The ‘Connecting with Law Short Film Competition’ is an annual event run by Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand. Now in its seventh year, the ‘Connecting with Law Short Film Competition’ runs from March to July and is open to all students currently enrolled in an Australian law school. Over the years, the competition has proven to be a unique way to encourage students to connect with the law and make a contribution to legal education in Australia.
This year, students were invited to make a two- to five-minute film exploring the 2015 theme, ‘bring your favourite case to life’. The standard of entries submitted was very impressive and the winners were those judged to be the most creative, instructive and original. They demonstrated an ability to understand and analyse case law, and will help to educate and entertain Australian law students. We are pleased to share the winning entries:
1st prize winner: Chester v Waverly Council (1939) 62 CLR 1
Ray Waterhouse, Nikita Vidyaev, Bella Noon, Ben O’Sullivan & Molly-Anne Clark (University of Notre Dame, Sydney)
Donoghue v Stevenson is the dawn of the modern law of negligence. Just seven years later, the High Court considered a negligence claim made by Mrs. Chester. Her young boy, Maxie, drowned in a flooded council trench. She witnessed his body being lifted from the trench and suffered nervous shock as a result. Her claim failed in the High Court because the majority said that it was not foreseeable that a mother would suffer nervous shock in those circumstances.
Justice Evatt dissented. He found her reaction entirely foreseeable. He was the only judge to identify Maxie by name. He humanised Mrs. Chester and her loss. The power of his dissent has resonated down the years. His reasoning was vindicated by Justice Deane in Jaensch v Coffey in 1984 and by Justice Gaudron in Annetts v Australian Stations Pty Limited in 2002. Evatt J’s judgment illustrates the importance of dissenting judgements – sometimes their reasoning is picked up by later judgements and becomes the law. His judgement was more forward looking than the blinkered legalisms of the majority. In the words of Deane J, Evatt’s judgement was plainly to be preferred to that of the majority.
2nd prize winner: An Expert’s Opinion on his Ordinary Observation: The Case of Honeysett
Jonathan Mo (University of New South Wales)
3rd prize winner: Precisely Nothing: Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Lauren Stefanou & Rebecca Ward (University of New South Wales)
Featured image credit: “Courtroom One Gavel” by Joe Gratz. Public Domain via Flickr.