Australian High Court finds 5 parliamentarians incapable of being elected on the basis of foreign citizenships

Re Roberts [2017] HCA 39 (22 September 2017), Re Canavan; Re Ludlam; Re Waters; Re Roberts [No 2]; Re Joyce; Re Nash; Re Xenophon [2017] HCA 45 (27 October 2017) and Re Barrow [2017] HCA 47 (7 November 2017)

In three related decisions, the Australian High Court has for the first time ruled on several key aspects of section 44(i) of the Australian Constitution, relating to foreign citizenship for elected members of Parliament. The Court held that four Senators (Ludlam, Waters, Roberts and Nash), and one member of the House of Representatives (Joyce), were incapable of being elected to the Parliament because they were citizens of a foreign power.  The Court also held that two other Senators whose election had been referred to the Court (Canavan and Xenophon) were validly elected and capable of sitting in the Parliament.

It is expected that the election of a number of further members of Parliament may be referred to the Court shortly for consideration.

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UK High Court rejects challenge to prohibition on assisted dying

R (on the application of Noel Conway) v The Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWHC 2447 (Admin) (5 October 2017)

The UK High Court has rejected the latest legal challenge to the prohibition on assisted dying, holding that the prohibition represents a necessary and proportionate interference with the applicant’s right to private life. The Court placed reliance upon the fact that Parliament had repeatedly decided to leave the prohibition in place, providing a timely reminder of the crucial role of Parliament in promoting a person’s right to die with dignity in the context of the assisted dying laws currently being debated in Victorian Parliament.

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UN finds that Australia breaches right to equality in same-sex divorce

United Nations Human Rights Committee – Views adopted by the Committee under article 5(4) of the Optional Protocol (CCPR/C/119/D/2216/2012)

The UN Human Rights Committee has held that Australia violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by failing to provide access to divorce proceedings for same-sex couples married overseas. The Committee reasoned that the differential treatment of same-sex couples as compared with overseas polygamous and adolescent marriages (between persons aged from 16 to 18 years) constituted discrimination under article 26 of the Covenant.

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The Charlie Gard case: UK High Court rules against experimental medical treatment for a terminally ill child

Great Ormond Street Hospital v Yates [2017] EWHC 1909 (Fam) (24 July 2017)

In a high-profile dispute between the parents of a terminally ill child and doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital over the child’s course of treatment, the UK High Court found that the best interests of the child require that he not be given experimental medical treatment and instead be taken off life support.

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UK High Court finds that arms trade to Saudi Arabia can continue

R (on the application of Campaign Against Arms Trade) v The Secretary of State for International Trade and Intervenors [2017] EWHC 1726 (QB)

The English & Wales High Court has found that the UK's Secretary of State decision not to suspend a licence to export arms to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was valid. The Campaign Against Arms Trade and a number of intervenors unsuccessfully argued that the export licence should be suspended on the basis that there was a clear risk that the arms could be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law.

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