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Life Lessons from The Castle

Dennis Denuto

The Castle.

If any movie were to be mandated viewing for Australian law students, this 1997 Darryl vs Goliath tale would have to be at the top of the list.

But it’s more than just the ultimate Constitutional Law procrastination tool. Here are a few law and life lessons from Darryl Kerrigan, Dennis Denuto and Lawrence Hammill…

Always be Well Prepared for Court

The well-meaning but out-of-his-depth Dennis Denuto representing Darryl Kerrigan in the Federal Court:

Judge: What section of the Constitution has been breached?

Dennis: Section…what section? There is no one section…it’s just the vibe of the thing….

Dennis: In summing up it's the constitution, it's Mabo, it's justice, it's law, it's the Vibe and, no that's it, it's the vibe. I rest my case.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Closing

Lawrence Hammill’s closing in the High Court:

You may think our appeal is based on emotion rather than law – not true. It is about the highest law in this country; the constitution. And one phrase within it: ‘On just terms’. That’s what this is all about, being just.

They want to pay only for the home, but they are taking away more than that, so much more.

Sure the Kerrigans built a house, then they built a home and family. You can acquire a house, but you can’t acquire a home. Because a home is not built of bricks and mortar, but love and memories. You can’t pay for it, and you’re only short-changing people if you try.

I can’t speak for those who wrote this document, but I’ll bet that when they put in the phrase ‘On just terms’, they hoped to stop anyone shortchanging someone like Darryl Kerrigan.

Be Noble in Victory

Dad reckons it's important to be noble in victory, so he spoke to the other QC…

How’s the Serenity?

Darryl’s catchphrase is an important reminder for any stressed out law student: don’t forget to stop and enjoy life every now and again.

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