Category: Public Law

High Court: Civil forfeiture proceedings may need to await the finalisation of criminal proceedings

Case Note by Simona Gory. Civil forfeiture of asset proceedings may need to be stayed pending finalisation of the relevant criminal proceedings, at least in circumstances where the offences and circumstances relied on in the forfeiture proceeding are substantively identical to the criminal proceedings and there is no prejudice to the Commissioner arising from a delay to the forfeiture proceedings.

Western Australia Senate election declared void

In Australian Electoral Commission v Johnston [2014] HCA 5, the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, answered questions of law in a way which led to the election of WA Senators to the Commonwealth Parliament being declared void.

High Court upholds validity of Northern Territory Drugs Forfeiture Law

The High Court, by majority, upheld the validity of a statutory scheme for the forfeiture of property. The scheme provided that, on application by the DPP, the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory could declare a person who had been convicted of three or more drug related offences within a ten year period to be a “drug trafficker”, and consequent upon the declaration, all property owned, effectively controlled or given away by that person was forfeited to the Northern Territory.

High Court strikes down laws prohibiting donations to political parties and spending on election campaigns

The High Court held invalid recent changes to the NSW political donations and campaign expenditure laws. The laws would have prohibited donations to political parties by any person not on the electoral roll, and where an overall cap on campaign spending by political parties otherwise applied, would have deemed expenditure on a campaign by ‘affiliated organisations’ of a political party (eg, unions) as being expenditure by that political party.