Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Appealing Down Under...

California's appellate courts are closed today.
Abraham Lincoln
But the courts of Australia are probably humming along.
I mention this because a few years ago, SoCal appellate legend Gideon Kanner recommended an Australian comedy titled The Castle (1997). That movie duly joined my Netflix list of impossible-to-find weird foreign films. Recently, however, Netflix added it to their library of streaming content, so I was able to watch it.

The Castle, reputedly one of Australia's most beloved comedies, tells the tale of a quirky family and its patriarch's quest to save their family home from "compulsory acquisition" (what we'd call an emiment domain action) by a neighboring airport. The movie is a classic for property rights lawyers, who have ably blogged about that angle already. See, e.g., here.
The Castle (1997) Poster
From an appellate angle, the movie's interest lies in portraying our hero's climb through his nation's judicial system all the way to the High Court of Australia. Supreme Court appeals don't often make for enjoyable or comedic cinematic fare. (Amistad, anyone?) For a mere 85 minutes of your time, you'll get insight into a different appellate world and perhaps a few chuckles as well.
(Oh, if you don't know Gideon and are wondering why I'd call him legendary, let's just say that the William & Mary Law School recently named a law journal after him: the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference Journal. In our world, that's when you know you've really made it!)