The Obiter Issue 2

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This edition’s cover image describes what we are all feeling right now...exhausted and confronted by endless piles of cases, readings etc. (...doesn’t everyone have ponies on their desk at home? OK, just us then...)

acknowledgements the obiter team would like to acknowledge the support of USALSA, ANU Legal Workshop & Piper Alderman. We would also like to say thanks to the extended L&J group, the Amigos and the Thursday Afternoon Worldsend Crew for providing some quality material and shenanigans. Furthermore, we would be lost without the guidance of Quentin the Unicorn of Obligation & Norbert the Numbat of Notice.

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual authors and not those of the UniSA School of Law or USALSA Inc. An original Burberry advertisement has been used and altered in this edition for the purposes of parody and satire. This publication therefore claims that there is no infringement of copyright due to section 41A of the Copyright Act 1968 which provides for fair dealing with works for the purposes of satire. #lawyered





Editors Note


billable hours

Phoebe Bowden


Our Team & Guest Contributors Coming Events

features precedent

Billable Hours


USALSA Election Abigail Khoo

Farewell to The Architect Matthew Doran

Victims within the International Criminal Justice System - the 14th Annual Hawke Lecture by Dame Silvia Cartwright Abeir Zaid

Reflections of an ALSA Competitor Nicholas Cutts

Careers on the ‘Dark Side’ Phoebe Bowden

Trivarsity Law Dinner Laura Stark

A Question of Integrity Russell Jones

Odd laws from around the world

thanks for joining us, you’re reading

obiter the

the magazine for Law students at UniSA

Qing Cao





from the editor billable hours news features precedent jonesj

The time has come, The Obiter said, to talk of many things, Of dames and dinners and silly laws, of hipsters and legal kings, And why ALSA is wild fun, and what USALSA brings, Calloo, Callay, come run away, With the Chihuahuas and kings. Welcome to The Obiter’s illustrious second edition, which aims to provide reprieve from studying the law through amusement, empathy and sometimes knowledge. We hope The Obiter will be your antidote in your hour of swotvac need and provide you with sufficient giggles to make it through to Christmas. This edition is blessed with Russell Jones’ witty ramblings about why the hipster movement should not impact the law. Further, we have procured Nicholas Cutts’ memoirs of the ALSA and Laura Stark’s recount of what she can recall of the Law Dinner.

Along with the debauchery, we wish to share an honest take on life in the law. Thus, we have included interviews with two of Adelaide’s leading criminal defence lawyers and Abigail Khoo writes of the rewarding opportunities offered by USALSA. Additionally, Abeir Zaid reflects on Dame Silvia Cartwright’s public lecture on the atrocities of Cambodian genocide. So before we leave you to happy reading, some quick thank yous. Thanks to our amazing sponsors who allow us to disseminate the wild and revolutionary ideas (perhaps an overstatement) of UniSA law students. Thanks to the contributors, for sharing their talent and making this second edition a descent into madness. If you have any feedback, ideas or would like to become a contributor please let us know.

Phoebe Bowden

Want to get involved in the obiter? Drop us an email at Go know you want to...






our team

Stephanie Hastie Marketing Director

Alanna Wilson Billable Hours

Lauren Eacott Billable Hours

Abeir Zaid Writer

Abigail Khoo Writer

Russell Jones Writer

Matthew Doran Deputy Editor & Designer

Phoebe Bowden Editor

Royce Kurmelovs Editor

Guest Contributors this edition

Nicholas Cutts Laura Stark Qing Cao

coming events November


November 3 - The ARIA Symposium; Italian Influences on the development of Australian Criminal Law - The Zanardelli Code, presented by Foundation Dean of Law, Professor Paul Fairall

December 5-16 - Study Period 6 Exams

November 11 - Criminal Law Careers Night, British Hotel North Adelaide - 7pm November 25 - USALSA Trimester 3 Pub Crawl

February February 15th Orientation

New Law Students’

