changes introduced by the Jury Directions Act 2013 are considered, particularly the role of the trial judge in summing up and giving directions to the jury. The powers of Victorian courts to regulate when courts may be open or closed to the public are considered in the context of the changes introduced by the Open Courts Act 2013. The absence of any requirement for law enforcement agencies to comply with key elements of six of the 10 Information Privacy Principles (see s15 of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014) is perhaps one of the less obvious though equally important recent statutory changes.

The case law takes account of judgments delivered up to 22 December 2014. Reference is made to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Strangio v Magistrates Court of Victoria & Anor [2013] VSC 496 in which the Supreme Court considered the availability of relief by way of judicial review in committal proceedings. Reference is made to the recent unanimous judgment of the five-member bench of the Court of Appeal in Boulton v The Queen [2014] VSCA 342. Boulton contains sentencing guidelines on the use of community correction orders. Reference is also made to the High Court’s judgment in Barbaro v R (2014) 305 ALR 323 which considered the role of the prosecution in the process of sentencing by a court. However, the text is essentially practical and will be of much assistance to all those involved in the criminal prosecution process.

Cahal Fairfield, barrister
Australian Labour and Employment Law
Marilyn Pittard and Richard Naughton, Australian Labour and Employment Law, Lexis Nexis Butterworths, 2015, pb $147

Pittard and Naughton’s stated aim for this book is to “put the field of labour law in historical and appropriate international perspectives”. It does this very well, particularly when looking at collective bargaining. The book clearly sets out the changes that occurred with the 2009 introduction of the Fair Work Act, studies the nature of agreement-making under Work Choices, dedicates a chapter to statutory individual agreements before looking at the place of trade unions in the law and the international perspective on the right to strike. It is very thorough, well researched and gives students of labour law a good grounding in Australia’s current industrial relations regime.

But it is very hard to see how the book will be of sustained interest to the labour law practitioner. Employment law exists in a highly contextualised framework where an almost unending parade of commentators and stakeholders are invited to participate – employees, employers, unions, industry associations, chambers of commerce, state and federal tribunals and courts and human resource professionals to name a few.

The result is that a single employee’s entitlements may be a patchwork across a range of instruments. A good example of this is long service leave. Long service leave is one of the listed minimum entitlements of employment under the Federal National Employment Standards. However, the actual quantum payable to an employee is either set out in an award, a collective agreement, state or territory laws, the contract of employment or a combination of all the above.

When searching Pittard and Naughton’s text for information on long service leave the reader is told that “there are a number of complexities in relation to long service leave” without these complexities being analysed further. Hopefully future volumes of this book will evolve to embrace both the historical and the practical.

Joseph Kelly, principal, Kelly Workplace Lawyers
The Law Affecting Valuation of Land in Australia
Alan Hyam, The Law Affecting Valuation of Land in Australia (5th edn), The Federation Press, 2014, hb $165

This work is the only treatise on the law relating to the valuation of land in Australia, and is now in its fifth edition. It has been updated to take account of developments over the last five years since the fourth edition was published, and has been re-designed to make it even more accessible to the user, with improvements in layout and an expanded index. To repeat what was once said by Brooking JA in the foreword to a new edition of a textbook on building law, it is at once both “comfortably familiar and agreeably new”.

This is undoubtedly a work of recognised excellence and authority, with previous editions having had the honour of being cited in court judgments. It contains incisive and scholarly analysis of the relevant legal principles applicable to the law of land valuation, at the same time paying due regard to land valuation practice.

The work is divided into five parts. Part I addresses the meaning of “land” and “value”; Part II deals with the general principles and methods of valuation; Part III covers the valuation of specific types of property; Part IV discusses compensation on compulsory acquisition; and Part V focuses on valuers and valuation appeals.

All Australian jurisdictions are covered, and more than 1000 cases are cited by way of authority. In short, this work is not only a valuable addition to the library of a property law practitioner in Victoria, but also an indispensable reference tool whenever a question arises in connection with the valuation of land.

David P Lloyd, barrister

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