Homicide Law Reform in Victoria: Retrospect and Prospects
Publication Date :
31 Aug 15
2015 marks a decade since the introduction of substantive reform to the law of homicide in Victoria. In 2004 the Victorian Law Reform Commission released, Defences to Homicide: Final Report, which recommended major changes to the law of homicide in Victoria. In 2005, the Victorian government responded to the 56 recommendations by implementing the largest package of homicide law reforms since the abolition of the death penalty. Changes to the law included abolition of the controversial partial defence of provocation, the introduction of a new offence of defensive homicide (now abolished) and evidence reforms designed to improve understandings of family violence. This book brings together leading scholars, legal practitioners and the former Victorian Attorney-General to provide a comprehensive examination of the Victorian experience of reform, including its perceived successes and failures. This is a controversial area of the law that continues to present challenges in practice. Since the 2005 reforms further reform of the law has occurred in Victoria and a range of divergent approaches to homicide law reform have been introduced and animated debate across Australia and internationally. With such a high level of law reform activity nationally, this book provides a timely analysis of the extent to which the Victorian reforms have improved legal responses to lethal violence and with what effect in practice. To further enhance this analysis, the book also looks internationally to consider the operation of homicide law in England and Wales, Canada and New Zealand and what lessons could be gained from understanding the impact of differing approaches to reform. This book explores a number of issues concerning the operation of the law of homicide, sentencing practices, the role of the media, evidence reforms, legal culture, political influences and future reform challenges for Victoria and other Australian jurisdictions. In examining all aspects of the 2005 homicide law reforms, the book draws on the views of those who were involved in reviewing the law of homicide in Victoria, those who recommended and implemented reform, and those who have played a key role in the monitoring and evaluation of the law post-reform in Victoria but also more widely in Australia and internationally. The resulting analysis will be of great interest to legal, criminology and socio-legal scholars as well as legal practitioners and law reformers in Australia and comparative international jurisdictions.