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Civil Liberties and Criminal Justice in the Age of COVID-19

The past few weeks have seen unprecedented executive and legislative intervention in the ordinary lives of citizens as all governments across the country try to balance competing goals of protecting public health and maintaining the fundamental liberties afforded to every citizen. Extraordinary times have called for extraordinary measures – but have civil liberties and the criminal justice system taken a back seat in the wave of emergency legal measures?  

NSW Labor Lawyers have assembled an expert panel to discuss the raft of new legal measures introduced, particularly in NSW, and assess the civil liberty and criminal justice implications of those measures with a particular focus on reforms to:

  • The right to trial by jury and the recent postponement or prohibition of such trials in limited cases in favour of judge only trials; 
  • Criminal procedure, including the new preference for pre-recorded evidence and non-attendance of witnesses; 
  • The laws around freedom of movement and public gathering, and the criminalisation of these activities; 
  • The growth of executive action under state and federal government biosecurity and public health laws and the resulting impact on civil liberties;

Our panellists are Phil Boulten SC, Penny Musgrave, David Buchanan SC and Hament Dhanji SC, moderated by Sam Pararajasingham. Boulten, Buchanan and Dhanji SC and Sam Pararajasingham are barristers at Forbes Chambers, Sydney, a chambers with a long history of practice in the criminal law. Penny Musgrave, solicitor, is the Principal of Musgrave Legal, a criminal defence firm in Sydney, with a wealth of experience including seven years as Director of the NSW Criminal Law Review which advised the NSW Government on reforms to criminal law in NSW. 

This is a free event and, in order to comply with COVID-19 measures, will take place via virtual attendance. In order to receive a link the webinar, you must register using the form below. 


April 29, 2020 at 6:00pm - 8pm
Online via Zoom

Will you come?