Hearings into asylum seekers kept on ship

THE High Court on Tuesday began examining the legality of the Australian Government's detainment of more than 150 Tamil asylum seekers on the high seas in June.

The controversial case will seek to determine the validity of laws used to detain the 157 asylum seekers, including 50 children, reportedly held in windowless rooms aboard a naval vessel for a month.

Lawyers for the asylum seekers have argued the detainment amounted to false imprisonment and have argued the government did not have the right to keep them on the ship.

While the government has argued it was legal, the case has raised issues about applying Australian laws outside the nation's territorial waters.

The hearings continue on Wednesday.