February 20th - Commencement of Study Period 2




billable hours

...the place with all the advice you could possibly need with Eacott & Wilson Dear Billable Hours, I’ve been eagerly watching the new ABC1 drama ‘Crownies’ and am amazed at how good looking the cast members are, as well as how much action they all seem to be getting. When I graduate, can I look forward to working in such a sexy environment, or is this just another way of building up the hopes and dreams of law students before reality crushes them like a bug? Regards, Needs Some Lovin’ Dear NSL, Thanks for your letter. Here at BH, we sincerely hope that our law careers will lead us to such enviable workplaces. However, as a graduate you’re more likely to find yourself sifting through pages and pages of documents, with the only action you’ll get being a rendez-vous with the office photocopier. Sorry, BH Dear Billable Hours, I have only been at law school a number of weeks, however I’m already finding it hard to keep up with the drinking habits of the second and third years. How am I supposed to cope with 9am tutes the morning after a big night?

is difficult, but with the amount of time the third years spend there you will surely make up for it later. If you desperately do not want to miss out on this ‘networking opportunity’, invest in a big pair of dark sunglasses, some good concealer, and learn to sit with the smart kids. They enjoy answering questions and paying attention, which means you don’t have to! Enjoy, BH Dear Billable Hours, How do I find love at law school? Yours sincerely, Hopeless Romantic Dear HR, Firstly, we’re not too sure if we’re the right people to ask. Alanna is perpetually rejected by every male she displays interest in and Lauren has a farmer boyfriend (the men to women ratio is so large in the country that he was forced to settle down with her). However, if you really want to pursue a law school companion, the law pubcrawls are a great way to make it happen as you can approach them in a comfortable social situation.

Ah, you have discovered a law students’ trick to staying sane. We drink! If you keep it up, by next year you will be able to match the habits of your friends.

The tip is to cut your already too tight pubcrawl t-shirt down even more to show off as much skin as possible, take advantage of those cheap drinks to build up some liquid courage, and then blindly and drunkenly befriend your love interest. Sure you may wake up reeking of vodka and shame (and you probably texted your ex at 2am), but at least you’ve caught their attention!

In the meantime, try and stay away from the Worldsend on uni nights. We know this

Hope that helps! BH

Cheers Legally Hungover Dear LH,


obiter news


USALSA 2.0 - the next generation


words Abigail Khoo he University of South Australia Law Student Association (USALSA) has undergone an important transition as the newly elected executive board and committee members tackle their new responsibilities.

Elizabeth, whose role included preparing the 2011 Careers Guide and Careers Guide Launch evening, says her position on the Executive Board provided her with many networking opportunities with potential employers.

Following the October 8th AGM, Isobel Bailey has been confirmed as the President of USALSA and the constitution has been rewritten to simplify how the organisation is run.

She also attended the Australia Law Students Association (ALSA) council meetings, an organisation which represents the interests of law students nationally.

USALSA provides a platform for students to take leadership roles, create professional networks, gain practical skills and connect with the law community. The organisation is responsible for organising events such as pub crawls, mooting competitions, quiz nights, producing this student magazine and providing future career information such as the careers presentations by employers and Careers Night. Jasmin Martino, the newly elected Careers Officer, says her vision for USALSA is, “to have a considerable positive impact on the UniSA Law degree experience in terms of both academic and social activities.” She was motivated to run for the position as she believes it is important to be part of an association which supports and connects the UniSA law community by keeping students updated on opportunities and organising social events. Elizabeth Macey, former Vice-President of Careers and Education, sees USALSA’s role as providing important services that would not otherwise be available to students. USALSA Committe 2011/2012 President - Isobel Bailey Treasurer - Matthew Doran Marketing & Sponsorship Director Stephanie Hastie Education & Careers Director - Eliza-Ann Brown

Jasmin and Elizabeth both encourage students to get more involved in USALSA as it not only benefits students looking for a competitive edge but the whole law student community. Jenny Komsic, former Vice President of Administration, says it is a great networking source for all students and it demonstrates to future employers a willingness to be involved and enjoyment of extracurricular activities. Students will be able to stand out from the crowds of law students and develop their advocacy skills in preparation for practice. Elizabeth says those students with a demanding work and study load can still be involved in USALSA. “Often a representative will require assistance in preparing an event or a publication and offering an hour or two of your time will always be appreciated.” For more information about contact:


obiter news the

Activities Director - Susan Ruthenbeck Competitions Director - Thuy Le Sponsorship Officer - Matthew Christey Careers Officer - Jasmin Martino Publications Officer - Royce Kurmelovs




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Farewell to

onward up words Matthew Doran image courtesy School of Law, edited by the obiter

Few can claim to have left an indelible mark on a university. Professor Paul Fairall can.

