Jury Directions: Terms of Reference

In January 2008, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to review and report on the law and practice of judges' directions to juries under the following terms of reference:  

The Victorian Law Reform Commission is to review and to recommend any procedural, administrative and legislative changes that may simplify, shorten or otherwise improve the charges, directions and warnings given by judges to juries in criminal trials. In particular, the Commission should:

(a) identify directions or warnings which may no longer be required or could be simplified;

(b) consider whether judges should be required to warn or direct the jury in relation to matters that are not raised by counsel in the trial;

(c) clarify the extent to which the judge need summarise the evidence for the jury.

In conducting the review the Victorian Law Reform Commission should have regard to:

  • the themes and principles of the Attorney-General's Justice Statement (2004);
  • the rights enshrined in Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
  • the overall aims of the criminal justice system including:
    - the prompt and efficient resolution of criminal trials; and
    - procedural fairness for accused people.

The Commission is to report by 1 March 2009.

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