Scots Law News prides itself on bringing readers the latest news, but sometimes it must be admitted that the news is a little behind because the Editor only just found out about it.  Thanks, however, to our Oxford correspondent (Professor David Vaver) for the information that the High Court of Australia considered the status of Scots Gaelic in a judgement of 19 December 1934, and decided by a majority that it was not a European language for the purposes of the Immigration Act 1901-1932.  Under that legislation, immigration into Australia was prohibited for a person who failed to pass the dictation test, that is, write out a passage of 50 words in length in a European language dictated to him by an immigration officer.  In the case the officer had dictated to the would-be immigrant a piece in Scots Gaelic.  The officer himself had learned the language as a child in northern Scotland, but had made no use of it in adult life, had a very poor vocabulary, and little recollection of pronunciation.  The would-be immigrant, Egon Kisch, was a Czech journalist, had acquired a degree of intellectual notoriety for his prolific, investigative, declamatory journalism.  He wanted to attend a Communist front peace congress being held in Australia.  Kisch knew next to nothing of Gaelic and declined to continue with the test.  The High Court decided (Starke J dissenting) that Gaelic was not a European language for the purposes of the Act, with the majority including such great judges as Dixon and Evatt JJ.  In essence their view was that the legislature intended only those languages that were common for all purposes in an organized political community, and that while Gaelic might be European philologically it was not so practically.  The case, R v Wilson ex parte Kisch , is reported at (1934) 52 CLR 234, and can be accessed on the Internet at  http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1934/63.html.  The decision of course antedates the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (for which see Nos 123, 345).  But it seems to have caused some outrage in Australia at the time.  In R v Fletcher (1935) 52 CLR 248 (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1935/1.html) contempt proceedings were issued against the editor and proprietor of the Sydney Morning Herald, who had published various articles and letters criticising the Kisch decision.  Some of the letters apparently came from offended Irishmen.  An article by a Rev. M M MacDonald had spoken of colossal ignorance of Scottish affairs