20.1 In the uniform Evidence Act jurisdictions, the Acts work in conjunction with evidentiary provisions contained in a range of other federal, state and territory legislation. These evidentiary provisions include those dealing with, for example, the privilege against self-incrimination in the context of regulatory proceedings;[1] warnings to be given to juries in relation to lack of complaint in sexual offence proceedings;[2] protection of complainants in sexual offence proceedings (‘rape shield’ provisions); protection of child witnesses; and evidence in family law proceedings.

20.2 The Inquiry is directed to consider whether, in view of the desirability of clarity, effectiveness and uniformity in evidence law, some of these evidentiary provisions should be incorporated into the uniform Evidence Acts and, if so, in what form.

20.3 As is noted in IP 28, it is beyond the practical scope of the Inquiry to examine in detail all evidentiary provisions and their relationship with the uniform Evidence Acts.[3] This chapter focuses on three areas that were highlighted as being of particular significance in this Inquiry. These are:

  • the ‘rape shield’ provisions contained in state and territory criminal procedure legislation;

  • provisions dealing with child witnesses; and

  • evidence in family law proceedings.

20.4 The discussion and conclusions in this chapter are informed by the Commissions’ common policy position with regard to matters that should be incorporated in the uniform Evidence Acts and matters that should be enacted elsewhere. This policy is discussed in detail in Chapter 2.

20.5 The policy position is based on the propositions that: (i) uniformity in evidence laws should be pursued unless there is good reason to the contrary; (ii) the uniform Evidence Acts should be a comprehensive statement of the laws of evidence (the evidence law ‘pocket bible’); and (iii) the uniform Evidence Acts should be of general application to all criminal and civil proceedings.

[1] See Ch 15.

[2] See Ch 18.

[3] Australian Law Reform Commission, Review of the Evidence Act 1995, IP 28 (2004), [15.4].