Professor Fairall joined UniSA from the University of Adelaide in 2007, taking on the position of Foundation Dean of Law. His task, which he chose to accept, was to establish South Australia’s third law school.

Some claimed that Fairall was crossing over to the dark side in moving from the sandstone surrounds of Adelaide University to the West End – the joke was that it would be a great place for a law school to operate, surrounded by pimps, dealers and various other nefarious individuals. “The sheer excitement of starting a school from scratch was such a rare opportunity that I couldn’t turn it down,” Fairall recounts.

Having previously served as Chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans, and Dean of Law at both the University of Adelaide and James Cook University, few could question his expertise in taking on the role at UniSA. “The vision was to create a law school that was both professionally relevant and academically excellent,” Fairall says.


“While we didn’t want the program to be solely about the practical nuts and bolts of law, the practical realities of law needed to be addressed as well.” “The university was very serious on creating a world class school.”

And what an intriguing beast Fairall has created.

Fairall has given critics food for thought by creating one of the most modern and flexible law schools in Australia, with a diverse range of electives and double degree options that is really sticking it to the big boys in town. “In just under five years, we have gone from having no building, no staff and no students to having a great building which we love working in, a fantastic cohort of students, a program second to none and exceptional staff,” he says. As he comes to the end of his benevolent dictatorship at the UniSA School of Law, Fairall reflects on the hard work that has been put in to establishing the school. “I think the gamble has paid off,” Fairall says.




The Architect

ds & pwards “We have never had to compromise when recruiting our staff, which really shows in the high calibre of both of academic and professional staff.” Of the development of the school, Fairall is most proud of the establishment of the Legal Advice Clinic.

“In many ways, Paul’s leaving is like an end to an era – even for such a young law school,” Steele says.

“He has taught me a lot – skills that are invaluable.”

“To see our students fully integrated into the clinic, giving advice to clients and seeing themselves making a difference in our community is a great achievement,” Fairall says proudly.

The next chapter in Fairall’s life is still uncertain as he explores a number of options. However, as Australia’s longest serving Dean of Law (six years at James Cook and five years each at Adelaide and UniSA), Fairall says it might be time for a brief sabbatical.

Fairall also notes that the school scored a ranking of 3 in the Excellence in Research in Australia ranking, on par with Flinders University and better than any law school in Western Australia.

With his Spitfire pilot father instilling a love of flying in Fairall from an early age, time may be spent putting his private pilot’s license to use – obtained from UniSA’s Aviation College.

“It is quite an achievement given that we have only been operating for four years,” he says.

“I’m definitely not ready for retirement,” Fairall jokes.

Rumours abound as to who will be taking over the reins of Fairall’s beast, but whoever it is will have big shoes to fill.

Leanne Steele, School of Law Executive Officer says that Fairall has given the school “the best start it could have hoped for.”

“Maybe I could get a job with Qantas or Tiger Airways!”

No doubt the hallowed halls of the George Street building will echo of stories from Fairall’s sovereignty for years to come.

In the words of this fearless leader, ‘onwards and upwards.’






obiter Victims within the International Criminal Justice System the


The 14th Annual Hawke Lecture featuring Dame Silvia Cartwright


words Abeir Zaid images courtesy of UniSA Hawke Centre

ame Silvia Cartwright pioneered change in New Zealand. She was the first woman in New Zealand to become a Chief District Court Judge and later the first female appointed to the High Court of New Zealand. Even before Dame Cartwright’s days as a Justice, she was transforming health consumer’s rights and working to eliminate discrimination. She was the founder of the Cartwright Inquiry on issues related to cervical cancer and its treatment at Auckland’s National Women’s Hospital, which led to vast health consumer law reforms. Later, Dame Cartwright served on the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, during which she was able to have a direct input on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was adopted by the United Nations in 1999.

