Julian Assange - a case study that keeps on giving

14 MARCH 2017
Amongst many other highly topical stories in the media, the continually unfolding events in the case of Julian Assange prove to be useful for Legal Studies students.



Julian Assange was in the media again recently after being interviewed by the Swedish prosecution team over 2010 sexual assault allegations. His lawyers have also flagged a potential appeal to the new Trump administration to end the investigation into Wikileaks' publication of classified material. Last October Assange marked the 10-year anniversary of the establishment of Wikileaks by signalling the media organisation’s plans to release about one million documents relating to war, weapons, oil, mass surveillance, Google and the US election.

The ABC reports that Assange denies that he hates 2016 US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and had plans to do her harm prior to the election. He has also announced that Wikileaks, the organisation he founded and remains director of from within his asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, plans to change the way it is operated and funded, and will soon be accepting memberships. Wikileaks also plans to expand the network of 100 media outlets it currently works with.

The legal ramifications of the multiple cases Assange faces and the complications surrounding his situation make for a fascinating ongoing case study for students of legal studies. Cambridge Preliminary Legal Studies Fourth Edition includes a chapter covering the issue of ‘Individuals or groups in conflict with the state’, which uses the Assange case to explore the following topics: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Extradition Laws, Espionage, Political Asylum and SHIELD (Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination) laws. One of several current case studies in Cambridge Preliminary Legal Studies Fourth Edition, this case study details the background of Wikileaks and poses questions for students to explore in greater depth. Links to relevant historical articles are included, as well as suggestions for further research. With Julian Assange once again in the media spotlight, and by all reports aiming to remain so, students have many opportunities to learn about a range of legal issues by following this current, real-world case.

Cambridge Legal Studies Fourth Edition is a student-friendly resource package for the HSC and Preliminary courses. It includes a print student text and two extended digital versions - an online Interactive Textbook and a downloadable PDF for offline access.



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