In the media

State of emergency for Coronavirus extended to save lives
Police have strong powers to enforce these directions and can issue on the spot fines, including up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses. Under the State of Emergency people who don't comply could also be taken to court and receive a fine of up to $20,000 (12 April 2020). More...

The full judgement summary from George Pell's successful High Court of Australia appeal
Cardinal George Pell has won his appeal against his child sexual abuse convictions. The High Court granted special leave to appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria and unanimously allowed the appeal (07 April 2020). More...

Parliamentary scrutiny of Federal Government's COVID-19 response vital for democracy
The Human Rights Law Centre welcomed the Senate's vote to establish a cross-party Senate Select Committee to provide democratic oversight and scrutiny of the Morrison Government's response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (08 April 2020). More...

Greater transparency needed around Federal Government's new COVID 19 phone app
Human rights and privacy experts have called on Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to explain privacy and surveillance issues arising from the Federal Government's recently launched Coronavirus Australia app (08 April 2020). More...

PS staff volunteer for virus response
Around 2,000 Australian Public Service (APS) staff have volunteered to be redeployed during the COVID-19 pandemic response. APS Commissioner, Peter Woolcott said that in the short term, the key priority was increasing capacity in areas critical to the delivery of services during the pandemic, specifically the Department of Health and Services Australia (06 April 2020). More...

New PS privacy guide for pandemic
Updated privacy guidelines for Departments and Agencies during the COVID-19 health crisis have been released by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) (06 April 2020). More...

Services Australia passes partner audit
An audit of the effectiveness of agreement arrangements between Services Australia and other entities in supporting the delivery of services and payments has found that the systems in place are largely effective (06 April 2020). More...

Online safety guide for women and young girls
A new digital toolkit designed to educate and empower young women and girls to stay safe online is now live, Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor announced (04 April 2020). More...

Audit judges DPP efficiency
An audit of the case management practices of the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has found its brief assessment efficiency in decline and its costs escalating (02 April 2020). More...

OAIC partners with Singapore
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has announced a new partnership with Singapore's Data Protection Commission as it seeks to strengthen links with international regulators (02 April 2020). More...

In practice and courts

CDPP update regarding COVID-19
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Ms Sarah McNaughton SC has this morning released an update to key stakeholders regarding COVID-19 and progression and early resolution of criminal cases. Read the Commonwealth DPP's update here (03 April 2020).

Practice notes
Joint Practice Direction - Special measures in response to COVID-19
Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia, 2 of 2020 (31 March 2020).

OAIC: COVID-19 privacy guidance
The OAIC has released privacy guidance for agencies and private sector employers to help keep workplaces safe and handle personal information appropriately as part of the COVID-19 response. This includes answers to frequently asked questions. We've also issued detailed advice to help regulated entities assess the privacy risks involved in changed working environments (08 April 2020). More...

OAIC: COVID-19 response from Australian privacy regulators
As entities move fast to find solutions to public health and economic problems, Privacy Commissioners and Ombudsmen reiterate the value of conducting short-form Privacy Impact Assessments to help ensure personal information is handled in a way that is necessary, reasonable and proportionate (27 March 2020).

AAT Bulletin
The AAT Bulletin is a weekly publication containing a list of recent AAT decisions and information relating to appeals against AAT decisions
Issue No. 12/2020, 6 April 2020. More...

ANAO performance audits in progress
Due to table: June, 2020; Open for contribution
Administration of financial disclosure requirements under the Commonwealth Electoral Act
Due to table: June, 2020 Open for contribution
Management of the Australian Government's Register of Lobbyists — follow-up

Australian Bushfires disaster emergency declaration — Understanding your privacy obligations
The Attorney-General has made the Privacy (Australian Bushfires Disaster) Emergency Declaration (No. 1) 2020 (the emergency declaration) under Part VIA of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). The emergency declaration was made in response to bushfires in Australia resulting in death, injury and property damage occurring from August 2019 into 2020.The emergency declaration expires on 20 January 2021.

Current Senate inquiries
Select Committee on COVID-19.

Environment and Communications References committee
Press Freedom
On 16 March 2020, the Committee presented a progress report recommending that the Senate grant an extension of time to report until 20 May 2020.

Legal and Constitutional Affairs References committee
Nationhood, national identity and democracy
On 23 March 2020 the committee's reporting date was extended to 9 September 2020.

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation committee
Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bill 2019 [Provisions] and Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019 [Provisions]
Report by 20 November 2020.


OIC Qld: Looking past the pandemic
For applications impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to remember that, when the crisis is over, current applicants will be able to make fresh applications This page has information and updated FAQs about COVID-19 and decision making. For more information contact the Enquiries Service on 07 3234 7373 (option 1) or (06 April 2020).

