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The Australian National University

Open Justice: Concepts and Judicial Approaches

Emma Cunliffe (2012) 40 (3)

Recent years have seen an increase in the number and scope of non-publication orders and other limits on open justice, an increase in the number of statutes that regulate or threaten open justice and the articulation of an Australian constitutional principle (of institutional integrity) that has the potential to protect some aspects of open justice. The purposes and values of open justice are, however, rarely examined in a comprehensive or theoretically-informed manner. This article provides a theory of open justice which accounts for its heterogeneous nature. Australian judicial approaches to the substance, limits and constitutional dimensions of open justice are analysed in light of the purposes and values of open justice, and a comparison with the much more coherent Canadian approach is supplied. The author concludes that threats to open justice are best managed by an analytical framework which systematically identifies both the benefits of open justice and the countervailing values that are at stake in a given case, and which seeks to provide maximum protection to all of these values on a case-by-case basis.

Vol 40, Issue 3, 2012

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