In December 2019 Principal Legal Officer Micheil Paton and Legal Officer Phoebe Tapley were published in the Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity analysing aspects of the ALRC’s Family Law Inquiry report through the lens of “human dignity”.
This paper reviews the approach taken by the Australian Law Reform Commission in its recent family law inquiry and explores whether explicitly incorporating considerations of human dignity may have added value to the process. The paper notes a variety of references to ‘dignity’ by inquiry stakeholders and the Commission itself, and examines the extent to which selected recommendations arguably sought to promote human dignity. It focuses on recommendations which sought to protect vulnerable parties from harm, enhance families’ experiences of court proceedings, and protect their privacy. The paper concludes that explicitly incorporating principles of human dignity may have added value in a number of ways.