Equality before the Law Bench Book Update 24 published

The following sections have been updated:

Section 1 — Equality before the law

Information has been updated at 1.3 — Perception, pronunciation and pronouns including the case of Charisteas v Charisteas (2021) 273 CLR 289, where the Court stated at [18] “that even the appearance of departure from [the apprehension of bias principle] is prohibited lest the integrity of the judicial system be undermined”. Suggestions from the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and The Association for continuing legal education (ACLEA) regarding preferred pronunciations, pronouns and how to avoid using outdated and offensive terms have also been added.

Section 2 — First Nations people

The importance of a Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgement of Country has been noted at 2.2.3 — Cultural differences. This acknowledges and pays respect to First Nations people’s intimate relationship with the land.

Section 3 — People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

This section has been extensively revised and updated with the assistance and guidance of Multicultural NSW.

Section 10 — Self-represented parties

Section 10 has been updated to include a discussion on “sovereign citizens” and pseudolaw. The sovereign citizen movement is a group of loosely affiliated individuals who are connected by a shared antagonism towards government and a convoluted and conspiratorial interpretation of the law. Self-identifying “sovereign citizens” believe that they possess an uncorrupted and true understanding of the legal system. According to this conception, individuals are “sovereign” and not bound by the laws of the country in which they live unless they waive those rights by accepting a contract with the government. A new section at 10.5 Sovereign citizens: further information contains some history and case law in relation to the increasing number of cases brought by litigants asserting the legal system doesn’t apply to them.