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Just Cases

Just Cases

Author: Monash Law School

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Every day, law courts make decisions that change the lives of those present in the courtroom. Some decisions change society itself. JUST CASES tells the backstory to some of the biggest court cases you've never heard of.
29 Episodes
Outrage over a federal government decision to put religious chaplains in government schools made headlines at the time for being a fight over the separation of church and state. But the real High Court case was about much more - and it has the potential to upend the way the entire federal government functions. ---------------------------------------- Want to Master your career? Stand out from the pack with a Masters from Monash Law. If you have a law degree already, you could be graduating with a Master of Laws within 12 months. If you don’t have a law degree, there’s also a brand new Masters designed for you too - it’s called the Master of Legal Studies. Both taught at the Faculty of Law, Monash University, Australia. Learn more: Master of Laws - Faculty of Law, Monash University Master of Legal Studies - Faculty of Law, Monash University ---------------------------------------- Court cases: Williams v Commonwealth of Australia [2012] HCA 23 (20 June 2012) Williams v Commonwealth of Australia [2014] HCA 23 (19 June 2014) Episode page: Connect with Just Cases:
1968 seems a lifetime ago. It was a defining year of the 20th century. 1968 is also the year that a Japanese professional boxer was sentenced to death for murder. Remarkably, he remains on death row to this day. The case of Iwao Hakamada has exposed questionable police practices, a forced confession and a bombshell claim from one of the judges who sentenced him. ---------------------------------------- Want to Master your career? Stand out from the pack with a Masters from Monash Law. If you have a law degree already, you could be graduating with a Master of Laws within 12 months. If you don’t have a law degree, there’s also a brand new Masters designed for you too - it’s called the Master of Legal Studies. Applications are now open! Learn more: Master of Laws Master of Legal Studies ---------------------------------------- AUSTRALIAN PODCAST AWARDS Vote for Just Cases for the Listeners' Choice award! Ends 18 November 2020 1. Head here 👉🏼 2. Search for Just Cases 3. Enter details + submit 4. Check your inbox and click the link that’s been emailed to you. This will confirm your vote. Thanks for your support! -------------------------------------------- Connect with Just Cases:
A newly-elected Australian government is concerned about a growing Communist influence in Australia. The scene is set for a major High Court case. ---------------------------------------- Want to Master your career? Stand out from the pack with a Masters from Monash Law. If you have a law degree already, you could be graduating with a Master of Laws within 12 months. If you don’t have a law degree, there’s also a brand new Masters designed for you too - it’s called the Master of Legal Studies. Applications are now open! Learn more: Master of Laws Master of Legal Studies ---------------------------------------- Court case: Australian Communist Party v Commonwealth ("Communist Party case") [1951] HCA 5; (1951) 83 CLR 1 (9 March 1951) View judgment: Episode page: Connect with Just Cases:
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New episodes!


