On 2 April 2014, the High Court handed down the landmark decision of NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie  HCA 11. This decision recognised that not all human beings can be classified by sex as female or male.
The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (NSW) (BDMR Act) allows applications for registration for change of sex when certain conditions are met, including that the person is over 18 years of age, has undergone a sex affirmation procedure and is not married.
The respondent, Norrie was born with male reproductive organs and subsequently underwent a sex affirmation procedure. Norrie did not consider that the surgery resolved her sexual ambiguity. Norrie lodged an application to change her sex to "non-specified". At first the Registrar registered this change, but then registered Norrie's sex as "not stated".
The High Court held that the BDMR Act does not require people who have undergone a sex affirmation procedure to be inaccurately registered as male or female, where they remain of indeterminate sex. The Court's reasoning was based on the BDMR Act itself recognising that there may be ambiguities in sex, thus a non-specific entry of sex can be made.
The decision is expected to have significant ramifications for similarly worded legislation across Australia.
Barry O'Farrell will be resigning from his position of Premier of NSW.
This news follows Mr O'Farrell's evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on 15 April 2014, where Mr O'Farrell denied receiving a $3,000 bottle of 1959 Grange from Nick Di Girolamo, the head of Australian Water Holdings. Australian Water Holdings is a company allegedly linked to the Obeid family.
Mr O'Farrell released a media statement following his evidence at ICAC stating that the "1959 Grange was not received by me or my wife".
At around 10am on 16 April 2014, Counsel Assisting ICAC Geoffrey Watson SC tendered a note from Barry and Rosemary O'Farrell to Nick and Jodie Di Girolamo, thanking the Di Girolamos for their gift of the 1959 Grange.
Shortly afterwards, Mr O'Farrell stated in a press conference that "In no way did I seek to mislead, wilfully or otherwise, the Independent Commission Against Corruption. But this has clearly been a significant memory fail on my part, albeit within weeks of coming to office, but I accept the consequences of my actions. And that is that as soon as I can organise a meeting of the parliamentary Liberal party for next week I will be resigning the position and enabling a new Liberal leader to be elected, someone who will then become the Premier of NSW."
In the media
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to resign over
'massive memory fail' at ICAC
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell says he will resign owing to a "massive memory fail" when giving evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) yesterday (15 April 2014) More...
Port Macquarie company refers tender complaints to
A road construction company has accused some staff at the Port Macquarie Hastings Council of gross misconduct, corruption and financial mismanagement (11 April 2014) More...
Rio Tinto's bid to expand Warkworth open-cut coal
mine near Bulga rejected by Supreme Court
Rio Tinto and the NSW Planning Minister filed a joint appeal last year after the Land and Environment Court overturned the development approval for the mine, with both parties trying to establish errors at law in the court's decision to revoke approval for the expansion. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and ordered the State Government and Rio Tinto to pay legal costs (07 April 2014) More...
Statutory review of the Personal Property Securities
The Government will undertake a review into the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (the Act). The review will consider the operation and effects of the Act and will pay particular attention to the experience of small businesses (04 April 2014) More...
In practice and courts
New Regulation - Justices of the Peace Amendment (Code of Conduct)
The Justices of the Peace Amendment (Code of Conduct) Regulation 2014 No. 175 (NSW) amends the Justices of the Peace Regulation 2009 No. 315 (NSW). The objective of the amending Regulation is to amend the prescribed code of conduct for justices of the peace appointed under the Justices of the Peace Act 2002 No. 27 (NSW) with respect to: the circumstances in which justices of the peace are required to decline to provide their services, and the notifications that justices of the peace are required to make to the Department of Attorney General and Justice. The amending Regulation will commence on 1 May 2014.
Consultation reminder: 21 May 2014
Closing date for comments to the Productivity Commission on its Draft Report - Access to Justice Arrangements and the accompanying overview.
Published – articles, papers, reports
Access to justice arrangements: draft
Author: Productivity Commission
A number of barriers that prevent people from resolving civil disputes in a timely and affordable way should be removed, according to this draft report, which invites submissions from the public (08 April 2014) More...
New South Wales
Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie
 HCA 11
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – Registrar's power to register a "change of sex" under Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (NSW) – Respondent underwent sex affirmation procedure – Respondent applied for registration of change of sex under Act – Whether Registrar has power to register change of sex to "non-specific".
WORDS AND PHRASES – "change of sex". More...
Public Service Association and Professional
Officers' Association Amalgamated Union of New South Wales v
State of New South Wales  NSWCA 116
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION - principles - validity; interpretation to ensure - in order that the thing may have effect rather than be destroyed - Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW), s 32 - contrary intention - construction of validity contrary to legislative intention
WORDS AND PHRASES - "Policies regarding the management of excess public sector employees" - Industrial Relations (Public Sector Conditions of Employment) Regulations 2011 (NSW), s6(1)(f)
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION - regulation - within power of enabling act - inconsistent with obligations of enabling act - Henry VIII clauses - regulatory not prohibitory - regulation removing jurisdiction to deal with matter not a policy on the matter WORDS AND PHRASES - "policy on conditions of employment" - Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW), s 146C
APPEAL - Jurisdiction of Industrial Court to hear appeal - regulation removing jurisdiction of Industrial Court invalid
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - jurisdictional error - mistaken denial of existence of jurisdiction More...
