find the latest legal job
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Great Career Opportunity ·
View details
Insurance and Health Lawyer (1-4 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· New position to support Growth ·
View details
Lawyers call for halt on anti people smuggling laws

Lawyers call for halt on anti people smuggling laws

People smuggling laws being "rushed" through the Senate need to subjected to better Parliamentary scrutiny, two legal professional bodies representing Australian lawyers claim.

PEOPLE smuggling laws being "rushed" through the Senate should be subjected to better Parliamentary scrutiny, two legal professional bodies representing Australian lawyers claim. 


The Law Council of Australia and Law Institute of Victoria have both called for greater Parliamentary scrutiny and the removal of retrospective provisions from the Australian Government’s recently proposed anti people smuggling laws. 


Their concerns spring from the introduction and passage of the Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011 through the House of Representatives. The Bill was transmitted to the Senate this week for concurrence but debate was adjourned. 


Law Council of Australia president Alexander Ward said the rush to pass the Bill and the provisions to make the amendments retrospective were contrary to fundamental rule of law principles. 


“Laws should be subject to proper parliamentary scrutiny, and consideration, especially in view of a likely challenge in this volatile area,” Ward said. 


The Government and the Opposition claim that the Bill is necessary to clarify an expression in the existing people smuggling offences in the Migration Act 1958. The expression currently states a defendant commits an offence if the person he or she brings into Australia ‘had or has no lawful right to come to Australia’. They claim that this expression was always intended only to refer to the person not having a visa. 


The meaning of this expression is currently being considered by the Victorian Court of Appeal in a case involving the prosecution of a 20 year old Indonesian fisherman who was on a boat carrying asylum seekers to Australia, the Law Council said in a statement. 


The case was referred to the Court of Appeal to determine whether the expression also refers to the right of a person to seek asylum under Australian and international law, which may mean that the offence may not be established in these circumstances. The Court of Appeal decision is expected shortly. 


The Bill seeks to make the amendments clarifying the expression retrospective to 1999 when the expression was first introduced. This means the clarifying amendments will have retrospective operation in criminal proceedings. 


Acting Law Institute of Victoria President Michael Holcroft said that by rushing through the Bill, the government is undermining legitimate court processes and should have waited for the outcome before making legislative amendments.


“Trials need to be conducted in good faith on the laws that apply at the time of any alleged offence – the right to a fair trial is undermined if laws are changed mid proceedings,” he said. 


Ward said that the Law Council is strongly opposed to retrospective laws which effectively impose criminal liability on individuals and this case is no exception. 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers call for halt on anti people smuggling laws
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Please, Continue (Hamlet), Melbourne Festival
Oct 16 2017
Hamlet suffers slings and arrows of top Victorian barristers
Victorian judges and barristers have performed the unique play Please, Continue (Hamlet) at the Melb...
Julian Assange
Oct 13 2017
When justice fails, according to Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has dismissed the capacity of judicial systems to deal with complex...
Aussie anti-terrorism laws, detention of 10-year-olds
Oct 13 2017
Treatment of kids under Aussie anti-terrorism laws an over-reach: ABA
The Australian Bar Association has urged the government to reconsider proposed reforms to Australian...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...