2. The Uniform Evidence Acts

2–1 To promote and maintain uniformity, the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) should adopt an Intergovernmental Agreement which provides that, subject to limited exceptions, any proposed changes to the uniform Evidence Acts must be approved by SCAG. The agreement should provide for a procedure whereby the party proposing a change requiring approval must give notice in writing to the other parties to the agreement, and the proposed amendment must be considered and approved by SCAG before being implemented.

2–2 All Australian jurisdictions should work towards harmonisation of provisions relating to issues such as children’s evidence and offence-specific evidentiary provisions.

2–3 In order to ensure the maintenance of harmonisation over time and the general effectiveness of the uniform Evidence Acts, Australian governments should consider initiating a joint review of the uniform Evidence Acts within 10 years from the tabling of this Report.

2–4 Section 4(1) of the Commonwealth and New South Wales Evidence Acts should be amended to delete the words ‘in relation’ from the phrase ‘in relation to all proceedings’. The words ‘in relation’ should also be deleted from sections 4(5), (5A) and 5 of the Commonwealth Evidence Act.

2–5 The definition of ‘NSW court’ in the Dictionary to the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) should be amended to delete the parenthetical words ‘including such a court exercising federal jurisdiction’.