What is the rule of law? What is executive power? How do we hold power to account? Are our legal institutions and protections still relevant these days? 2020 has upended a lot of things we take for granted. Is it time we rethink how our society organises itself? This season we’re bringing you some of the best court cases that have shaped society - and that could provide a way forward for the future.
How does Australian law protect the beliefs and religious practices of witches, conjurers and fortune-tellers? A High Court case from the 1930s could provide the answers. There’s a big debate about religious freedom in Australia after the federal government announced plans to introduce new federal religious discrimination laws. Most of the coverage of the religious freedom debate focuses on protecting the major religions, most notably Christianity. But there’s some religious groups that don’t get any coverage at all. What if you’re a witch or a Wiccan? A Druid or Shaman? How does Australian law protect your beliefs and religious practices? How has the law treated you over the years if you’re a conjurer or a psychic? Today JUST CASES rewinds to a 1930 case which went all the way to the High Court of Australia. Music - Lee Rosevere 'Last Call' - Lee Rosevere 'Introducing the Pre-Roll' Court case - Hansen v Archdall and Smith [1930] HCA 16 44 CLR 265 Episode Connect with Just Cases
“There’s a saying in law that hard cases make bad law,” says Dr Colin Campbell. “Judges will sometimes do what they think is right in a particular case, but in doing that they will muck up the law." Numerous inquiries have uncovered widespread discrimination and exclusion against children at government schools around Australia. While state-run education departments are tasked with the responsibility of fixing this problem, there’s another institution in our society that has a major role to play: our courts. But the leading court case that dictates how the courts play this role - and which judges around Australia are obliged to follow - is seriously flawed. SHOW NOTES Episode page Twitter @JustCasesShow Music: All tracks by Lee Rosevere - 'Introducing the Pre-roll' - '17 - Awkward Silences version b' Storyteller - Dr Colin Campbell, Faculty of Law, Monash University Hosts - Dr Melissa Castan & James Pattison Further reading - Purvis v New South Wales (Department of Education and Training) [2003] HCA 62: - 'Improving Educational Outcomes for Children with Disability in Victoria: Final Report' (June 2018), E Jenkin, C Spivakovsky, S Joseph, M Smith, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University: - Victorian students with disabilities turned away from schools, report finds (ABC News, 29 June 2018): - Campbell, Colin D, "A Hard Case Making Bad Law: Purvis v New South Wales and the Role of the Comparator Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)" [2007] FedLawRw 4; (2007) 35(1) Federal Law Review 111: Photo - by Rubén Rodriguez on Unsplash: Law topics - Discrimination law, High Court, human rights, disability discrimination, equal opportunity.
This is the most-downloaded episode of JUST CASES and one of the most controversial. June 1996. Late at night, two young men cross paths on a Sydney street. When the sun rises the following morning, one of them will be found dead. The events of that evening are murky, but the resulting court case sent shockwaves through the community - and we still feel its effects today. Melissa & James: "While we're working on a brand new episode for you, we want to share one from the JUST CASES back-catalogue. This is one of the first JUST CASES episodes we recorded, and it's one of our favourites. A hot tip: after you've listened, check out the follow-up episode which also features Dr Kate Seear: 'How Can Safe Injecting Rooms Be Legal?':" Check out Kate's awesome ABC podcast, The Outer Sanctum: Music in this episode by Audiobinger: - 'Made Men' - 'You Cant Love Me'
Earlier this year the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced it had shut down a long-running investigation into corruption at Rolls-Royce. What did the UK authorities have to trade in exchange for Rolls-Royce’s money and cooperation? Between 1999 to 2013, the SFO and a joint BBC/The Guardian investigation revealed that Rolls-Royce - which manufactures aircraft engines and defence systems, as well as their famed luxury cars - engaged in systemic criminal activity on a global scale. In 2017, Rolls-Royce came to an agreement with the SFO, in which the company agreed to pay £671 million in return for avoiding prosecution on bribery and corruption charges. This type of agreement - referred to as a deferred prosecution agreement (or DPA) - is gaining popularity. What exactly are DPAs? Do they pull the teeth out of the criminal justice system, which already struggles to convict people for white collar crime?
The name Rolls-Royce is synonymous with luxury. But in recent years, whistleblowers have revealed the prestige brand has been exporting corruption worldwide. How does the criminal justice system respond? (RELEASE DATE: Wednesday 24 July 2019) LEARN MORE MUSIC Lee Rosevere - 'Snakes'
