Date01 July 2016
AuthorJeremy Gans
Publication Date01 July 2016
Jeremy Gans
Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia
Law Reform and Source Material
Rights and freedoms—Australia
TraditionalRights and Freedoms—Encroachment by Commonwealth Laws. Australian Law Reform Commission,
Report No. 129, March 2016. Available at:
This report is the response of Australia’s peak law reform body to an unusual reference requesting
a review of the impact of laws passed by the federal parliament on a list of so-called ‘traditional’
rights and freedoms. Federal laws highlighted by the report as requiring further review include
provisions of Australia’s uniform evidence law on client legal privilege and religious confession
privilege (for conformity with the common law right to a fair trial); reverse onus provisions on fault
elements in drug trafficking offences and taxation offences (for conformity with the presumption of
innocence); legislative provisions abrogating the privilege of self-incrimination (particularly those
that provide only a use immunity), as well as powers to investigate taxation (for conformity with
the common law self-incrimination privilege); and laws permitting the monitoring of certain peo-
ple’s communications with lawyers (for conformity with the common law on legal professional
Death penalty—India
The Death Penalty. Law Commission of India, Report No. 262, August 2015. Available at: http://
This report is the response of India’s peak law reform body to a reference from the Supreme Court of
India in Khade vState of Maharashata (2013) 5 SCC 546 seeking fresh consideration of the purpose of
capital punishment and the executive’s standard for commuting such punishments. The report includes
a discussion of conflicting authorities on so-called ‘rules of prudence’ that the death penalty should not
be applied in cases turning solely on circumstantial evidence or where a lower co urt would have
acquitted; and an outline of instances where defendants sentenced to death were acquitted on appeal
(including cases of concocted evidence), cases where the Supreme Court erred in imposing the death
penalty and cases of wrongful executions revealing failures in the clemency process. The c ommission
ultimately recommends abolishing the death penalty except in terrorism and war-related cases.
Corresponding author:
Jeremy Gans, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, 185 Pelham St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia.
The International Journalof
Evidence & Proof
2016, Vol. 20(3) 254–257
ªThe Author(s) 2016
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DOI: 10.1177/1365712716641568

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