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The latest issue of the Journal of Judicial Administration (Volume 31 Part 2) contains the following material:
It is fundamental to a fair trial that the jury understands its task and makes decisions in accordance with the law. Social science research overwhelmingly concludes that jurors have significant difficulties in understanding jury directions. However, this research has had limited impact on the law and guiding jurors. It is not reasonable to expect all judges to become experts on juror comprehension. This article argues that a Juries Advisory Council (JAC) should be established to develop and test ways of improving juror comprehension of their task. The Council should be interdisciplinary in nature. The model proposed in this article draws on the functions of Victoria’s Sentencing Advisory Council and Judicial College to identify and elaborate on the role of a JAC. The Council would provide the knowledge and support that judges need to improve juror comprehension and the fairness of trials.
This article examines the feasibility of mainstreaming therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) in the criminal magistrates courts in south-east Queensland. It examines the court structures, court programs, legal actors and other staff, and the legislation in place using a “systemic wine and bottles analyses” – a hybridisation of systems measurement theory and the “wine and bottles” analysis technique taken from the field of TJ. The article concludes that there is ample systemic opportunity to mainstream TJ techniques within the criminal magistrates courts. The potential positive implications of this are discussed with reference to the existing systems of care and control, and the effect on offenders, magistrates and communities.
Section 138 of the uniform evidence legislation deals with the discretion to exclude improperly or illegally obtained evidence, “unless the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence that has been obtained in the way in which the evidence was obtained”. Unlike the common law, s 138 places the onus of proof on the Crown to justify the admission of improperly or illegally obtained evidence. This article argues that this should be reversed. The balancing exercise is undertaken through an examination of a non-exhaustive list of matters to be taken into account by the court as set out in s 138(3)(a)–(h), and whether these matters should be prioritised in some form. The interaction between s 138 and the s 90 discretion to exclude admissions is also considered.
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