1 Substantive Law

Where Does Truth Lie? Challenges and Imperatives of Judicial Fact-Finding

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG
The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG
Former High Court Justice
1 CPD Point


Interactive Content
Self-Paced Completion
On-demand and on Any Device
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This course provides lawyers with insights from an insider into the process of judicial fact-finding and decision-making in the context of civil appeals, criminal appeals and international inquiries. 

Fact-finding in formal decision-making is always subject to human error and other difficulties. However, decision-makers are still obliged to discharge their responsibilities by explaining how they reached their conclusions.

This course examines three case studies to explore the difficulties and necessities of fact-finding in formal decision-making.

  • The first involves a civil appeal and the fact-finding responsibilities of an Appellate Court in scrutinising the proceedings.
  • The second concerns a criminal appeal involving a compelling matrix of circumstantial evidence and consideration of whether a retrial was required.
  • The third involves an international commission of inquiry on human rights where the state concerned would not cooperate but demonstrated flaws in witness testimony.

Through these three case studies, lawyers will explore how the decision-makers reached their ultimate conclusions, the differences that arose on the journey to these conclusions and the aftermath, with a critique of the outcomes.


Last Updated: June 2024

Meet the expert

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG
The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG
Former High Court Justice

Michael Kirby was, until 2 February 2009, one of the seven Justices of Australia's highest constitutional and appellate court, the High Court of Australia.

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  1. 4.0/5
    A very worthwhile course.
    The use of examples and their application to illustrate principles was excellent. The takeaway for me from this course was, particularly bearing in mind the current media trend toward "guilty until proven innocent" was to remind me about the need for objectivity and assessing evidence rather than relying on rhetoric.
  2. 5.0/5
    An interesting and unexpected delight
    This course canvassed the intersection of justice and truth and was surprisingly digestible and engaging! I thoroughly enjoyed the contrasting case studies and this really engaged my learning.
  3. 5.0/5
    Great course
    Course included varied examples of the challenges of investigation
  4. 5.0/5
    Excellent interesting course
    Well presented case notes
  5. 5.0/5
    Highly informative and good use of case studies
    This was a content rich course which not only delivered very clear teachings but was also very interesting. The case studies were excellent in highlighting each point and ensuring knowledge retention for the course participant.
  6. 5.0/5
    Interesting case studies and clearly made points.
  7. 5.0/5
    An exceptional CPD course.
    Interesting subject matter and very well written.