(Image: Private Media)

James Allsop, chief justice of the Federal Court, did his best to explain to the global audience exactly what Novak Djokovic’s second case against the Australian government was not about.

The case focused, Allsop said before delivering the court’s unanimous verdict, “on whether [the immigration minister’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time] was irrational or legally unreasonable. It is not part of the function of the court to decide upon the merits of the decision.”

Allsop’s point was that the case was not an appeal from Alex Hawke’s decision; that is not legally available. It was an application for “judicial review”: a request to the court to look at the minister’s executive action and determine whether it was one he could have lawfully made.