Forfeiture

On 29 October 2013, the Attorney-General asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to review the common law rule of forfeiture and propose legislative reform if necessary. 

The forfeiture rule prevents a person who has unlawfully killed another from inheriting from their victim or acquiring another financial benefit from the death. It is an expression of the fundamental principle that crime should not pay, and it conveys the community’s strongest disapproval of homicide.

The Commission produced a consultation paper in March 2014, which discussed three approaches to legislative reform and invited submissions. 

The Commission received 17 submissions and conducted consultations with legal practitioner, academics, community-based organisations and relevant government agencies. 

The report was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 14 October 2014. The Commission concluded that the rule should continue to apply in all cases of murder and most other cases. However, some reform was necessary because in a small number of cases the rule does not operate fairly. These are cases that involve significantly reduced moral culpability. The Commission’s proposed reforms also reflected changes in other jurisdictions.

The introduction of a new Forfeiture Act was recommended, to clarify when the rule applies and how it affects the distribution of the deceased person’s estate. It was also suggested that the Supreme Court should be able to modify the effect of the rule in individual cases, except murder. 

Download the report from the links below.

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
View full timeline

Project Publications

Forfeiture rule report (pdf)

The Commission's report on the forfeiture rule was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 14 October 2014.  Download a pdf file of the report from...

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Forfeiture rule report (html)

The Commission's report on the forfeiture rule was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 14 October 2014.  Navigate through the document using the...

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Forfeiture Rule: received submissions

See the links below to the public submissions to the Commission's review of the Forfeiture Rule, placed here by permission of those who...

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Forfeiture Rule: consultation paper (pdf)

The Victorian Law Reform Commission has been asked to review the common law rule of forfeiture and the circumstances in which it should not be...

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Forfeiture Rule: consultation paper (html version)

The Victorian Law Reform Commission has been asked to review the common law rule of forfeiture and the circumstances in which it should not be...

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Forfeiture rule: terms of reference

The Victorian Law Reform Commission is asked to review the common law rule of forfeiture and the circumstances in which it should no longer be...

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