Recklessness laws should not change

The Victorian Law Reform Commission was asked to review whether the definition of recklessness in Victoria should change, and whether a definition should be written into the Crimes Act.

The Commission has concluded that recklessness test for offences against the person should not change and does not need to be legislated. Its recommendation appears in the Recklessness: Report tabled in Parliament on 28 May 2024.

Our conclusion, that there is no compelling case for reform, is based on:

  • extensive research including key cases and data about charging and sentencing
  • 15 consultations with the OPP, courts, Victoria Police, and the legal profession, victims of crime and academics
  • 21 submissions
  • a review of the law in other jurisdictions
  • hypothetical scenarios supplied by the OPP and Victoria Police
  • proposed alternative definitions.

We heard support for keeping the current ‘probability’ test from a majority of those we consulted with and received submissions from. We were told that the test is well established, works well and does not result in excessive appeals. The current test is clear, accessible and consistent.

There are risks involved in changing the current test. A ‘possibility’ test would be too broad. Other changes would add complexity, create inconsistencies and could impact unfairly on young people and First Nations people.

View the Recklessness: Report

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