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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

High Court of Australia strikes down spousal privilege

Reported here in the Sydney Morning Herald.

I haven't read the judgment (there are three separate judgments from the sitting judges), but I'm happy with the result. Spousal privilege does seem like a quaint and anachronistic notion. For those who are not familiar with it, it's the legal principle that you can refuse to give evidence relating to criminal charges against your husband or wife. Generally speaking, modern jurisdictions abrogate any such privilege by statute, but it seems that this may not have been expressly done in the jurisdiction concerned - raising the issue of whether the privilege exists at common law.

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