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3. The Charter’s Effect on Public Authorities

A central feature of the Charter is that it imposes obligations on government officers, departments and instrumentalities, and other public authorities, to observe human rights. These obligations on public authorities were envisioned as a way to foster a human rights culture in Victorian administrative practice. In introducing the Charter Bill, the Attorney-General noted that ‘it is in the area of administrative compliance that the real success story of human rights lies’.

The Charter defines public authorities in s 4, and ss 38–39 deal with their obligations and the remedies for breach of those obligations respectively. In essence, public authorities, as defined, are required to act compatibly with Charter rights and to properly consider them when making decisions. Failure to do so is unlawful and, in certain circumstances, remedies and relief can be sought as a result.

Last updated: 10 May 2016

In This Chapter

3.1. Public authorities

3.2. Obligations on public authorities (s 38)

3.3. Proceedings for breach of the Charter (s 39)