Too Close for Comfort: Lane v. Morrison and its Effect on Australian Military Justice
21(5) Public Law Review 9-13, 2010
5 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2010
The Australian military justice system is at a critical juncture in its 25-year history. On 26 August 2009, in Lane v. Morrison (2009) 239 CLR 230, the High Court of Australia declared the new Australian Military Court (AMC) unconstitutional for purporting to exercise the judicial power of the Commonwealth without meeting the requirements of Ch III of the Australian Constitution, such as the conditions in s 72 concerning the manner of appointment and tenure of judges. The government’s options are either to move part of the Australian military justice system to a Ch III court, or to return to the traditional model, placing the entire system loosely within the military chain of command. The government has indicated that it intends to pursue the former, but either choice will create controversy. This comment begins by sketching the reasons for the creation of the AMC and discussing its brief existence until dispatched by Lane v. Morrison. It then explains the government’s response to Lane v. Morrison and the interim system currently in place. With the “final” system still a matter of conjecture, the comment concludes with some reflections on the future of Australian military justice.
Keywords: Australian military justice system, judicial review
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