Current Issues with Regards to the Defences of Provocation and Self-Defence in the Criminal Law Context

Yule, Jennifer M. (2007) Current Issues with Regards to the Defences of Provocation and Self-Defence in the Criminal Law Context. In Australasian Law Teachers Association, 23-26 September 2007, Perth, Australia.

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The relationship between the law and public policy in criminal law is one of mutual influence. Some recent cases highlight the strain between the two. There has been debate about whether the defence of provocation should be changed or abolished as well as consideration of changes to self-defence. Over the years both defences have undergone change through interpretation in cases and through legislative amendments. Tasmania abolished the defence of provocation in 2003 and Victoria followed in 2005. Other Australian jurisdictions as well as New Zealand and the United Kingdom are considering or have made reforms. This has been to some degree in response to cases which have caused concern amongst the public as well as governments. These cases include instances where men have successfully used the defence of provocation after killing their former female partners as well as same sex relationship issues. Provocation and self-defence will be considered in this paper as case studies of the role public outrage plays in promoting law reform and change. The defences will be illustrative of how the tension between public expectations about justice and fairness and perceptions about the role of gender and culture on the one hand and the formal process of law reform to reflect societal evolution on the other hand are resolved. It will be seen that even where there has been public outcry and pressure the response has not been knee-jerk but rather to refer matters to law reform commissions for a considered response. However it does show that there is a lack of proactive review of cases and that public pressure compels issues being put on the agenda rather than academic and professional priority.

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ID Code: 13087
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: criminal law, provocation, self, defence
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Criminal Law and Procedure (180110)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 19 Mar 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:37

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