Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Forthcoming judgments in the High Court of Australia

Tomorrow, at the slightly later time of 12:15pm, the High Court will deliver judgments in three cases.
The first is in Plaintiff M76/2013 v Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship.  This case challenges the detention of the plaintiff, a person to whom Australia owes protection obligations under the Refugee Convention, but who has not been granted a protection visa because of an adverse security assessment by ASIO.  As a result of Australia’s protection obligations the plaintiff cannot be sent back to Sri Lanka, and no other country is willing to resettle her.  The Commonwealth asserts that her detention is authorised on two grounds:  firstly, it is for the purpose of removing her from Australia as soon as it is reasonably practicable to do so; secondly, it is for the purpose of segregating her from the community pending removal.  The Commonwealth relies on the High Court’s earlier decision in Al Kateb.  The plaintiff seeks to distinguish Al Kateb and, if necessary, seeks to re-open and overrule it.
The second judgment to be delivered is in ACCC v TPG Internet Pty Ltd.  In this case TPG was prosecuted for various contraventions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 arising out of advertisements for ADSL2+ access.  The advertisements prominently promoted pricing such as “$29.99pm”, but included in smaller print other statements such as the fact that there was a minimum charge of $509.89, and that the pricing was available only if bundled with a home phone line rental.  At issue, in general terms, is the efficacy of the fine print in defending what would otherwise be a misleading “dominant headline”, as well as the extent to which awareness of the industry practice of bundling and set-up costs to arrive at a minimum price may be assumed for the purposes of assessing whether an advertisement is misleading.

The third judgment is in The Commonwealth of Australia v The Australian Capital Territory.  This is the Commonwealth’s challenge to the validity of the ACT’s same-sex marriage laws.  As this case was only heard last week it is expected that the Court will simply make orders tomorrow, and deliver reasons subsequently.

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