Out of a population of roughly 7 million people, a shocking 1.7 million people died through “execution, starvation, disease, or overwork in the 3 years, 8 months and 20 days of the regime.” Dame Cartwright’s talk highlighted many aspects of justice. In particular, she emphasised the need for victims to speak out about their experiences, to both find peace and know that justice had been done. “Judges, juries and the public can assess for themselves the reliability and credibility of the victim’s account, and sometimes even the accused displays a glimmer of awareness of the impact of his offending,” she said. Dame Cartwright argued that much of the problem lies in defining justice. “Justice is a subjective concept, with a different meaning for every participant,” she said before going on to discuss the pressures on courts to provide justice.

Dame Cartwright’s lecture focused on her experiences at the Khmer Rouge trials and how modern legal systems can achieve international criminal justice.

“A court’s task is to conduct a trial of an accused that is fair and expeditious, assess the material put before it and reach a determination of what evidence it considers the most reliable account of events.”

She spoke of the many Cambodian people who were labelled as “the enemy” for fighting for equality, education and modern technology by the Marxist group the Khmer Rouge.

“Ubiquitous and multifaceted, there seems to be no limit to what international criminal tribunals are expected to achieve – in addition to the usual goals of criminal justice, they are tasked with achieving peace, telling





the words ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ became blurred

much contested truth, creating historical records for societies and educating the world against the horrors of mass violence.” By far the most gripping aspect of her talk was the stories from the victims of the Khmer Rouge. The honesty and emotion conveyed when she spoke of the victims was moving and provoked thoughts of the victims of other international criminal events occurring in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and Serbia who all have a shocking and egregious story to tell. The issues Dame Cartwright dealt with at the Khmer Rouge criminal trials were complex. One victim was beaten and tortured for 12 days and nights before being assigned to repair mechanical equipment that was later used to attack innocent people. This made

the court’s role complicated, as the victim had been working for the enemy. As Dame Cartwright explained, “the words ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ became blurred” in the eyes of the court.

Dame Silvia Cartwright is a woman who has taken on the monumental task of providing women with equal opportunities, victims with justice and a sense of hope , all the while breaking new ground for women in her role. While justice cannot completely end the mass crimes, serving justice to victims, like those of the Khmer Rouge, demonstrates to those who have suffered that prosecution does occur. As Dame Cartwright said, “international criminal justice is now a reality of modern legal systems.”

Dame Cartwright & Former Prime Minister The Hon. Bob Hawke









reflections from an

I represented UniSA at the Australian Law Student words Nicholas Cutts images Elizabeth Macey

he alarm was unbearable. Not because it woke me, but because it didn’t. It wasn’t the alarm’s fault, it didn’t do anything wrong. It screamed its shrill sound to its little mechanical heart’s content. The problem was I hadn’t been to bed. It was 4 am and I was doing last minute research, desperately trying to find an argument in a pile of cases higher than a hippy at Woodstock. All this tedious work was for the Australian Law Students Association (ALSA) Mooting Competition, which was being held in Sydney, and I had to get moving to make the 5 am check in for my flight. You know what, no. I’ll start again. My name is Nic Cutts. I’ve written this article three times. The first was an accurate tale of my exploits, complete with velociraptors and Ghostbusters references. I scrapped that because it ended up being 2500 words. Next I wrote a thrilling story about ALSA’s drunken underbelly. That too was scrapped. What happens at ALSA, stays at ALSA. I always thought attending the ALSA Conference was an honour reserved for super geniuses. To me, an ALSA competitor was that bastard who effortlessly wades through their readings and creates brilliant legal arguments on the fly. They were the best and brightest, a university’s pride and joy. They were the Anti-Cutts. And yet I went. I don’t know about you guys, but to me, law is really hard. Like every law student, I am intelligent, however this degree is exceptionally challenging. From the very dry 100+ page cases, all the way to exam study, it’s difficult and, I’m not going to lie, it sometimes gets to me. I struggle to keep sight of where I’m going and to remember the practical application of concepts that occasionally seem like complete


bollocks. I’m the guy who can be found in the library with his face in his hands wondering how he can possibly survive another trimester. And yet I went, but I’m glad I did … and I realise that rant was full of First World Problems (FWP’s). During ALSA, the law was like an abusive lover who would torture me and yet I would continue to come back for more. I have never been more stressed in my life, nor have I ever had so much fun studying law. I had been working on my arguments for months. The argument I was looking for the night before I left? It was 2am the night before the competition when I found it. I kept working on them until ten minutes before I presented them. That was ALSA; while competitions were on, the work never stopped. Writing it like that makes it sound horrible, but it wasn’t. Mooting was exhilarating, like a battle. I learnt how to target gaps in our opponents’ arguments and when to hold our ground and when to tactically concede others. It became obvious preparation and practice was From top: Nic in a dress (yeah we did!); fellow ALSA Competitor Issy Bailey & Nic

