Dr Bruce Chen: Acts, Decisions and Internal Limits: Implications from Recent Australian Bills of Rights Cases

The Australian Institute of Administrative law – VIC Chapter

Invite you to a Presentation by

Dr Bruce Chen

Acts, Decisions and Internal Limits: Implications from Recent Australian Bills of Rights Cases

Under a ‘dialogue model’ of a bill of rights, obligations are imposed on the three branches of government with the collective aim of respecting and protecting human rights.  When such bills of rights were first introduced in Australia in certain state and territory jurisdictions, much of the attention from scholars and litigators was focused on the potential of the interpretive obligation, especially on the judicial branch, to reach human rights compatible interpretations of legislation.  However, as time has passed, it is rather the conduct obligations on the executive branch which have proven the more successful avenue in bills of rights litigation.  That is, the obligations on ‘public authorities’ or ‘public entities’ to act compatibly with human rights and, in making decisions, to give proper consideration to relevant human rights.

In this webinar, Dr Bruce Chen reflects on how jurisprudence on the conduct obligations has developed under the Australian Capital Territory, Victorian and Queensland bills of rights.  Bruce considers significant recent cases, including Owen-D’Arcy v Chief Executive, Queensland Corrective Services (2021) 9 QR 250, Thompson v Minogue (2021) 67 VR 301, Davidson v Director-General, Justice and Community Safety Directorate (2022) 18 ACTLR 1, and the COVID-19 pandemic litigation.  He does so having regard to the initial policy rationale of the conduct obligations, and the implications of legislative drafting choices made in their enactment.  Bruce concludes with some reflections on potential conduct obligations under an Australian Human Rights Act, as recently proposed by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Dr Bruce Chen is a Senior Lecturer at the Deakin Law School at Deakin University.  Bruce’s research interests are in bills of human rights, administrative law, and public law generally.  He was an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University from 2021-2023, and conferred a PhD by Monash University in 2020.  Bruce has recently been undertaking research on the rights implications of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the renewed push for the enactment of an Australian Human Rights Act.  Prior to joining academia, Bruce worked in several senior legal and legal policy advisory positions within the Victorian public service, particularly in human rights and public law.  He provided advice and acted on behalf of the Attorney-General for the State of Victoria, Secretaries to the Departments, Commissioners and other public servants.

Chaired by Perry Wood, Partner – Principal Migration Lawyer and National President of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law

Date:        Wednesday 22 November 2023

Venue:     Online via Zoom

Time:       12.30 pm AEDT (12.00pm SA: 11.30am QLD: 9.30am WA)

Cost:        Admission is free for AIAL Members (with Promo Code) and $30 for Non AIAL Members

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This presentation qualifies for one CPD unit for solicitors and barristers

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