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Great Australian Dissents

Andrew Lynch, Oscar Roos, Barbara McDonald, Stephen McDonald, Anne Carter, George Williams, Oliver Jones, Joe McIntyre, Michael Coper, Peta Stephenson, Matthew Groves, Simone Degeling, Greg Weeks, Jeremy Gans, Amelia Simpson, Adrienne Stone, Kristen Walker, QC, Sean Brennan, A. J. Brown, Gabrielle Appleby, Heather Roberts
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  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107158535


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About the Authors
  • When judges disagree, those in the minority write a dissenting opinion. This book considers the great dissents in Australian law. Their worth may derive from numerous factors, including their rhetorical force as a piece of legal reasoning or emotive power as a judicial lament for the 'error' into which the majority has fallen; the general importance of the issue at stake; as a challenge to the orthodoxy; and, sometimes, the subsequent recognition of a dissenting opinion's correctness and its ultimate vindication. On some occasions, all these features may be strongly present, on others only some. Through a diverse selection of memorable dissenting opinions, this book illuminates the topic of judicial disagreement more generally - not only through examples of instances when minority opinions have been distinctly valuable, but by drawing out a richer understanding of the attributes and circumstances which lead some dissents to become iconic, while so many lie forgotten.

    • The first book on dissenting opinions in Australian courts
    • Features a stimulating variety of dissenting opinions in different areas of law and their diverse claims to 'greatness'
    • Commences with a full introductory chapter that contextualises the focus on individual opinions in the broader literature on judicial dissent
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107158535
    • length: 394 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.73kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: what makes a dissent 'great'? Andrew Lynch
    2. Justice Barton and the demise of the Inter-State Commission in the 'Wheat Case' (1915) Oscar Roos
    3. Unrequited but still great: the dissent of Justices Dixon and Evatt in R v. Federal Court of Bankruptcy
    Ex parte Lowenstein (1938) Andrew Lynch
    4. Justice Evatt and the lost child in Chester v. Waverley Corporation (1939) Barbara McDonald
    5. Uther's Case (1947): Justice Dixon and the troubled legacy of the Commonwealth Immunity Doctrine Stephen McDonald and Anne Carter
    6. 'Lone, vehement and incredulous': Chief Justice Latham in the Communist Party case (1951) George Williams
    7. Public Prosecutor v. Oie Hee Koi (1968): not so humbly advising? Sir Garfield Barwick and the introduction of dissenting reasons to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Oliver Jones
    8. The trouble with duress: the dissent of Chief Justice Bray in R v. Brown and Morley (1968) Joe McIntyre
    9. The 'intelligence of a future day': the vindication of Justice Stephen's dissent in Henry v. Boehm (1973) Michael Coper
    10. Justice Mason in the Australian Assistance Plan case (1975): nationhood, Federalism and Commonwealth executive power Peta Stephenson
    11. Justice Murphy's dissent in Australian Conservation v. Commonwealth (1980): the birth of public interest standing in Australia? Matthew Groves
    12. The essence of a fiduciary relationship: Justice Mason's dissent in Hospital Products Ltd v. United States Surgical Corporation (1984) Simone Degeling and Greg Weeks
    13. The Chamberlain dissents (1984) Jeremy Gans
    14. Treachery or heroism? The judgment of Justices Deane and Toohey in Leeth v. Commonwealth (1992) Amelia Simpson
    15. Justice Dawson's steadfast defence of the 'very essence of political discussion' in Langer v. Commonwealth (1996) Adrienne Stone and Kristen Walker, QC
    16. Certainty, co-existence and the legacy of Mabo: Justice North in the Miriuwung Gajerrong native title case (2000) Sean Brennan
    17. When liberty divides: judicial cleavages and their consequences in Al-Kateb v. Godwin (2004) A. J. Brown
    18. He who would not be muzzled: Justice Heydon's last dissent in Monis v. The Queen (2013) Gabrielle Appleby and Heather Roberts.

  • Editor

    Andrew Lynch, University of New South Wales, Sydney
    Andrew Lynch teaches and researches in the field of Australian constitutional law at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. His co-authored and co-edited publications include Blackshield and Williams' Australian Constitutional Law and Theory (2014), Inside Australia's Terrorism Laws and Trials (2014), Tomorrow's Federation: Reforming Australian Government (2012) and Counter-Terrorism and Beyond: The Culture of Law and Justice after 9/11 (2010).


    Andrew Lynch, Oscar Roos, Barbara McDonald, Stephen McDonald, Anne Carter, George Williams, Oliver Jones, Joe McIntyre, Michael Coper, Peta Stephenson, Matthew Groves, Simone Degeling, Greg Weeks, Jeremy Gans, Amelia Simpson, Adrienne Stone, Kristen Walker, QC, Sean Brennan, A. J. Brown, Gabrielle Appleby, Heather Roberts

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