an alsa competitor




ts Association Conference 2011 – YEAH, SERIOUSLY! the key; if you weren’t prepared, judges would tear you to shreds. Yet, if you had prepared and you argued your point well, you would survive and that feeling was euphoric. I’ve been told I should include in this some simple tips for mooting. So here you go: 1) Preparation Know the law. Know what you will argue. Anticipate what your opponent will argue. 2) Breathe Did you know that breathing is an effective method to prevent dying? It’s also incredibly useful to calm yourself down.

3) Swagger It’s all about the swagger. It’s not just what you are saying, it’s also how you say it. All the preparation in the world counts for shit if you come off as a socially awkward penguin. Every time you’re faced with what seems like a doomed legal argument, remember that in every case where the subsequent law seems like common sense, that there was someone arguing the opposite. You can too. Never underestimate the importance of charisma. I won’t delve into the sordid details of ALSA, mostly to preserve reputations and ensure academics and future employers will still respect us in the morning. Though it must be said that the parties were many and epic. If you ever meet me in person, ask and I’ll share a few. I promise they will be grossly exaggerated. My favourite part of ALSA was meeting amazing people. I met (read: got drunk with) brilliant people from all over Australia and New Zealand who made me feel welcome and were so much fun. Even though most will never see this, here’s my shout out to everyone I met from UWS, Murdoch, UWA, QUT, UTas, Otago, and of course the UniSA delegation, thank you for making the week what it was. In conclusion, ALSA was stressful, difficult and more fun than I have ever had.

Probably because your body realises it’s not dying. Before you start talking, take a deep breath. When you’re uncertain of how to answer a question, ask the judge for a moment to refer to your notes, take a deep breath and start. It’s super effective.

Don’t think that just because you’re not a straight HD student that you can’t go. It’s a lot of work, but if you put in the effort, getting to ALSA is so very attainable. The competitions provide a fantastic forum for honing your skills, not just through personal experience, but by observing your opposition. Don’t be afraid to try out for a team next year. Get yourself to the ALSA Conference 2012 in Melbourne. Editor’s note: Nic asked us not to use a photo of him in a dress. We promptly ignored that request.





Craig Caldicott

Anthony Allen

Careers on the “Dark Side”

Two of Adelaide’s top criminal lawyers discuss why they chose their career paths


words Phoebe Bowden lackstone said, “Better guilty men go free, than an innocent man go to jail.”

the Glenelg and Darlington Magistrates Court, so it worked well.”

Whether inspired by a passion for justice or an infatuation with the drama, careers in criminal defence are rewarding in many ways.

Unlike Caldicott chancing upon a career in criminal defence, Anthony Allen had his eyes on the job from a young age.

However, along with the rewards come long hours, challenging work and sometimes confronting situations. Craig Caldicott is a leading criminal defence lawyer with a successful practice in Brighton. However, he originally wanted to work as a taxation lawyer and only found criminal defence after being mentored by senior lawyer in the field. Much like today’s employment climate, Caldicott said when he started “there weren’t many jobs, so I set up practice by myself”. “I worked out of my mother’s house. I knew lots of people in Brighton and it was between


“My brother is a barrister, he used to be a partner in small firm, which did a lot of criminal law,” Allen says. “Having heard the stories it made me very interested in doing the same line of business.” “I was lucky because when I was at law school I did work experience and then was offered a paid position after about nine months.” “When I first graduated they wanted me to do civil litigation, I really didn’t enjoy it at all.” Despite different beginnings in criminal law, both Allen and Caldicott have grown to love the work.




Caldicott says the most enjoyable part of working in criminal law is the people, some of whom are fascinating.

“I take a conservative view, if I see a problem that causes an ethical challenge, I get rid of it straight away.”

“And it’s the challenge. Interesting work, interesting people.”

“If it feels wrong it usually is wrong and you don’t act,” Caldicott says.

Allen also likes the diversity of personalities that he deals with.

