Evidence

The law of evidence in Australia has been a mixture of statute, common law and rules of court and has varied, sometimes greatly, from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For many years, strong arguments have been put forth to make evidence law uniform in all Australian courts.  

In 2004, the Commission was asked to review Victoria’s evidence law as part of a move to implement the Uniform Evidence Act (UEA) in Victoria. At the time, the UEA applied to all federal courts and the courts of the ACT, NSW, Tasmania and Norfolk Island, and the Victorian Attorney-General directed the Commission to advise on how to implement the UEA in Victoria.

The Australian Law Reform Commission and the New South Wales Law Reform Commission were already conducting a joint review of the federal and NSW Uniform Evidence Acts and the VLRC joined this review. The three Commissions produced a joint report in 2006 recommending changes to the Act. 

In addition to the joint review, the Commission looked at how the Uniform Evidence Act could be implemented in Victoria. Our report, Implementing the Uniform Evidence Act, was also published in 2006. 

Implementation

Most of the recommendations from the ALRC/NSWLRC/VLRC joint review were incorporated into the Model Uniform Evidence Bill adopted by the Standing Committee of Attorneys General in 2007 and further amended in 2010. Most jurisdictions have amended their evidence laws to bring them in line with the Model Uniform Evidence Bill. 

Victoria’s new Evidence Act, enacted in 2008, was based on the Model Uniform Evidence Bill and the Commission’s final report about implementation in Victoria. Subsequent amendments to Victoria’s Evidence Act in 2012 implemented amendments to the Model Uniform Evidence Bill adopted by the Standing Committee of Attorneys General in 2010. 

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
View full timeline

Project Publications

Implementing the Uniform Evidence Act: Report

Two reports on the laws of evidence were tabled in Parliament on 8 February 2006.The Uniform Evidence Law: Report is a joint report of the Victorian...

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Evidence Joint Review - Recommendations

The Uniform Evidence Acts 2–1 To promote and maintain uniformity, the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) should adopt an...

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Evidence Information Paper

In November 2004, the VLRC was asked by the Attorney-General to examine the laws of evidence, especially the Evidence Act (1958) Vic. This...

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Evidence - Terms of Reference

To review the Evidence Act 1958 and other laws of evidence which apply in Victoria and to advise the Attorney-General on the action required to...

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