International law

Attorney-General v Driver [2021] SASC 66

A violent sex offender was kept in prison after his term expired on community safety grounds10.  He said this was ‘draconian’ and would strip him of fundamental human rights under international law11.

Livesey J (at [39-47]) held that, while the provision was subject to the principle of legality, the ‘language here is clear and intractable’12.  The principle is that, while statutes are read consistent with international law, this applies only ‘so far as the language permits’.  The judge also said that it is necessary to find that the statute ‘recognises the relevant international law obligation’.  iTip – implication of international human rights into domestic law is not automatic.

This principle is from Episode 75 of interpretation NOW!


10 s 57(7) of the Sentencing Act 2017 (SA).

11 Art 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

12 cf Humphrys [2018] SASCFC 69 (at [12]), Al-Kateb [2004] HCA 37 (at [19]).