Principle of legality

Jeremiah v Lawrie [2016] NTCA 6

Plaintiff S99 [2016] FCA 483

Episode 13 dealt with the ‘principle of legality’ that clear words are needed to interfere with important common law rights and doctrines.  These two cases show the flexibility with which it may apply in practice.  In Jeremiah (at [76-84]), validity of a search warrant was upheld despite interference with some personal rights on the basis of so-called ‘operational realities’ regarding the detection of crime. 

In Plaintiff S99 (at [448-459]), the Minister was stopped from procuring an abortion in PNG for a refugee held on Nauru.  Denial of her right to safe medical care would breach the principle ‘that there is no wrong without a remedy’ – ‘protective justice’10.

This case is from Episode 19 of interpretationNOW!


10  cf Li [2014] NSWCA 176 (at [35]), Brock [2007] FCAFC 3 (at [97]).