The Bush Lawyer's Guide to

Being a Bush Lawyer

Defamation Commercial Torts Trade Practices Abuse of Process

A Guide for Political Activists by Dr Greg Ogle

Surviving Suits

A Guide for Political Activists

What you might get sued for

Avoiding defamation suits

Protest risk minimisation

Responding to legal threats

Lead Cases to lean on and have sport with

Further information sources

Law Reform

Sport! Having fun with litigation

Being a Bush Lawyer

Bush Lawyer Awards

Threatening Wallpaper


Bush Lawyer Cases & Politics

Beating a SLAPP suit: Animal Lib SA

Gunning for Change: The Need for Public Participation Law Reform

The Gunns Case: Chilling the Environment Movement

Bruce Donald summarises a number of cases of "Defamation Against Public Interest Debate"

Hindmarsh Island - early days

Approaching the Court



This website is authorised by Greg Ogle on behalf of Bush Lawyers Ink, a not for profit legal service brought to you by the legal system's inability to protect the community's right and ability to participate in public debate and protest.


Bush Lawyer's Slogan

(with apologies to Roy & HG)

Too much litigation is never enough!

Bush Lawyer's Portrait

The Bush Lawyer:

  • is not a lawyer
  • reserves the right to abuse the next person who says "have you thought about being a lawyer"
  • used to be an idealist, but has been made cynical by the legal system
  • measures success by political goals, not legal judgements
  • thinks "The Castle" is a more important legal source than the Rules of the Court
  • learns most tricks from the other side or by mimicking "normal" legal practice
  • works till the wee small hours because there are better things to do in daytime
  • has most fun on hopeless cases
  • always represents the progressive community, but (unlike Rumpole) no longer just acts for the defence (see point re cynicism above!)
  • can usually be paid with "beers-in-lieu".

Bush Lawyer's Rules

Like every legal practitioner, the bush lawyer has ethical standards and rules to work by. These are, inter alia:


  • pleadings should be read sober
  • pleadings can be written when drunk, but should be checked in the morning
  • bush lawyer pleadings should usually contain political arguments - just to annoy the other side
  • the form of pleadings can and should be plagiarised from other cases
  • counterclaims should follow the same format as the pleadings brought against you
  • bush lawyer pleadings should always be longer than those from the other side
  • always, always, always counterclaim!

Court Etiquette

  • be civil, not hierarchic or sycophantic
  • do not bow to the judge - it is undemocratic
  • try not to refer to the judge as "Your Honour" when in court, and only refer to the judge as "His Honour" for purposes of parody
  • only use words like "with respect" and "with the greatest respect" in parody, or in the pub afterwards
  • do not refer to the other side's lawyer as "my friend" - they're not
  • always hand-up the austlii/web version of precedent cases - it is archaic to require the leather bound version


  • the rules of the court are to be used to get political outcomes, not to govern behaviour
  • always be suspicious of lawyers on your side - they have their own constraints, and you know your case better
  • never accept the "Nuremberg defence" that lawyers on the other side are simply following instructions - they are an active part of chilling your right to free speech
  • never send a one-page letter to the other side, it is very unsporting
  • try to include at least one piece of Latin in any correspondence, it is much more credible than relying on the "vibe of the constitution" (but about as meaningless)
  • media comment should be actively sought and used to embarrass the other side

Bush Lawyer's Favourite Lawyer Joke

There are actually only two lawyer jokes. All the rest are true stories.


Bush Lawyer's Advice

(with apologies to God and the IWW)

Go forth and multiply!

Multiply the number of cases, the length of cases, the cost of suing activists until there are no more SLAPP suits, or the courts are clogged and the laws are reformed!

Remember the bush lawyer's golden rule

Be careful, not silent

Note: This website is inactive and not being maintained. You are welcome to whatever is useful, but no guarantees that it is up to date.