Monday, December 20, 2004

Push to unify Australia's evidence laws

The Australian Law Reform Commission is preparing to begin an inquiry into unifying evidence law across the nation. At present only the Commonwealth, New South Wales, the ACT and Tasmania operate under a modern codified system of evidence law, while other states use a system based on common law.

Law Reform Commission president Professor David Weisbrot says introducing a single set of evidence laws will reduce legal costs for business and the possibility of different results in different jurisdictions.

"Evidence is so fundamental to our justice system," he said.

"It's about how the courts operate, what lawyers can do, what discretions judges have, that we should really, in a country as small as Australian population and in our legal system, we should have a single set of rules that are consistently applied across the country."

Professor Weisbrot says the inquiry should release its findings by the end of next year.

By ALRC 20 December 04