Book Reviews

Review: Watching Brief: Reflections on Human Rights, Law, and Justice

Watching Brief: reflections on human rights, law, and justiceWatching Brief: reflections on human rights, law, and justice by Julian Burnside
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anyone even remotely familiar with the work of Julian Burnside QC will not be shocked by the range of subject matter that feature in this collection of his work. There are, unsurprisingly, a number of essays devoted to the treatment of asylum seekers by the Australian government of the day, some contributions about the erosion of civil liberties in the Commonwealth of Australia, and comments about some famous legal cases that resulted in dramatic miscarriages of justice. All in all, the standard stuff from this doyen of the Australian Bar.

Whatever one’s views on the range of subjects covered by Burnside, there can be little doubt about his own passion for them and, indeed, for the intellectual heft that he brings to bear on them. Agree or disagree with Burnside, these are clearly issues upon which he has very definite and developed positions. They are not positions that come from any sense of political correctness either. They are well-developed, well-considered, legal and moral positions that he has arrived at after plainly much thought and consideration.

Overall, a very enjoyable book, though the occasional typographic error or missing punctuation mark was a little frustrating. These can be forgiven, however, in light of the passion for his subject matter exhbited by the author.

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