CCC: Public records: Advice for all employees of a public authority
This short guide explains the requirements and benefits of effective recordkeeping (01 April 2020)
Public records: Advice for all employees of a public authority

Supreme Court practice directions
Use of technology during COVID-19 response
Supreme Court Trial Division - This announcement is not intended to supersede the specific protocols which have been announced for civil applications and for criminal list reviews, but it will be apparent that this assumption underlies those protocols.3.Court users must as a matter of urgency familiarize themselves with the user guides issued in relation to:
Chorus Call for telephone conferences here.
Cisco Webex Teams for video conferences here (01 April 2020).
Maximum hourly rate to be charged by court appointed costs assessors
Supreme Court of Queensland, 8 of 2020 - Pursuant to r 743Oand effective for all applications pursuant to Rules 713 and 743F(3)filed from 6 April2020 onwards, the maximum hourly rate chargeable by a costs assessor appointed by the Registrar will be the rate provided in item 9, schedule 1 Scale of Costs-Supreme and District Court, Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (01 April 2020).

QCAT COVID-19 Update - Summary of QCAT Practice Directions 2, 3 and 4 commencing, 30 March 2020
Three new practice directions have been issued to set out procedures across the guardianship, urgent minor civil dispute (MCD) and other QCAT jurisdictions to minimise the spread of COVID-19 virus. More...

PD 3 of 2020 - Court Arrangements (COVID-19) PD 4 of 2020 - Court Arrangements (COVID-19) Children's
Please find below:
PD 3 of 2020 - Court Arrangements (COVID-19); and
PD 4 of 2020 - Court Arrangements (COVID-19) in the Childrens Court when constituted by a Magistrate
Issued by the Chief Magistrate

Supreme Court - Protocol for applications
Please find attached the new protocol for applications to the Supreme Court. This protocol applies from 30 March 2020 until further notice.

Department of the Premier and Cabinet Consultation: Annual report 2018-19
Feedback survey open until 26 June 2020 - help us improve our annual reports so readers can use them more effectively. More...

Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council Inquiries
Penalties for assaults of public officers
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Honourable Yvette D'Ath MP, referred Terms of Reference to the Council in early December 2019 asking for its advice on penalties for assaults on police and other frontline emergency service workers, corrective service officers and other public officers. The Council must report back to the Attorney-General by 30 June 2020.

Requests for comment: Queensland Law Reform Commission: Consent and mistake of fact review
Terms of Reference here. The Commission is to provide a report on the outcomes of the review to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice by 17 April 2020.

Published - articles, papers, reports

Australia's children
AIHW: 03 April 2020
This report brings together a range of data on children's wellbeing and their experiences at home, school and in the community. Highlights are presented in Australia's children: in brief. More...

Bilateral agreement arrangements between services Australia and other entities
ANAO: 02 April 2020
The objective of this audit was to examine the effectiveness of bilateral agreement arrangements between Services Australia and other entities. More...

Recommendations on privacy and data protection in the fight against COVID-19
Estelle Massé; Access Now: 31 March 2020
In this paper, the authors provide privacy and data protection recommendations for governments to fight against COVID-19 in a rights-respecting manner. More...

Australian government guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia): 30 March 2020
This guide has been prepared for every member of the Australian Public Service involved in policy making. It provides the context for regulation and encourages policy makers to think about potential impacts early in the policy process. More...

Case Management by the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
ANAO: 30 March 2020
The audit objective was to examine the efficiency of the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions' (CDPP's) case management. More...

ANAO Performance Audits
Due to table: June, 2020 Open for contribution Administration of financial disclosure requirements under the Commonwealth Electoral Act
Due to table: June, 2020 Open for contribution Management of the Australian Government's Register of Lobbyists — follow-up


Pell v The Queen [2020] HCA 12
Special leave to appeal granted.
Appeal treated as instituted and heard instanter and allowed.
Criminal law – Sexual offences against children – Appeal against conviction by jury on ground that verdict unreasonable or cannot be supported having regard to whole of evidence – Where prosecution case wholly dependent upon acceptance of truthfulness and reliability of complainant's account – Where jury assessed complainant's evidence as credible and reliable – Where witnesses gave unchallenged evidence of specific recollections, practices and routines inconsistent with acceptance of complainant's account ("unchallenged inconsistent evidence") – Where Court of Appeal required to take into account forensic disadvantage experienced by applicant – Whether prosecution negatived reasonable possibility that applicant did not commit offences – Whether Court of Appeal required applicant to establish offending impossible to raise reasonable doubt – Whether unchallenged inconsistent evidence required jury, acting rationally, to have entertained doubt as to applicant's guilt.
Criminal practice – Appeal – Video evidence – Where evidence of complainant and other witnesses recorded – Where Court of Appeal viewed recorded witness testimony – Whether proper discharge of appellate court's function necessitated review of recorded witness testimony.
Words and phrases – "beyond reasonable doubt", "compounding improbabilities", "credibility and reliability", "function of the appellate court", "function of the jury", "impossibility", "improbability of events", "invariable practice", "jury's advantage in seeing and hearing the witnesses", "negatived the reasonable possibility", "opportunity witnesses", "realistic opportunity for the offending to have occurred", "religious ritual", "routines and practices", "significant forensic disadvantage", "significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted", "solid obstacles to conviction", "standard and burden of proof", "unchallenged evidence", "uncorroborated", "video-recordings of the witnesses at trial".
Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), ss 45(1), 47(1); Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic), ss 276(1)(a), 378, 379(b)(i).
Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth), s 37.
Jury Directions Act 2015 (Vic), ss 4A, 39.