Interestingly, Caldicott adds that these ethical issues usually arise when coming across information or material relating to another practitioner.

Further, both Allen and Caldicott’s comments reflect a passion for attaining justice and helping people. Caldicott says his love for the work stems from the “overall picture, the image of the lawyer defending the little guy against the might of the state”.

“It’s not quite that simple, but it’s the way I perceive it,” Caldicott says.

Regardless of the situation, both Caldicott and Allen emphasise that integrity is paramount. Neither of them changing career.




However, Allen did work for the DPP for almost four years, which he found ‘equally enjoyable.’

If it feels wrong, it usually is wrong and you don’t act

Aside from the satisfaction of playing a part in the justice system, both enjoy the challenge. “It’s an extreme challenge, but the reward will usually flow,” Allen says. “There are many aspects to the reward, emotionally and financially.” Working in criminal defence is indeed an extreme challenge in many ways, sometimes including ethically. The favourite dinner party question of “would you defend someone who you knew was guilty?” is a reality for some defence lawyers. However, as Allen points out there are strong ethical guidelines.

Both Allen and Caldicott show passion for their work. “I have a lot of fun. People pay me to have fun,” Caldicott says. “I’ve found practicing very rewarding. There’s nothing as great as a long hard trial where you have managed to win and have done so based on skill and hard work.” Allen offers some advice for anyone considering a career in criminal defence. “The best way to find out is to dip your toe in. If you like it, you’ll have an amazing career for life. If not get out straight away.”





Left, L-R: Caroline Manser, Nadine Rachid, Katherine Vaselli, Danielle Macolino, Eilise Harmer & Zainab Sweedy;


Law Dinner 2011 - the forum for int words & images Laura Stark

et’s be honest.

No one becomes a law student to champion the rights of the hard-done-by, nor to bring about great change or to promote a just and equitable society. These are nothing more than well established and well practiced lies. I know you, and I know you enrolled in law so that you had a warrant to act pompous and intellectual at social gatherings. I won’t tell anyone. But this carefully constructed web of lies unravels like a poorly woven sweater on a yearly basis. And beneath this sweater – to persist with a fairly tenuous analogy – an offensive slogan t-shirt declaring our intellectual superiority lies. Much like that conference of warty femmes fatales once documented by Mr Dahl in his non-fiction piece, The Witches, the Law Dinner is a sort of convention of truth, where we can peel off our face-masks and reveal the unsightly, self-important horrors beneath. Mm, that second analogy is far more fitting.


I kid! In reality the law dinner probably isn’t that pompous. In fact, one might say it’s only marginally classier than the average Brownlow dinner. (Certainly this would be argued by the unwitting law student on the bus to the after party who found himself looking at the 2.5-course meal for a second time that evening). Indeed, the smell of fake tan is just as pungent as if Brynne Edelsten herself were in attendance. Kelly & Co. Lawyers generously sponsored the 2011 Law Dinner, which was a tri-varsity event for the third time in its illustrious history. Needless to say, the networking opportunities with future colleagues and foes were endless. There’s nothing like a bit of “who’s clerking where?” in between sips of the finest house white on offer, to the tuneful melodies of the Nikki Minaj hit, SuperBass*. Plus, we had the pleasure of listening to the dulcet tones of Chief Justice French to polish off a delightfully law-y evening. French CJ was a stellar choice for guest speaker. Kudos to those organisers who managed to get a hold of him. He engaged




Centre, L-R: Victoria Moffat, Tom Crompton, Laura Stark, Sam Janetzki; a law student revealing their true self.

tellectual pomposity at its finest the students and hangers-on (that rare breed of non-law student) with his discussion of the importance of the legal institution in advancing social justice and commerce.

His speech highlighted the development of native title law and the Aboriginal plight, as well as the challenges he predicts will face those entering the profession today (That’s us!). Rumours were abound that Flinders University students had boycotted the event owing to its rather steep price tag of $100, which was almost a 10% increase on the price of last year. But while the Entertainment Centre was decidedly less crowded than in 2010, the atmosphere was still one of jovial excitement – abuzz with the sound of law students exchanging wisdom and knowledge. In fact, the only real fault of the evening was the sea-green lighting during the entrée. It made the tasty Thai chicken salad look like something that might have emerged from the wrong end of Ursula the Octopus. Thankfully, the main course of Steak and Potatoes was served under the much more

pleasing colour of blood-red, and didn’t remind anyone of death or vampires.

