Former High Court Justice, the Hon Michael McHugh AC, QC, will argue that High Court decisions on the common law have often forced the Federal and State legislatures to enact controversial and politically divisive legislation to overcome those decisions, when he presents the 2007 Hal Wootten lecture at UNSW.

Justice McHugh will also outline how, by laying down the boundaries of State and Federal legislative power, the High Court has frustrated the legislative policies of political parties of the Left, the Right and the Centre.

Notable examples of this, cited by Justice McHugh, include the invalidation of the Bank Nationalisation legislation of the Labour Party, the Communist Party Dissolution legislation of the Liberal and Country Parties and the fair and reasonable conditions of employment legislation enacted by the Liberal Protectionist party of the Centre in the early years of federation. The decisions in Mabo and Wik are recent examples.

Justice McHugh was appointed to the High Court bench in 1989 by then Prime Minister Bob Hawke. He retired in 2005.

What: Hal Wootten Lecture, given by Hon Michael McHugh AC, QCWhen: 6.15pm, Thursday 23 August 2007Where: The Law Theatre, Faculty of Law, UNSW Kensington Campus

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