In 2004, the Commission received terms of reference to review Victoria’s evidence law, with the aim of introducing uniformity with the law that applied in all federal courts and in some other Australian jurisdictions, known as the Uniform Evidence Act.
At the time that the Commission received its terms of reference, the Australian Law Reform Commission and the New South Wales Law Reform Commission were asked by the Federal Attorney-General and NSW Attorney-General to conduct a review of the federal and NSW Uniform Evidence Acts that had been in place since 1995. The Commission joined this review and the three Commissions produced a joint report in 2006 recommending some changes to the Uniform Evidence Act.
In addition to the joint review, the Commission conducted a further review focused on how the Uniform Evidence Act could be implemented in Victoria. The Commission’s report, Implementing the Uniform Evidence Act, was also published in 2006.
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.