Novak Djokovic wins appeal against visa denial in Australia

World number one male tennis player Novak Djokovic has won an appeal in Australia’s Federal Circuit Court against a decision to deny him a visa ahead of the Australian Open.

Anthony Kelly overturned the visa cancellation and ordered the Australian government to pay the legal costs and release Djokovic from detention within half an hour.

But public prosecutor Christopher Tran informed the court that the immigration minister, Alex Hawke – not the minister who canceled the original visa – would now consider whether to exercise personal power to revoke Djokovic’s visa.

Earlier in the day Djokovic was removed from detention to be with his lawyers during the hearing, and Judge Anthony Kelly expressed agitation over Djokovic’s rejection of his medical exemption.

Djokovic’s lawyers presented their arguments in court, but public prosecutor Mr. Tran spoke for only half an hour before a lengthy adjournment.

During that break both sides agreed on the minutes of Judge Kelly’s order.

Minutes note Djokovic was not given sufficient time to respond to the notification of the cancellation of his visa.

Earlier, the court published an order made yesterday that Djokovic be taken from the Park Hotel where he had been lodged since Thursday and brought to “the premises specified by the applicant’s counsel” during the hearing.

The hearing was delayed due to technical issues with the court’s video link, but Djokovic’s lawyers presented their case before Judge Kelly, who asked the court, “What else could this man do?” And said he was “excited” about the issue of Djokovic’s medical exemption.

“Here, a professor and a reputedly qualified physician have sought and granted medical exemption to the applicant,” Judge Kelly said.

“Furthermore, that medical exemption and the basis on which it was granted were granted separately by another independent expert expert panel set up by the Victorian state government and that document was in the hands of the representative.”

Djokovic’s lawyer, Nicholas Wood, has argued that the notice of intent to revoke his visa was flawed because it was built on a “confusing mixture of two grounds”.
They also argued that Djokovic was treated at the airport as if having access to lawyers could be helpful in the case and that he was not given a fair chance to respond to the notice.

At a news conference, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked by a reporter to respond to comments by Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tilly, who said he had been given conflicting government advice on medical exemptions.

Mr Morrison said: “Well, the matter is before the court so I can’t comment on the matter before the court … but with respect to the government, the advice of the federal government to our government, Tennis Australia, which set out It was very clearly in November, as I read the quote from the same forum, it couldn’t be more clear.”

Mr Morrison declined to comment on court documents submitted by the government which indicate Djokovic could remain in custody despite winning his appeal.
The documents urged the court only to “set aside the judgment and cost” and stated that “it is unreasonable to make any further orders, whether for immediate release or even sent to the representative for reconsideration in accordance with law.” do”.

He also noted: “The order of immediate release does not preclude re-custodial having the power to detain.”

Court documents produced by Djokovic’s lawyers revealed that the player had contracted COVID-19 in December 2021. The documents said the infection was the basis for Djokovic’s medical exemption.

The documents also noted that Djokovic expressed “shock”, “surprise, and “confusion” when he was informed of his visa cancellation” given that (as he understood it) he entered Australia. did everything needed to be done”.

But Australia’s Department of Home Affairs filed court documents that said “there is no such thing as assurance of entry into Australia by a non-citizen” and noted that the minister has the power to revoke Djokovic’s visa for a second time. If the court makes the rule in his favor.

“As the Court had taken up with the parties in the previous mention, if this Court were to pass an order in favor of the applicant, it would be for the Respondent to administer the Act in accordance with the law. may decide whether to do or not to annul another, but the Act has other powers, as the Court shall know.”