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  Alternative Law Journal   (Australia)
  Volume 32, Number 4, December 2007
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  • Articles
  • The challenges of court interpreting: Intricacies, responsibilities and ramifications
        Sandra Hale
        Highlighting some of the challenges faced by court interpreters in attempting to faithfully interpret from one language to another, this article looks at the ramifications of poor interpretation and stresses the flaws of a system that does not require formal pre-service training, remunerate interpreters as professionals or offer adequate working conditions.
  • VCAT, Hanover and the transgender conundrum
        Karen Gurney and Eithne Mills
        This article discusses the difficulties facing the Anti-Discrimination List of VCAT when asked to grant an exemption allowing Hanover Welfare Services Ltd to discriminate against female-identifying male clients. While the Tribunal may have achieved the right result, its process failed the majority of those in the community who, although legally male, identify as female.
  • After Pelka: Marriage-like relationships under social security law
        Kieran Tranter, Lyndal Sleep and John Stannard
        This article argues that Re Pelka and Secretary, Department of Family and Community Services changes the interpretation of the marriage-like relationship rule in the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth) in two small, but important ways. It clarifies the financial elements of the rule and suggests an interpretation that would lead to more structured decision-making.
  • Island innovation, mainland inspiration: Comments on the Tasmanian Family Violence Act
        Karen Wilcox
        Reviews of domestic violence legislation are being undertaken in most states and territories. The author examines some of the innovative aspects of Tasmania's recent overhaul of its domestic violence protection order legislation, the Family Violence Act 2004. this article suggests that the radical features of the Act warrant the attention of law reformers across the mainland.
  • Mental health tribunals: From crisis to quality care?
        Fleur Beaupert
        This article discusses the operation of mental health tribunals in authorising the provision of compulsory care to mental health service users. The author analyses the 'treatment review role' of these multi-disciplinary tribunals, considering the provisions of mental health legislation and recent reform initiatives.
  • Policing in an era of human rights
        Tamar Hopkins
        This article examines a number of police practices in the light of Victoria's new Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 and concludes that Victoria Police have much to do to ensure they comply with their obligations under the Charter. The article examines reports of policing experiences by young refugees in the Flemington region of Melbourne's inner west.
  • Freedom of information in Britain: Lessons from Australia
        Benjamin Worthy
        The author compares the Australian experience of Freedom of Information legislatin with the new British Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This article argues that both FOI regimes have encountered similar problems resulting from an attempt to impose statutory openness atop closed governmental systems with strong cultures of information control.
  • The Commonwealth Ombudsman:An integrity branch of government?
        Anita Stuhmcke and Anne Tran
        Should the Commonwealth Ombudsman be part of a fourth integrity arm of Federal government? The article examines recent immigration cases determined by the Ombudsman to 'test' the extent to which the role now transcends the individual complainant contributing to the improvement of overall government administrative integrity.

  • Briefs
  • Innovation in clinical legal education
        Neil Rees
        Neil Rees looked at the history of clinical legal education in launching the Alternative Law Journal's inaugural Monograph, Innovation in Clinical Legal Education: Educating lawyers for the future.

  • Columns
  • Asia-Pacific: Justice for climate refugees
        Emma Brindal
        Climate refugees are the fastest growing group among environmental refugees. The impacts of sea-level rise are being felt on many low-lying coastal areas throughout the world with stories of record king tides, salinised crop gardens and contaminated water supplies are now commonplace. In the Pacific, many islands are set to disappear before the end of this century, and will become uninhabitable long before that. Part of our responsibility to address climate change requires us to recognise climate refugees as a group with a rightful claim to protection and sanctuary.
  • Sport and the law: Waiting for Snicko
        David Brown
        As camera angles multiply, and technology and camera skills improve, the roles of the video ref during the course of a game, and the citing committee afterwards, are becoming more significant. How should this video 'intrusion' be seen? The outcomes of potentially game-turning decisions are too important to be left to the chance vision or imagination of on-field officials. If the technology exists to assist more accurate decision-making, why not use it? Videos, however, still have to be 'read' or interpreted. Like a Constitution, statute or any other text, video does not 'speak for itself': there is little room here for the fraud of a 'strict and complete legalism'.