Children and young people

Children and young people are entitled to equality before the law and freedom from discrimination. Young people should be consulted about, and participate in, decisions affecting them. This rarely occurs. Where young people or children come into contact with the criminal justice system, rehabilitative programmes should acknowledge and address their developmental needs and vulnerabilities. The primary aim of any intervention should be to discover the reasons for offending, and to formulate appropriate solutions and supports for the child and their family.

Access to justice

It is a fundamental principle of any democratic society that all those living within it have equal access to a justice system where they can expect, and be given, a determination of their rights without fear or favour, and free from external pressures upon a court or tribunal. The right to a fair hearing is recognised in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities in section 24. This section is based on Article 14 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which Australia has signed and ratified.

Right to justice

The right not to be tried or punished more than once for an offence is commonly known as the rule against double jeopardy. It is a fundamental principle of the common law and underpins criminal justice administration. It is recognised internationally in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 4(1) of Protocol 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which incorporates double jeopardy provisions. In Green v United States Justice Black of the US Supreme Court explained:

An Australian charter of rights

Australia is the only Western democracy without some kind of charter or bill of rights. Though the Commonwealth Constitution contains some limited rights, such as the right to interstate trade and movement and the right to free communication on political matters, there is no comprehensive charter or bill of human rights and civil liberties. Not only does this leave human rights and civil liberties vulnerable to curtailment and abrogation, it also means that Australia has not implemented in domestic law its human rights obligations under international law.


The Liberty Victoria Management Committee 2013 -14

President's Report 2012

Jane Dixon SC

Senior Vice President
Jessie E Taylor

Anne O'Rourke
Jamie Gardiner
Michael Stanton

Immediate Past President
Prof Spencer Zifcak

Trish Cameron