Remember the common law

I have long thought that too many Australian elites have a love of so-called international law.  To the detriment of the common law. As if it somehow had a greater legitimacy than our own legal system that has evolved and grown over a thousand years.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been somewhat surprised that this view is held by people whose opinions I normally value.

Here is me replying to Claire Lehmann of Quillette fame.

Then, this morning, in the AFR Joe Aston (love your work):

… an indefeasible and founding principle of international human rights law, being the presumption of innocence.

There Joe Aston was referring to an astonishing development at MinterEllison  where the managing partner sent an email to staff suggesting that one of the senior partners (perhaps) shouldn’t have taken Christian Porter as a client. In their defence it turns out that the managing partner is not a lawyer, and I suspect won’t have her contract renewed. Certainly not without an accelerated course in legal ethics.

Last word to Joe:

We know it is highly unfashionable for men to opine on these subjects of such delicacy. We consider it self-evident that sexual harassment and violence against women in Australia is a scourge that endures, and its eradication is a pressing cause.

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28 Responses to Remember the common law

  1. Roger says:

    The UN Declaration on Human Rights is not international law.

    It’s a declaration on human rights (and generally a very good one).

    I think you realise that Sinc, but Ms. Lehmann evidently does not; she’s defending principle but using the wrong instrument to do so.

  2. candy says:

    I think the Shorten issue equalises the whole matter. Even Porter mentioned it in his tearful press conference, as a way out.

    Thank God for Shorten, is what they are all thinking right now. Otherwise, the LNP would have to take a different approach and the Labor Party would go totally ballistic about Porter.

    It will be odd to see them both sitting in Question Time. One side grateful to the other.

  3. Stu says:

    There’s actually nothing in Claire’s tweet to suggest she holds the view you’re ascribing to her. You’re mind-reading.

  4. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Fair point – maybe I am.

  5. Eyrie says:

    Presumption of innocence? Where is that nowadays? To do just about anything you have to prove you aren’t breaking the law, first.

  6. tombell says:

    In their defence it turns out that the managing partner is not a lawyer, and I suspect won’t have her contract renewed.

    it beggars belief that a no doubt “strong independent ” woman who worked her way to the top at a large national law firm could have thought this email “appropriate”. the fact she’s not a lawyer is not relevant. but we’ve seen this – of course – in USA. You act for Trump you’re dead meat. Sadly, I’m guessing that many at the law firm agree with her. only the chosen few have legal rights these days.

  7. cuckoo says:

    Lefties have trouble understanding this stuff. At the time when the ALP suddenly declared the Essendon football club were an oulaw drug cartel (in order to get Eddie Obeid off the front page), a lefty I knew was seething at the thought that Robert Richter agreed to defend James Hird in court. (I wonder how she felt about him defending Cardinal Pell.)

  8. Marley McScruffin says:

    This is actually amazing. Law firms, by necessity, will represent the murderers, corrupt businessmen, drug dealers, and money launderers, among others. The managing partner should be immediately sacked. She clearly has no concept of the presumption of innocence, legal process, and for that matter, client confidentiality. Perhaps she should piss off back to the accounting profession and assist ethical
    clients to avoid tax.

  9. jupes says:

    Disgracefully, Australian politicians regularly use international law and agreements to hide behind, in order to enact policies against the national interest.

    Witness the stupid Paris agreement. Nothing but self-harm in that for Australia, but once we’ve signed an agreement, apparently our promise to international, bureacratic grifters means more than doing the right thing by Australians.

    Similarly, the political and defence elite now use the ICC as an excuse to compel Australian scumbags to prosecute our diggers. Otherwise we would have to send them off for foreigners to prosecute.

    To tie in Sinc’s other post this morning about the EU, note how much sucking up to the international elite works when push comes to shove.

  10. Tintarella di Luna says:

    Great comment jupes

  11. John A says:

    Roger says: March 5, 2021, at 2:07 pm

    The UN Declaration on Human Rights is not international law.

    It’s a declaration on human rights (and generally a very good one).

    And, to quote Willy Wobblestick:

    “More honoured in the breach than the observance.”

  12. Jannie says:

    The presumption of innocence is as old as Roman and Talmudic law, and was one of the principles demanded in the Magna Carta 1215.

    A temporary government signing up to an international convention doesn’t have the same gravitas.

  13. egg_ says:

    Witness the stupid Paris agreement. Nothing but self-harm in that for Australia, but once we’ve signed an agreement, apparently our promise to international, bureacratic grifters means more than doing the right thing by Australians.

    Which has been watered down as a promise to try to meet commitments – pure virtue signalling.

  14. NoFixedAddress says:

    We don’t need no steenkin’ common law.

  15. pbw says:

    We consider it self-evident that sexual harassment and violence against women in Australia is a scourge that endures, and its eradication is a pressing cause.

