Adoption of the uniform evidence legislation: so far and no further?

Hemming, Andrew (2017) Adoption of the uniform evidence legislation: so far and no further? In: Critical perspectives on the uniform evidence law. Federation Press, Sydney, Australia, pp. 34-52. ISBN 978 176002 136 8 (hbk)


This Chapter argues that there will be no further adoption of the uniform evidence legislation, as the three ‘hold out’ States of Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have no present or future intention of relinquishing control of their respective Evidence Acts. This contention is based on letters received by the author from the Attorney-Generals of each State indicating satisfaction with their own respective Evidence Act. The paper critically examines the reasons given in the letters and the implications behind them. The conclusion drawn is that until an effective national evidence law reform mechanism (other than cumbersome references to the Australian Law Reform Commission) is in place to prevent the uniform evidence legislation ossifying, there will be no incentive for the ‘hold out’ States to sign up to the uniform evidence legislation. The alternative mechanism is for the Commonwealth government to promote the advantages of a single Evidence Act operating in both State and Federal legal spheres, whilst stressing the capacity of a State to adopt a separate position on any matter of concern such as developments in identification evidence and the law relating to propensity evidence and uncharged acts. The insertion of s 89A Evidence of silence in criminal proceedings for serious indictable offences into the Uniform Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) is a case in point. Either of these mechanisms is a minimum precondition to overcome the present opposition of the ‘hold out’ States to the uniform evidence legislation.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Law and Justice
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2017 04:43
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2018 01:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: uniform evidence legislation; 3 'hold-out' states; mechanisms to promote full adoption of uniform evidence legislation
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180104 Civil Law and Procedure
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940405 Law Reform

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