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The state of fundamental legal rights in Australia

OCCASIONAL PAPER

| Morgan Begg and Simon Breheny

The state of fundamental legal rights in Australia

Fundamental legal rights have evolved over hundreds of years. Predominantly, these rights originate from English legal tradition and have been further developed through other Western legal systems. The common law rights that have arisen out of this long process are necessary to the operation of any just legal system. They include the right to be presumed innocent, the right to silence and other principles of natural justice.

At the heart of our report is a set of figures which demonstrate the extent to which legal rights are removed or restricted in current federal legislation. Our research has examined the law that Australians must obey every day and we have discovered significant flaws.

The failure of successive governments to ensure that legal rights are upheld presents a risk to the capacity of our legal system to produce just outcomes. This must be addressed.

 

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