This was my fourth and final Law Dinner, and as I happily drank my money’s worth (and the rest of my table’s money’s worth) I reflected upon all the fond memories I have of previous events. There was Kirby J’s unforgettable speech in 2008, Gummow’s questionable cancer/ law analogy in 2009, and the controversial venue-change in 2010 which opened up all the aforementioned unique lighting options. If you’ve never attended before, I recommend you start saving for the 2012 Law Dinner. The ticket price may have inflated to unimaginable proportions, but I guarantee it will remain a must-attend event for those who are getting a little clammy and irritated inside their human costumes. (Remember that Witches thing I said before).

*I imagine, but this experience was denied me by the “DJ” who possessed not a single work of Nikki Minaj. What?!




obiter the

jones j a different perspective on all things law

A question of integrity: the legal system, the hipster hypothesis and Chihuahuas


words & images Russell Jones

he Law is as bland as belly button lint on dry toast. My favourite flavour. One thing that I’ve found rather amusing in my time as a law student is the reaction I get from other students upon hearing what course I do. After an initial reaction of “congratulations”, “that would be hard work” or “who are you and how did you get into my house?” the conversation almost always steers to the same question:


“Wouldn’t that be boring?” My usual response normally consists of laughing off such a remark with some friendly banter and then slapping them in the face with a bass with the words “future career prospects” written on it. Don’t get me wrong, law isn’t all suits and awesomeness. Anybody who sits there reading through hundreds and hundreds of pages of case reports and calls it a loose Saturday night is probably a few marbles short of a cheese sandwich. However, as I sat staring at the art students drawing in



jones j chalk on the sidewalk for their supposed university degree I began to think about the stigma of the law degree being boring. The conclusion I came to was that most young people swoon over the idea of being an artist, a musician or something that involves popular culture or fads. They idolise a career that allows you to flow with the current trends of the time and be “cool” forever. And then I thought of hipsters. Asking myself what the legal community would be like if allowed to tumble down this path, I had the following thoughts: Inconsistent laws The nature of the hipster movement is to cast off things that seem ‘unoriginal’ and that have ‘been done before’. It is the lifeblood of the movement (apart from skinny jeans and a general undeserved feeling of smugness).

be highly regarded, it must be underground and receive about the same amount of recognition as Chris Brown’s respect for women. Should the hipster movement take over the legal field, the brightest legal minds in the country would aspire to the new pinnacle of the court hierarchy; The minor claims court. The shame of appearing in the High Court of Australia would be as humiliating as people discovering that your op-shopesque outfit cost in excess of $300 (and was bought from a department store). As such, constitutional matters would now be reserved for either junior lawyers cutting their teeth, or the human embodiment of Lionel Hutz.

Another of the most fundamental rules of being a hipster is that anything that has achieved popularity and mainstream attention is crap.

This of course would spell bad news for the system of precedent and consistency within the law as judges would purposely try to be as original as possible and avoid previous decisions in an attempt to stay true to the hipster ethos. This would result in the law becoming very complicated and inconsistent as punishments for similar crimes would be completely different.

This of course would also slow down the legal process as the minor claims court traditionally hears a lot more cases than the High Court. As a result, your everyday citizen such as Charlie the Charming Chihuahua will have to wait a lot longer for his driving offence to be resolved. Legal Chic:

Court Hierarchy Calamity:

Legal attire would also become much less formal should the hipster movement take over, with the commanding and downright awesomeness of power suits being replaced by skinny jeans and flannel.

Another of the most fundamental rules of being a hipster is that anything that has achieved popularity and mainstream attention is crap. In order for something to

Now don’t get me wrong, my calves look damn amazing with a skinnier leg and I can rock an asymmetric fringe with the best of them, but when I walk into a court room I

As such many people would not know what punishment would be issued to certain crimes, e.g. theft of Chihuahuas.




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want my lawyer to look like they’re suave, charismatic and successful. I don’t want my lawyer to look like they spend their weekends travelling around the country playing the xylophone in a band that is “only three or four gigs away from really exploding”.

status in Australia thanks to his legendary dissenting approach (as if he wasn’t godlike enough). However, these positives have their limits and would likely be overcome by a hellish system of law that would involve judges basing their decisions on the opinions of

Now while the hipster movement being integrated into the legal profession would be bad, I feel I should point out that there are some positive aspects to it.

