The full court of the High Court of Australia heard further matters in the appeal in Momcilovic v The Queen on 7 June. This case has attracted much attention from academics, lawyers and government officers alike, with the Attorneys-General for the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory making submissions in the matter, as well as the Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd. At issue, in particular, is the interpretation and rights compatability of a reverse legal burden of proof under s 5 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) with the presumption of innocence under s 25(1) of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic).
In “Who is Sovereign Now? The Momcilovic Court Hands Back Power Over Human Rights that Parliament Intended it to Have”, published in the March 2011 issue of the Public Law Review, Julie Debeljak critiqued the decision in R v Momcilovic by the Victorian Court of Appeal arguing that the court had sanctioned a rights-reductionist approach to the statute-related Charter mechanisms. Two further articles published in the latest issue of the Public Law Review touch on this matter. Luke Beck considers the case in the context of the interpretation provisions of statutory bills of rights in “The Interpretation Provisions of Statutory Bills of Rights: A Little Bit Humpty Dumpty?”, while James Stellios looks at separation of judicial power matters in “Reconceiving the Separation of Judicial Power”.