The 2012 Law Term in the High Court got off to a slow and tedious start, with some pretty uninteresting cases for the average mum and dad. Predictably it began with Gummow J asking senior counsel, in a case involving cancellation of the registration of a union, where the registration provisions were to be found in the legislation and how the registration system worked. Equally predictably, senior counsel stumbled over the answer. We will learn….one day.
Anyway, things picked up towards the end of the week with a late afternoon-evening application by Australia’s richest woman, in effect, for an extension of a suppression regime preventing the disclosure of the details of her internecine family dispute pending an application for special leave to the High Court. The transcript and judgment can be found here: Rinehart v Welker  HCATrans 7. And today sees the appeal in Harbour Radio Pty Ltd v Trad that I blogged about last week.
Next week looks a little more interesting.
First up on Tuesday, 7 February 2012 is an appeal from the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria in Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd v The Queen. This is another case arising out of the prosecution of an entity, held to be an “employer”, for breach of occupational health and safety standards. The grounds of appeal are narrow and technical, but more broadly the case may require an analysis of the extent to which a company can discharge its obligation to do what was reasonably practicable to provide and maintain a safe work site by relying on the expertise of its independent contractors (in this case, a haulage company which transported crates of chickens, and a labour-hire company that provided chicken catchers). More details are available here.
Then on Wednesday, 8 February 2011 there are several migration cases listed for hearing: Plaintiffs S10/2011, S49/2011 and S51/2011 and Kaur. Common to each of the cases is the question of whether or not (and if so, to what extent) the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is required to afford procedural fairness in inviting comment on internal DIAC advice to the Minister where applications have been made to the Minister to exercise certain non-compellable powers, either to allow a person refused a protection visa to make a further application (under s48B), to substitute a more favourable decision than a decision made by either the Migration Review Tribunal (under s351) or the Refugee Review Tribunal (under section 417). More importantly, the cases will test the boundaries of the High Court’s decision in Plaintiff M61/2010E which dealt a fatal blow to the government’s processing scheme for offshore asylum seekers. More details in relation to these cases are available here.