Upon reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that while it may fit alright in other less important careers (I’m looking at you musical tech students) outside trends and pop culture, hipsterdom should have no influence on the law. In fact, I’m issuing a restraining order.

These would include JB Hi-Fi posting record profits as case law would have eventually ruled it illegal to shop anywhere else for electronics. Also, former Justice of the High Court, Michael Kirby would be elevated to god-like


As of this moment all pop culture should stay at least five hundred metres away from the law at all times.








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Obscure laws from around the world compiled by Qing Cao America In Minneapolis an old law says you can be put on a chain gang if you double-park. In Kentucky statute declares: “No female shall appear in a bathing suit on any highway within this state unless she is escorted by at least two officers or unless she be armed with a club.” A later amendment proposed: “The provisions of this statute shall not apply to any female weighing less than sixty pounds nor exceeding 200 pounds; nor shall it apply to female horses.” In Atlanta, Georgia, not only is it illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole but it’s also illegal to dress a mannequin in view of the public. In Colorado in General no one may mutilate a rock in a state park. In New York, the penalty for jumping off a building is death.

It is against the law to mispronounce the name of the State of Arkansas in that State. In Memphis, Tennessee, a woman is not to drive a car unless a man warns approaching motorists or pedestrians by walking in front of the car that is being driven. In Virginia, there is a statute which prohibits corrupt practices or bribery by any person other than political candidates. It is illegal to herd more than 3000 sheep down Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles at any one time. In Maryland, it is still illegal for radio stations to play Randy Newman’s song ‘Short People’. In Texas, criminals are still required to give their victims at least 24 hours oral or written notice giving details of the crime they are about to commit. Iceland

In Washington any motorist with criminal intentions is required to stop at the city limits and telephone the chief of police that he is entering the town.

It is illegal to blow on a lamp post.

In New Mexico, idiots may not vote.

As it is considered pornographic, you may not walk around your home nude.

In Denver, Colorado, public records offices were so swamped by requests for information on entertaining laws that possession of lists like this was banned.

It was once against the law to own a pet dog Singapore

It is illegal to urinate in an elevator. United Kingdom

In Bakersfield California, you must wear a condom if you’re having sex with Satan.

Any person found breaking a boiled egg at the sharp end will be sentenced to 24 hours in the village stocks (enacted by Edward VI).

Alaska law says that you can’t look at a moose from an airplane.

In Scotland it is illegal to be drunk while in the possession of a cow.





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A law passed by Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century has never been repealed and forbids people from eating mince pies on December 25th. In the early 1800s it was declared illegal - and never repealed - for women to eat chocolates on a public conveyance. A bed may not be hung out of a window. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside down. Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing. In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants – even, if she so requests, in a policeman’s helmet. In the city of York, it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow. In London, there is still a law that states London Taxi cabs must carry a bale of hay at all times. Italy A man may be arrested for wearing a skirt. In Milan there is still a law that requires citizens to smile at all times or risk a hefty fine. The only exceptions are visiting hospitals and funerals. In Venice all gondolas have to be painted black unless they belong to a high ranking official. Canada Citizens may not publicly remove bandages. In Alberta if you are released from prison,

it is required that you are given a handgun with bullets and a horse, so you can ride out of town. In Wetaskiwin, Alberta, in 1917, it was illegal to tie a male horse next to a female horse. Germany In Germany a pillow can be considered a “passive” weapon. Every office must have a view of the sky, however small. Paraguay Duelling is legal so long as both parties are registered blood donors. Romania In 1935, Mickey Mouse was banned because the authorities thought that the sight of a 10ft high rodent on screen would terrify the nation’s children. France No pig may be addressed as Napoleon by its owner. An ashtray is considered a deadly weapon. Switzerland At one time it was against the law to slam car doors. It is against the law for men to urinate standing up after 10pm which is the same time that it is illegal to flush the toilet. Australia It is illegal to roam the streets wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face as these items are the tools of a cat burgular. In Victoria only a licensed electrician is allowed to change a lightbulb and it is forbidden to wear pink hot pants after midday on a Sunday.


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