The High Court on Constitutional Law: the 2003 Statistics

University of New South Wales
Publication Type:
Journal Article
University of New South Wales Law Journal, 2004, 27 (1), pp. 88 - 99
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The statistics set out below present information on the High Courts decision-making at both an institutional and individual level for 2003, with an emphasis on constitutional cases as a subset of the total. They have been compiled using a methodology developed by the Harvard Law Review for the United States Supreme Court and adapted for the High Court of Australia,[1] which has previously been used to produce an empirical analysis of the first five years of the Gleeson Court.[2] We do not outline that method again here. The only significant difference is that the data collection was done exclusively using the matters made available on the AustLII database for 2003.[3] It is important to acknowledge at the outset the limitations which inhere in any empirical study over only one year. While the statistics capture what occurred in 2003, the reader should be wary of making broad generalisations about the behaviour of the Court and its justices. For example, where percentage calculations have been given in addition to raw figures these should obviously be treated more warily than those produced after a significantly longer study. Caution is also warranted in the case of Justices Gaudron and Heydon, neither of whom served a full year on the Court in 2003.[4]
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