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Charter and interventions in court cases

The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 (the Charter) gives the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and the Victorian Attorney-General the right to intervene in legal proceedings where a question of law arises about the application of the Charter. This means that these bodies can help the courts understand the Charter and how it should be applied to the case at hand.

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What does it mean to intervene in a court case?

When the Commission or the Attorney-General intervenes in a court case, we do not represent or advocate for a particular side. We are there to assist the Court by putting forward views on the Charter and Charter rights, and how they should be interpreted and applied.

How does the intervention function work?

The Attorney-General and the Commission are formally notified when a case before the Supreme Court and County Court raises the Charter. We also find out about cases by being notified by the people involved in the case, the judge in the case, court reporting, community groups and the media.

How do we decide whether we should intervene?

The Commission has guidelines which set out what we should take into account when deciding whether or not to intervene in a case. You can read more about these guidelines here.

We don’t intervene in every case which raises the Charter. Our interventions generally focus on questions of law, policy, and issues of broader public interest rather than detailed arguments about the facts of a particular case. For example, in 2018, we intervened in the decision in Cemino v Cannan & Ors, considering the cultural rights of Aboriginal people, and in 2019 we intervened in the Coronial Inquest into the Death of Tanya Day. See a list of our legal interventions here.

You might also be interested in

Legal Interventions

A list of cases where the Commission has intervened that involve the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

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The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges that we work on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We also work remotely and serve communities on the lands of other Traditional Custodians.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.