The High Court's Agenda: More Interesting than it First Appears

34 Pages Posted: 4 May 2010

Date Written: April 16, 2010


At first glance, the High Court of Australia’s agenda looks relatively dull. It reports few cases, and only a small proportion of these cases are what American legal observers might consider interesting. Under the surface, however, hides an active docket of cases that drive policy innovation and reflect social change. By examining the many layers of the High Court’s docket in terms of its institutional context, this paper shows that the High Court’s agenda is far more interesting than it first appears. The Court is much busier than its reported decisions indicate and, because of the nature of the Australian Constitution and the High Court’s institutional design, the foundationally important cases are tucked in amongst cases dealing with government regulation, non-constitutional criminal cases and even torts.

Keywords: High Court of Australia, agenda, workload

Suggested Citation

Gill, Rebecca D., The High Court's Agenda: More Interesting than it First Appears (April 16, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Rebecca D. Gill (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Pkwy. Box 455029
Las Vegas, NV NV 89154
United States
7028952525 (Phone)
7028951065 (Fax)


Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics