This case note endeavours to analyse the case of Battison v Melloy through a legal lens. It is necessary to do so, given the wide and arguably misinformed media coverage it received.
The catalyst to this paper was the sheer number of comments by members of the public that Lucan Battison either: an ignorant child for refusing to comply with direction; a child who was so spoilt he thought he knew better; or, simply, just a bad school teen. The media coverage made this appear to be a “fight for human rights” and a challenge to authority. This was helped by the excessive repetition of Lucan’s submission that his plight was akin to that of Martin Luther King Jr. This is not mentioned one single time in Collins J’s judgment.
A further reason for this case note is to help the public better understand and comprehend the concept of judicial review. Judicial review is a mechanism to ensure that a figure in a position of public authority does not abuse his or her powers. Here, Collins J was not looking to uphold Lucan’s fight for justice—rather, he was concerned with the potential abuse of power by the principal, Mr Melloy. As part of this, the judicial review was concerned with the legality and reasonableness of the school rules, and whether they were ultimately lawful. (more…)