A Queensland academic sacked after criticising James Cook University Great Barrier Reef research has been given a date for a High Court challenge.
A Queensland academic sacked after criticising James Cook University Great Barrier Reef research has been given a date for a High Court challenge.

Academic gets date for High Court challenge

Sacked James Cook University professor Peter Ridd has announced the High Court challenge of his controversial dismissal from the institution will be heard in June.

Posting to his Facebook page, Dr Ridd said he had today been notified the case would be heard by the Full Court on June 23 in Canberra.

He urged his supporters to attend the hearing, which is expected to take one day.

"For those who live close to Canberra, Court No. 1 is the large courtroom in the High Court complex so, even with COVID restrictions, there should be plenty of room in the public gallery if you are interested,' the professor wrote.

"I'd certainly be delighted to meet any of you to thank you in person for your support."

Dr Ridd was sacked from his job of almost 30 years with the university in 2018 after he publicly criticised what he described as the institution's lack of quality assurance and misleading, deficient and sensationalist Great Barrier Reef research.

In September 2019, the Federal Circuit Court ordered JCU to pay more than $1.2 million in damages and penalties, finding the university had unlawfully contravened its enterprise agreement.

But the university last year won an appeal against the decision with the full bench of the Federal Court upholding the appeal and setting aside the Federal Circuit Court's September ruling.

In February, the High Court granted special leave for Dr Ridd to appeal the decision.

The case has become a flash point for freedom of speech and intellectual freedom and earlier this year Dr Ridd said the High Court case would determine the future of academic freedom in Australia.

"If we go down … essentially academic freedom doesn't effectively exist," he said.

"Academics will always be wondering, actually, can I really say that. They will just zip up.

"If universities are not there to have robust debate, then what the hell are they there for?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Academic gets date for High Court challenge