Human Rights

Civil rights are those things that protect our safety, health and freedom, from interference or violation by governments, organisations and individuals. These freedoms protect us from discrimination, guard our legal and political liberties and guarantee personal rights such as privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of assembly.

Maurice Blackburn stands up for the rights of individuals and organisations who may not otherwise be able to adequately defend their civil and political rights.  We are strong supporters of public and grass roots advocacy and have been fighting for fair for nearly 100 years.

Wrongful detention of Dr Mohamed Haneef

Dr Mohamed Haneef was arrested in 2007 and charged with a terrorism-related offence, which resulted in his Australian visa being cancelled.  After being held in detention for nearly a month, Dr Haneef was released, the charge was withdrawn and the decision to cancel his visa was subsequently overruled by the Federal Court.  In all, the investigation and detention of Dr Haneef cost taxpayers over $7.5 million.

Dr Haneef was an innocent man who suffered a terrible injustice when he was wrongfully detained and charged with a terrorism-related offence.  Maurice Blackburn acted on his behalf during the Clarke Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his arrest and detention in 2008.

The discussions held between the Australian Government and Dr Haneef reached a confidential outcome that was fair and significant, and which recognised the injustice that Dr Haneef had suffered. The settlement included a formal public apology to Dr Haneef.

The right to protest - Gunns Litigation

The court case began when Gunns served a writ claiming over $3m in damages on 20 environmentalists and conservation groups which were protesting against the company's logging operations. Gunns claimed that the environmental activists and groups harmed the company by disrupting logging and wood-chipping operations and by damaging the company's reputation.

Maurice Blackburn successfully represented The Wilderness Society and other defendants in the Supreme Court of Victoria. The proceedings were resolved on 18 March 2009 in favour of The Wilderness Society with Gunns agreeing to make a net payment to the society of $325,000.

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