Minister for Home Affairs v Benbrika: terrorism, preventive detention and the Separation of Powers

Tuesday, 27 April, 2021 - 17:15 to 18:30

Join two constitutional law experts to discuss Benbrika, in which the High Court upheld preventive detention for terrorism offences.

About this event

In Minister for Home Affairs v Benbrika [2021] HCA 4, a majority of the High Court upheld the constitutional validity of a Commonwealth law that allows a State court to detain a person after the expiry of their sentence if they present an unacceptable risk of committing a terrorist offence. In powerful dissents, Gageler and Gordon JJ drew out the liberty interests at stake.

The ruling opens the door for preventive detention at the Commonwealth level and raises all kinds of questions like: What does the principle in Chu Kheng Lim mean now? What is the difference between the Kable doctrine and Ch III of the Constitution, if anything?

Time & Date

5:15 pm to 6:30 pm, Tuesday, 27 April 2021


Chair: Patrina Clohessy is the Deputy Crown Solicitor and Chief Counsel at Crown Law. She has considerable advocacy experience, having reached the rank of Senior Crown Prosecutor at the DPP before joining Crown Law. Patrina has experience with other preventative detention regimes, and has appeared in many matters under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003.

Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh is s a constitutional law scholar and Senior Lecturer at UQ Law with combined expertise in courts, national security and press freedom. In 2019, Rebecca was awarded the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia's Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research and a UQ BEL Faculty award, in recognition of her research in national security, press freedom and fair trial rights. Her book 'The Tim Carmody Affair: Australia's Greatest Judicial Crisis' (co-authored with Gabrielle Appleby and Andrew Lynch), was shortlisted for a 2017 Queensland Literary Award and her Sydney Law Review article 'The Inherent Jurisdiction of Courts and the Fair Trial' has been shortlisted for a 2020 Australian Legal Research Award.

Felicity Nagorcka is the Assistant Chief Counsel at Crown Law, Queensland. Felicity is an admitted barrister and has appeared as counsel for Queensland and the Attorney-General, often as junior counsel to the Queensland Solicitor-General, including, most recently, the High Court matters of Palmer v Western Australia, Gerner v Victoria, Vella v Commissioner of Police (NSW), and Spence v Queensland. Felicity holds an LLM with first class honours from the University of Cambridge, and was an associate to the Hon Justice Hayne of the High Court of Australia.