Irreducible Life Sentences, the High Court of Australia and Charters of Rights – Law School: Events Irreducible Life Sentences, the High Court of Australia and Charters of Rights – Law School: Events

Irreducible Life Sentences, the High Court of Australia and Charters of Rights

2021 Criminal Law CPD Series:

Irreducible Life Sentences, the High Court of Australia and Charters of Rights

CPD Points: 1.5



Is it morally permissible for the state to impose an irreducible life sentence on a criminal offender? The answer that human rights law gives to this question is ‘no’ and this seminar supports that view. The seminar will examine the High Court of Australia’s reasoning in three cases, Crump v NSW (2012) 247 CLR 1, Knight v Victoria (2017) 261 CLR 306 and Minogue v Victoria (2019) 93 ALJR 1031. In those cases, the Court deployed highly formalistic reasoning when declining to strike down NSW and Victorian laws that removed a realistic possibility of parole from a small group of reviled prisoners. Certain decisions of the United Kingdom courts and European Court of Human Rights indicate that charters of rights can lead to different results in cases such as Crump, Knight and Minogue — though we should not be too optimistic about the capacity of such charters to limit penal populism. After all, there is a human rights charter in Victoria — and yet that did not prevent the Victorian Government from: (a) enacting the Knight and Minogue legislation; and (b) ensuring that the Courts did not consider that legislation’s compatibility with charter rights.


Dr Andrew Dyer is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School, having been appointed the inaugural Colin Phegan Lecturer in Legal Reasoning at the beginning of 2014. A graduate of Sydney Law School and the London School of Economics, Andrew began his working career not as a lawyer, but in television, acting in and writing for various sketch comedy shows. He then worked at a large commercial law firm; as tipstaff to a judge of the NSW Court of Appeal; and, immediately before coming to Sydney Law School as a sessional lecturer in 2010, as a Researcher at the Judicial Commission of NSW.


Full series (7 webinars) = $300
Individual webinar(s) = $50

CLICK HERE to register

This webinar will be released on Wednesday 26 May.

You will receive a webinar link on this date, and can also register at a later date to catch up in your own time. 

About the series

This new 2021 Criminal Law CPD series, presented by the Sydney Institute of Criminology is made up of 7 webinars. Topics include: criminal behaviour in the digital age, consent and culpability in sex cases involving adults, irreducible life sentences, preventive detention; and neurotechnology and the criminal law.

You can register for the full series or individual webinar(s) and catch up on demand. Webinars will be presented by experts from Sydney Law School.

View flyer here

Program Schedule
Webinar Speaker Release date
A Reasonable Balance: The NSW and Queensland Law Reform Commissions’ Reports about Consent and Culpability in Sex Cases Involving Adults Dr Andrew Dyer Wed 28 April
Irreducible life sentences, the High Court of Australia and charters of rights Dr Andrew Dyer Wed 26 May
The Commonwealth Parliament and Preventive Detention: the High Court’s Decision in Benbrika v Minister for Home Affairs [2020] HCA 4 Dr Andrew Dyer Wed 30 June
Virtual Courts, Technology and Cross-Examination Dr Carolyn McKay Wed 28 July
Focusing on the AUDIO in Audio Visual Links Dr Carolyn McKay Wed 1 September
Criminal Behaviour in the Digital Age Dr Carolyn McKay Wed 29 September
Neurotechnology and the Criminal Law Dr Allan McCay Wed 27 October

Information for lawyers and barristers
Full attendance at this webinar series is equal to 10.5 MCLE/CPD units, based on 1.5 points per seminar attended.

For further enquiries: T +61 2 9351 0248


May 26 2021

More Info

Register here


Professional Learning & Community Engagement
02 9351 0248

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