How does the law balance the rights of women to access safe and legal abortions with the right to free speech and protest? For over twenty years anti-abortion protesters have picketed abortion clinics around Australia. To combat this targeted harassment of women seeking safe and legal abortions, state governments have passed ‘safe access zone’ laws which create an exclusion zone around abortion clinics which protestors cannot enter. Anti-abortionists argue these laws limit their free speech. Supporters of safe access zones argue these laws are vital to ensure the safety of women seeking health care. When this law was challenged by anti-abortion protesters who had breached the exclusion zones, the High Court was faced with a major balancing act. Episode Take our ONE-QUESTION SURVEY (You'll go in the draw to WIN a $50 Amazon gift card): Storytellers - Dr Tania Penovic, Faculty of Law, Monash University - Dr Caroline Henckels, Faculty of Law, Monash University Hosts - Dr Melissa Castan & James Pattison Further reading - Explainer: what are abortion clinic safe-access zones and where do they exist in Australia? ( - High Court delivers landmark ruling validating abortion clinic ‘safe access zones’ ( Music in this episode: - Lee Rosevere - ‘Start the Day’ - Lee Rosevere - ‘Waiting For the Moment That Never Comes’ Law topics: Constitutional law, health law, protest, freedom of speech, implied freedom of political communication, bill of rights, human rights
A fight over a new toilet block at a Catholic school in 1962 turns into a major constitutional and ideological war, the effects of which last until today. Australians traditionally sees themselves as pretty secular compared to the rest of the world. But how Australians choose to fund their children’s education paints a very different picture. For every dollar the Federal Government spends per student in a private or independent school, public schools receive only around 75 cents per student. In 2017, Catholic schools received $8.4 billion in government funding, despite also being funded by fee-paying families. The Catholic Church in Australia is estimated to be worth between $20 billion to $30 billion. How can a secular government, in a country which espouses the separation of church and state, be allowed to fund religious schools? And when it comes to school funding, is our government playing favourites with religion? Show notes Storyteller: Dr Luke Beck, Associate Professor, Monash Law School. ( Professor Luke Beck is a leading scholar in the field of separation of religion and government and religious freedom under the Australian Constitution. The principal focus of his research is on developing a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of section 116 of the Australian Constitution in terms of its history and underlying purposes, its relationship and interaction with broader Australian constitutional culture and how it might be best interpreted and applied. Hosts: Dr Melissa Castan & James Pattison Extra material: The DOGS case: Attorney-General (Vic); Ex Rel Black v Commonwealth ("DOGS case") [1981] HCA 2; (1981) 146 CLR 559 (2 February 1981) Music in this episode: Nathaniel Wyvern - ‘Sanctuary of the Sky Gods’ Mid-Air Machine - ‘Breathing Out’ John Bartman - ‘Pepper the Pig’ Image: Josh Applegate (Unsplash)
Issues affecting transgender people are much more prominent in the public consciousness than they’ve ever been. This episode of JUST CASES explores one important legal issue: can children access hormone therapy or surgery in Australia? We speak to the judge who decided this important case and learn what it’s like to make such life-changing decisions. WARNING: This episode contains some difficult subject matter. There’s mentions of suicide, gender-identity issues, family violence and graphic content. If that’s difficult for you please find another episode of Just Cases to listen to. If anything in this episode brings up some difficult feelings for you please contact Lifeline or Beyond Blue, or similar support services in your community. Lifeline 13 11 14 / Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 / Storyteller: The Honourable Nahum Mushin AM, former Judge of the Family Court of Australia. Nahum Mushin AM is a Professor of Law at Monash University. Prior to his appointment to the Monash Law Faculty, he was a Judge of the Family Court of Australia for 21 years and a Presidential Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for 6 years. As a consultant to the ALRC and the VLRC, he contributed to law reform in areas of matrimonial property, evidence and family violence. Professor Mushin AM was the first Monash Law graduate to be appointed as a Judge. Hosts: Dr Melissa Castan & James Pattison Music in this episode: - 'Hot Pink' by Chad Crouch - 'Backwater' by Chad Crouch - 'Cross Stitch' by Chad Crouch
The corruption case against former South African president Jacob Zuma has begun. Zuma’s case lifts the lid on the influence of weapons companies on governments worldwide. “It’s not a story of a corrupt guy, Jacob Zuma,” says Hennie van Vuuren, the director of Open Secrets, a South African organisation that investigates economic crimes and abuses of power. “[Instead] it’s a story of a network of players around the globe - in corporations, arms companies, intelligence agencies - who have been working with accountants and lawyers and others who have facilitated this corruption. As we zoom out we start to see the links spread across the globe.” Music in this episode: 'Alum Drum Solo' by Blue Dot Sessions ‘Melodramatic’ by DJ Ollie J Hennie van Vuuren ( is the author of 'Apartheid, Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit', which shows how a secret global network of banks, governments and big business dodged international sanctions to supply the last Apartheid regime with weapons, and how this legacy of corruption, which resulted in the gutting of democratic institutions and the murders of those who attempted to expose it, still survives to this day. More information Open Secrets: Podcast series: They Killed Dulcie
Episode 11 Trailer

