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Editors --- "Introduction to Issue 19(1)" [2022] CanLawRw 1; (2022) 19(1) Canberra Law Review iv


The mid-2022 issue of Canberra Law Review features articles from Australian contributors regarding crime, technology, law reform and legal education alongside a review of major work on constitutional reform as a remedy for political disenchantment, particularly relevant given violence by the far right at the end of 2021 such as the burning of the main entry to Old Parliament House.

Molly Young’s ‘Law vs Science: Genomic Evidence, Wrongful Convictions and the Requirement for a Statutory Framework’ explores the limitations of DNA evidence, with specific reference to wrongful convictions. The article engages with Australian and overseas jurisprudence, jury misunderstandings of evidence with a statistical and scientific basis, innocence testing and post-conviction review schemes. It offers specific recommendations for improvements in the criminal justice system.

‘What To Teach When Teaching Law: The Categories, Rights, Duties And Test (‘CRDT’) Framework’ by Benedict Sheehy, Juan Diaz-Granados and Tomas Fitzgerald deals with pedagogical methodologies specific to law. It draws on debate in Australia and overseas regarding historic and current approaches, including the ‘case study’. The article offers a valuable contribution to teaching undergraduate and graduate students in online, hybrid and face to face models, potentially encouraging debate among both the legal profession, academics and advanced students.

Mizcedes Cripps’ ‘How Does Australian Copyright Law Respond To Obscenity In An Era Of Digital Technology?’ considers the copyright status of works that are deemed to be obscene, a categorisation that covers a wide range of perceived or substantive harms in contemporary and past law. Cripps notes divergence in judicial recognition of copyright in textual and graphic works, with the United Kingdom having a different stance to that of Australia and the United States of America. Her article engages with questions about shifting notions of harm, the principles underlying censorship and rationales for protection under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and similar statutes.

Bruce Baer Arnold’s ‘Surveillance Machines in Ivory Towers? Surveillance Capitalism, Dignity and Learning Management Systems’ offers a spirited, indeed provocative, perspective on the embrace of the digital platforms that are now axiomatic in Australian law schools because of COVID-19 and the expectations of ‘digital natives’. The article extends scholarly literature regarding online anonymous student feedback by asking whether we can construe the platforms as ‘surveillance machines’ that resemble other online data collection mechanisms within ‘surveillance capitalism’.

Adam Jardine, Marilyn Bromberg and Nicholas Cardaci refer to ‘A Special Place in the Heart, A Special Place in the Law’ in ‘No More Fighting Like Cats And Dogs: It’s Time For A New Pet Custody Model In Australia’. It is an insightful piece that engages with the increasingly rich theorisation about personhood for non-human animals and the jurisprudence of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia regarding pets as chattels. The authors argue for discussion of modifying Australian law to reflect changed social understandings of companion animals, adopting an alternative model of pet custody that does not rely on the premise that pets are property. The article discusses three alternative models of pet custody: the Pets as Persons Model, Sentimentality Model, and the Liminal Model. It concludes that any of these three models would be superior to the extant pet custody model in Australia, and would better reflect Australian attitudes and values.

‘The Cadaveric Organ Shortage: a result of Australia’s organ procurement framework?’ by Jack Hassall critiques principle and practice regarding post-mortem organ collection for transplantation, analysing the complex domestic regime and benchmarking it against overseas frameworks (notably that in Spain). The article highlights bioethics issues alongside questions about information sharing and a range of statutes.

A review by Bruce Baer Arnold and Damon Smith considers Bede Harris’ insightful Constitutional Reform as a Remedy for Political Disenchantment in Australia (Springer, 2020). It is a provocative and timely exploration of democratic discontents, disengagement and coherent law reform as an effective solution to systemic problems. The review notes the depth, cogency and eloquence of that work by one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars and an inspiring teacher.

The Student Section of this issue of Canberra Law Review features a contribution from one of the Law School’s undergraduate students. Rumesha Kashif’s ‘Murders With Missing Bodies: Evidential Construction of Prosecutorial No-Body Murder Cases’ is a commendably detailed engagement with homicide prosecutions where the victim’s body has not been found.


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