Recent Cases

Western Sydney University v Thiab [2023] NSWCA 57 (29 March 2023) (Bell CJ, Meagher and Leeming JJA)


Catchwords:


EDUCATION – universities – discrimination on the basis of political affiliations, views or beliefs – challenge to internal university disciplinary decisions – s 35 of Western Sydney University Act 1977 (NSW) prohibits denial of progression within the university on the basis of political affiliations, views or beliefs – where university cancelled clinical placements of nursing student who expressed scepticism about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination while attending placements – where university subsequently imposed disciplinary sanctions – whether views or beliefs expressed by student were “political” within meaning of s 35 – whether the adverse action taken by the university was taken “because of” student’s views

HUMAN RIGHTS – discrimination – grounds – political discrimination – challenge to internal university disciplinary decisions – s 35 of Western Sydney University Act 1977 (NSW) prohibits denial of progression within the university on the basis of political affiliations, views or beliefs – where university cancelled clinical placements of nursing student who expressed scepticism about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination while attending placements – where university subsequently imposed disciplinary sanctions – whether views or beliefs expressed by student were “political” within meaning of s 35 – whether the adverse action taken by the university was taken “because of” student’s views

CIVIL PROCEDURE – hearings – procedural fairness – where university cancelled clinical placements of nursing student who expressed scepticism about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination while attending placements – where student sought declaratory and interlocutory relief – where university imposed further disciplinary sanctions on student after commencement of proceedings – primary judge made declaration that the disciplinary sanctions were unlawful notwithstanding that student had not advanced an argument to that effect – whether university was fairly put on notice that the lawfulness of the later disciplinary sanctions would be in issue – whether there was a denial of procedural fairness