No, "almost any library" is deliberately misleading. Your local library
will not have a CDROM containing all Australian legal cases. You will
only find this in legal libraries and University libraries. Most of the
90 million odd people on the internet will happily type into search
engine, who will never look for the paper or electronic archives of the
legal library. It is also untrue that ONLY cases that change the law
are presented. There are Administrative Appeals Tribunal cases for
example, and they aren't even COURT cases. AAT hearings don't have any
sort of audience gallery or public exposure.
> The arguments they are using is basically that non-lawyers can read the
> cases when are on the internet. I don’t accept that that presents a
> problem and I believe these are the points in favour of Family Court
> cases being on the internet:
How about privacy??
> - It is not only lawyers that should have access to the law that
> binds everyone
We're talking people's private data, NOT the legislation - why make
their names public to the world?
> - I know many people that would consider it easier to look up a
> “sensitive case” in the law reports in the library.
Nonsense, what could be easier than typing a person's name in the
AUSTLII search engine?
> - Highly sensitive information, such as the names of children,
> are usually not released.
I see, are you saying only children have the right to privacy? All
Comcare AAT cases are listed in the Austlii database, and every single
Comcare case contains private medical information - that is what
Comcare is about. How can medical information presented on the
international forum, NOT be an invasion of privacy?
> - The courts are for the public. People can sit in on most
> hearings. Parties have the opportunity to settle out of court and not
> release the terms, but if they go to the court for help, they must accept
> that their dispute is part of the public record.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal is a place where you can settle out of court. The public cannot sit in on the hearings. There is no warning that
your private medical information will go on the public record. AustLII do not
give people any chance to update incorrectly reported information on their database, which even Government keepers of data must allow by law.
> - May cases (such as criminal cases) also involve revealing
> personal information about people, but the media does not seem to
> have a problem with displaying those details all over the papers.
Most newspapers would be sued if they published private medical information, without permission. There are Privacy laws that explicitly mention broadcasters.
> The internet is a means by which we can all have access to the law.
> AustLII deserves our support.
AustLII is completely insensitive to the concerns of ordinary citizens,
and has no respect for privacy. While cruising the Austlii database, I
dicovered that MY private medical details were there for people to
find, not only by searching, but by accident, as I did. I was searching
for an obscure bit of legislation, and my name popped up. The AAT
report contained my middle name and my birthdate, themselves sufficient
to obtain information from a bank. When I explained my concerns to the
people maintaining the database, they refused to understand what the
word "privacy" meant.
Privacy and censorship and completely different issues. You won't fool
intelligent people with such attempts at confusion. If you truly don't
understand, then try to imagine what it would be like if YOUR privacy
had been violated, and you had never been to court or in any way warned
that your medical data were now the public domain.