QSuper Board v Australian Financial Complaints Authority Limited [2020] FCAFC 55
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – Judicial power of the Commonwealth – Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) given powers to determine superannuation complaints – AFCA determined that superannuation trustee's decision not to refund money to member operated unreasonably or unfairly in its operation in relation to that member – decision alleged to be or to involve an impermissible exercise of judicial power because it was "in effect" a determination of existing rights of the parties in relation to the operation of s 1017B of the Corporations Act – AFCA's determination did not involve any determination of rights under s 1017B – entitlement of non-judicial body to determine rights of parties as a step "along the way" to a non-judicial decision discussed – ability of non-judicial body to determine rights of parties where other aspects of judicial power not present – application dismissed

Department of Education v Zonnevylle [2020] NSWCATAD 96
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – FOI – access applications -application for restraint order under section 110 – exercise of discretion - held conduct of person making applications justified the making of a restraint order-order made.

The Australian Institute for Progress Ltd v The Electoral Commission of Queensland & Ors [2020] QSC 54
COURTS AND JUDGES – COURTS – JURISDICTION AND POWERS – ADVISORY OPINIONS AND HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS – where it is unlawful under the Electoral Act 1992 (Qld) for a prohibited donor to make a "political donation" – where applicant has received donations from prohibited donors – where applicant seeks declarations that a gift made to or for the benefit of a third party (which is not a political party, elected member or candidate in an election) to pursue its activities, including in relation to political communications or concerning an election for the Legislative Assembly, is not a "political donation" – where the application for declarations is not supported by evidence of gifts made to third parties, including to the applicant, by prohibited donors "to enable" it to incur "electoral expenditure" – where the application for declarations is not supported by evidence of the particular activities of the applicant which the gifts from prohibited donors were intended to fund - whether the declarations sought raise hypothetical questions in the absence of findings as to the specific activities of the applicant for which a gift was made – whether the declarations sought lack utility in the absence of findings or agreed facts as to whether a gift to the applicant by a prohibited donor was made or is intended to be made "to enable" it to incur expenditure for the purposes of "a campaign for an election" for the Legislative Assembly – whether appropriate for the Court to determine an issue of statutory interpretation
STATUTES – ACTS OF PARLIAMENT – INTERPRETATION – PARTICULAR WORDS AND PHRASES – where a gift made to or for the benefit of a political party, an elected member or a candidate in an election is a "political donation" under s 274(1)(a) of the Electoral Act 1992 (Qld) – where a gift made to or for the benefit of another entity to enable the entity to incur electoral expenditure, or to reimburse the entity for incurring electoral expenditure, is a "political donation" under s 274(1)(b) – whether s 274(1)(b) is confined to gifts made to enable the entity to incur electoral expenditure on behalf of a political party, elected member or candidate in an election
STATUTES – ACTS OF PARLIAMENT – INTERPRETATION – COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS LEGISLATION – whether interpretation advanced by the respondent is "compatible with human rights under the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld)
Acts Interpretation Act 1954 Qld s 14A; Electoral Act 1992 Qld s 222, s 273, s 274(1), s 275, s 276, s 282A; Human Rights Act 2019 Qld s 8, s 13, s 48; Judiciary Act 1903 Cth s78B

AAA Mechanic & Roadworthy Pty Ltd & Anor v Department of Transport and Main Roads [2020] QCAT 84
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS – QUEENSLAND CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL – application to stay decisions to cancel Approved Examiner and Approved Inspection Station approvals for issue of vehicle safety certificates – where failure to carry out proper inspection – where public interest in integrity of vehicle safety certificate system balanced against interests of applicants
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 22



Subordinate legislation as made - 9 April 2020
No 50 Supreme Court (Admission) Amendment Rule 2020
The Chief Justice may make a practice direction providing for an alternative process for admission to the legal profession.

Subordinate legislation as made - 3 April 2020
No 47 Professional Standards (New South Wales Bar Association Professional Standards Scheme) Notice 2020

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.