    That’s the problem, right there. While every statement about any vaguely or directly related issue must have its obligatory declaration of the general guilt of males, the common law will be less and less relevant.
    I should say, what’s left of the common law. The legislative sausage machine, informed by international best practice, is continually eating away it. Read Weinberg’s dissent to see just how badly such erosion affected Cardinal Pell.

  16. Clam Chowdah says:

    We should be grateful to Lehmann for starting Quillette, but (while intelligent etc) she is not particularly insightful herself.

  17. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “Clam Chowdah says:
    March 5, 2021 at 4:05 pm
    We should be grateful to Lehmann for starting Quillette, but (while intelligent etc) she is not particularly insightful herself.”

    Agree CC..although I’ve gone off Quillette a little bit.

  18. Spurgeon Monkfish III says:

    Disgracefully, Australian politicians regularly use international law and agreements to hide behind, in order to enact policies against the national interest. Witness the stupid Paris agreement. Nothing but self-harm in that for Australia

    Yet Goose Morristeen had the gall to claim recently (in respect of the WEF’s “Grate Reset”), “My government will always implement policies that are in Australia’s interests first”.

    Just wait until the Dumbocrats (via that preposterous wrongologist hypocrite imbecile Kerry) start to demand more “climate action” from Morristeen and his motley assortment of morons and see what happens. “Australia’s interests” will end up in the figurative rubbish bin quicker than [as amusing as that comparison is, it’s going to have to be binned. Sinc].

  19. NoFixedAddress says:

    Spurgeon Monkfish III says:
    March 5, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    [Very funny. But no. Sinc]

  20. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    We should follow and respect the common law before any UN declaration.

    Yep.

    U.N. Chief Guterres Orders Cancellation of All Global Coal Projects (3 Mar)

    He said:

    “Today, I am calling on all governments, private companies and local authorities to take three steps.

    First, cancel all global coal projects in the pipeline and end the deadly addiction to coal. Second, end the international financing of coal plants and … third, jump-start a global effort to finally organise a just transition [for coal industry workers], going plant by plant if necessary.”

    The veteran Portuguese Socialist called the world’s reliance on coal a “deadly addiction” and appealed for ending international financing for coal and providing greater support to developing countries transitioning to renewable energy.

    This is classic Chinese strategy to get the West to destroy their own superiority. If you don’t believe me there’s this graph from Steven Hayward’s Geek in Pictures today. Here is what the title says:

    About 90% of the carbon emissions over the past decade has come from just two countries.

    Those are China and India, and China would itself be 70% of the increase just by themselves. The UN internal bureaucracy is of course in China’s pocket for the same reasons that the WHO has been.

    And that’s what international law is for: for nasty oligarchical regimes to beat on democracies with. Like Israel who is currently being persecuted by the ICC despite endless war crimes committed by the Palestinians.

  21. Ed Case says:

    ***I think the Shorten issue equalises the whole matter. Even Porter mentioned it in his tearful press conference, as a way out.***
    No way in the world.
    The allegation against Porto is that they were together in a bathtub and something unexpected of a carnal nature happened that hadn’t been agreed upon.
    The Shorto allegations involve Rapping a total stranger who was a virgin at the time and had an abortion as a result.
    So, no, as allegations, not comparable at all.

  22. herodotus says:

    All too often International Law tends to be whatever a journalist, a politician or the Palestinian Authority (or their boosters) say it is.
    Even if you claim that pronouncements by the UN, or things produced by them and unwisely signed by governments (sometimes ones summarily evicted at the next election) are “International Law”, you have to reflect for at least a moment on what the UN is today. It is not a body that you would trust to make or interpret law on any subject.

  23. herodotus says:

    Sinc is hardly fitting the description of elite as used these days. Strange that you include the IPA on that list, hardly a body that supports the sorts of elites that are doing the damage these days, not even a rich tech company.
    Having a secure job and the ability to travel, particularly when it is relevant to one’s employment, is relatively commonplace.

  24. herodotus says:

    Yeah right, Head Case. Being together in a bathtub implies nothing at all when you don’t want it to.

  25. egg_ says:

    you have to reflect for at least a moment on what the UN is today.

    A cabal of despots?

    What could possibly go wrong?

  26. egg_ says:

    A cabal of despots

    Sounds like Scumoron’s National Cabinet.

  27. Tintarella di Luna says:

    IPA … gets tv tine everywhere

    except on the ABC, and FTA

  28. Squirrel says:

    Pretty sure this is all ultimately the fault of that interweb thingy.

    Until the interweb came along, things were going swimmingly, with women starting to harass and objectify men (which was really only ever “redress” not actual harassment, you understand) and behave like female chauvinist sows etc. etc., and then the interweb released a primal tsunami of testosterone-driven white male phallocratic privilege (did I leave anything out?), so that’s why we need to tax and regulate the interweb – because it’s all the Zuck’s fault.

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