Australian research used to help strike down discriminatory law in South Africa

28 September 2021

The published research of a CQUniversity lecturer in Business Law has been used to help strike down a discriminatory law as constitutionally invalid.

Dr Angelo Capuano's work was recently cited in a judgment of the Constitutional Court of South Africa – the country's highest court on constitutional matters.

'As a law researcher it is wonderful to see one's work being used where it matters' especially in judgments'' Dr Capuano said.

The majority of the court cited Dr Capuano's work Giving Meaning to 'Social Origin' in International Labour Organization Conventions' the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth): 'Class' Discrimination and Its Relevance to the Australian Context in the judgment Centre for Child Law v Director General: Department of Home Affairs and Others which was decided on September 22.

The Court confirmed a declaration of constitutional invalidity of section 10 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992 and found that the provision unfairly discriminated on the basis of a number of attributes including 'social origin'' thus it infringed on the constitutional right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of 'social origin'.

'The majority wrote that my published observation on the intersectional nature of discrimination based on 'social origin' was 'pertinent' to the facts in the case' and thus found that the 'intersectional nature of social origin-based discrimination' was evident in the matter'' Dr Capuano said.

'The majority specifically noted my discussion of the way indigenous Australians experience overlapping discrimination based on their race' class and social origin.

'I am very honoured to have my work cited by the majority of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and hope that this outcome will help create awareness for the intersectional nature of discrimination experienced by indigenous peoples and others.'