Defences to Homicide - Terms of Reference


On 21 September 2001 the Attorney-General, the Hon Rob Hulls MP, gave the Victorian Law Reform Commission a reference

1.      To examine the law of homicide and consider whether:

  • it would be appropriate to reform, narrow or extend defences or partial excuses to homicide, including self-defence, provocation and diminished responsibility;
  • any related procedural reform is necessary or appropriate to ensure that a fair trial is accorded to persons accused of murder or manslaughter, where such a defence or partial excuse may be applicable; and
  • plea and sentencing practices are sufficiently flexible and fair to accommodate differences in culpability between offenders who are found guilty of, or plead guilty to, murder or manslaughter.

In reviewing these matters, the Victorian Law Reform Commission should have regard to relevant provisions of the Model Criminal Code Officers Committee of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General’s 1998 discussion paper on Fatal Offences Against the Person, along with developments and proposals in other jurisdictions.

2.      To recommend actions, including the development of educational programs, which may be necessary to ensure the effectiveness of proposed legislative, administrative and procedural reforms.


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