Episode 11 Trailer


The corruption trial of former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, exposes the influence of weapons companies on governments worldwide. (UPCOMING EPISODE) Music: 'Alum Drum Solo' by Blue Dot Sessions
JUST CASES is back for another season. This season we’re looking ahead to some major court cases you need to know about, which will have an impact on our lives in the future. Can you create a valid will using emojis? Is the game over for the big end of town? Can the banks and financial sector finally be hit with some hardcore criminal law? In the age of political fracturing worldwide, how far does your right to protest extend? New episodes landing in your podcast app very soon. Music: 'Boston Landing' by Blue Dot Sessions
It's just before midnight on 10 July 1985. The Port of Auckland, New Zealand. The Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace anti-nuclear protest ship, is sitting at its dock when two massive explosions tear through its hull. A man is killed onboard. What follows is one of the most bizarre and sinister of diplomatic incidents. The hunt for his killers uncovers an international network of spies, and exposes a highly-coordinated attack planned from the highest echelons of world power. Music in this episode: - Lobo Loco 'Fly of the Brants A' - Blue Dot Sessions 'Boston Landing'
A series of factory fires in Sydney in 1916 leads to a full-blown treason trial. The case of the ‘IWW Twelve’ sees a dozen local members of a radical worldwide movement caught in a perfect political storm. Episode notes Storyteller: Dr Stephen Gray, Monash Law School Hosts: Dr Melissa Castan & James Pattison Topics for law nerds: Criminal law, jury trials, juries, police corruption, royal commissions, police powers, separation of powers. Further reading: - ‘Death Cults, Murdering a Police Officer, and the First World War' by Dr Stephen Gray (Alternative Law Journal) - 'Enemy Within? The Wobblies' by Nerida Campbell (Sydney Living Museums) - 'The Sydney Twelve — treason, conspiracy and conscription in Australia 1916' by Dr Barry York (Museum of Australian Democracy Blog) All music in this episode by Podington Bear. Track listing: - 'Elephants on Parade' - 'Senseless' - 'Kaleidoscope'
Episode 8: Death at Sea

Episode 8: Death at Sea


It’s the night of 2 August 1926. Five nautical miles off the coast of Lesbos. A French ship, the SS Lotus, is cruising towards its destination of Constantinople. The ship’s first officer is keeping watch, but he doesn’t know that there’s a Turkish ship dead ahead. What lies ahead is not only a naval disaster, but a diplomatic dispute that throws a massive colonial power on a collision course with a young nation on the rise. MUSIC: - ‘This tuning is so dramatic’ by Monplaisir - ‘35’C’ by King Imagine
In 1886 a sensational banking scandal hit the headlines in Great Britain. It involved the world's richest man, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, and it led to an absurd decision. More than a century later, the current Banking Royal Commission in Australia continues to expose stories of banks behaving badly. But it remains rare for the people at the helm of banks and other major corporations - the company directors - to be held legally responsible for what goes on at their company. When things go wrong at a company who should cop the blame? And how far has the law come since the case of the Marquess of Bute and the Cardiff Savings Bank? MUSIC IN THIS EPISODE - 'Swoon' by Inaequalis - '35 'C' by King Imagine - '2 AM' by Kenney Floreat
If you engage in consensual sadomasochistic sex could you actually be found guilty of assault? The case of R v Brown is one of the most hotly debated decisions in legal history. WARNING: this episode contains descriptions of acts of a sexual nature, a violent nature, and a mention of suicide. Listener discretion is advised.
Comments (1)


Rolls-Royce the aviation company, and Rolls-Royce the car company are completely separate companies, and have been for decades. You might want to change the blurb.

Feb 9th
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