Public Service Association and Professional
Officers' Association Amalgamated Union of New South Wales v
Secretary of the Treasury  NSWCA 112
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - jurisdictional error - precondition for the existence of jurisdiction - whether appellate jurisdiction of the Full Bench of the Industrial Relations Commission depended on its satisfaction that a relevant error affected decision under appeal or upon demonstration of error to the reviewing court - Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW), s 191
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - jurisdictional error - whether Full Bench of the Industrial Relations Commission erred in its redetermination of the matter - whether the Full Bench, having accepted
misconduct, asked itself whether the proposed dismissal was harsh, unreasonable or unjust - Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW), s 89(7)
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - implied duty to give reasons - whether inadequacy of reasons constitutes jurisdictional error - obligation of the Full Bench of the Industrial Relations Commission to give reasons when not sitting as a court - statutory scheme under the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) considered INDUSTRIAL LAW - disciplinary proceedings - whether threatened dismissal harsh, unreasonable or unjust - public sector employment - application to restrain threatened unfair dismissal - review of employer's decision - jurisdiction of Industrial Relations Commission More...
El Boustani v The Minister administering the
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (No 2)  NSWCA
CONSEQUENTIAL ORDERS -correction of orders under slip rule - correction of clerical mistake of incorrect year in order extending time to appeal - correction of an order so as to set aside only one rather than all of lower court's orders not within slip rule - alternative power to vary order - application made within 14 days of entry of order - not appropriate to vary order setting aside lower court's orders that were outside power - appropriate with consent to vary order so as not to set aside lowercourt's order as to costs More...
RailCorp NSW v Registrar of the Workers Compensation
Commission of NSW  NSWCA 108
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - judicial review - grounds of review - whether the determination of the Registrar of Workers Compensation Commission was affected by jurisdictional error - whether Registrar acted outside statutory powers - whether Registrar was functus officio – dismissed More...
Gold and Copper Resources Pty Limited v Hon Chris Hartcher MP, Minister for Resources and Energy, Special Minister (No 2)  NSWLEC 30
JUDICIAL REVIEW - challenge to renewal of exploration prospecting licence - application as required by Mining Act in existence at relevant time - applicant has not proved that Minister's delegate was not satisfied of existence of special circumstances - breach of s112 based on breach of s 111 of EPA Act not legally available as matter of statutory construction - renewal of exploration prospecting licence not obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation- applicants Class 8 summons dismissed More...
Wecker v The Delegate (the decision maker) to the
President (Mr S Kerkyashrian) of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board
 NSWSC 386
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - orders sought under s 69 of the Supreme Court Act 1970 that complaints made under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 be listed for leave to appeal to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal or be referred to a judicial member of the Tribunal - complaints of unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability declined under s 89B of the Anti-Discrimination Act - statutory construction - cause of action - limitation of actions - whether Limitation Act 969 applies to complaints made under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 - whether s 52 of the Limitation Act 1969 limits the discretion to decline complaints of disability discrimination under s 89B of the Anti-Discrimination Act - whether plaintiff had a legitimate expectation that his complaints would be referred to the Tribunal - whether there is a duty requiring complaints declined under s 89B of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 to be referred to the Tribunal More...
New South Wales
Proclamations commencing Acts
Police Amendment (Police Promotions) Act 2014 No 4 (2014-158)
— published LW 4 April 2014
This proclamation appoints 4 April 2014 as the date in which the Police Amendment (Police Promotions) Act 2014 No 4 commences.
Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
District Court Amendment (Probate and Administration) Rule 2014
(2014-159) — published LW 4 April 2014
The objects of this Rule are to apply Part 78 (Probate and Administration) of the Supreme Court Rules 1970 to proceedings before the District Court under Chapter 3 of the Succession Act 2006 and to make provision with respect to proceedings before the District Court under the Testator's Family Maintenance and Guardianship of Infants Act 1916.
Justices of the Peace Amendment (Code of Conduct) Regulation 2014 (2014-175) — published LW 4 April 2014
The objects of this Regulation are: (a) to amend the prescribed code of conduct for justices of the peace appointed under the Justices of the Peace Act 2002 with respect to: (i) the circumstances in which justices of the peace are required to decline to provide their services, and (ii) the circumstances in which justices of the peace may use the title of a justice of the peace after their names, and (iii) the notifications that justices of the peace are required to make to the Department of Attorney General and Justice
Surveillance Devices Regulation 2014 (2014-165) — published LW 4 April 2014
The object of this Regulation is to declare certain laws of other jurisdictions to be corresponding laws under the Surveillance Devices Act 2007. This Regulation comprises or relates to matters arising under legislation that is substantially uniform or complementary with legislation of the Commonwealth or another State or Territory.
Bills assented to
Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2014 No 8 — Assented to 01 April 2014
This Act makes miscellaneous amendments to the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998; consequential and related amendments to the Adoption Act 2000 and the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 and other legislation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.