The Case for Principled and Practical Propensity Evidence Reform by Professor David Hamer

The admissibility of propensity evidence has become an area of notorious difficulty. This was highlighted by the work of the McClellan Royal Commission in the context of the low rate of convictions in relation to alleged child sexual offences, where such evidence can play a decisive role in what might otherwise be a “word against word” case. However, the problems in the application of the current law extend well beyond that area, important as it is. New South Wales is the first state to have introduced a Bill to amend the Uniform Evidence Law on this topic, with other states expected to follow. Whether what is being proposed is the best outcome will be the subject of the Australian Law Journal’s April Current Issues section, written by a leading expert in the law of evidence, Professor David Hamer.