Monday, August 19, 2013

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Issues Paper on Evidence Legislation

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland has released an issues paper on the Consolidation of evidence legislation:
"As part of its forthcoming Report on Evidence (the “Report”) the Commission is considering recommending the consolidation of existing legislation concerning the law of evidence , together with reform of three areas of the law of evidence : hearsay, documentary (including electronic) evidence and expert evidence . The Commission envisages the Report having two aspects . The Commission first intends to discuss and make recommendations concerning a general consolidation of the existing legislation on the law of evidence, both pre-1922 and post-1922, (the “general consolidation”). This will be the focus of Chapter 1 of the Report. In the remaining chapters of the Report, the Commission also intends to discuss the consolidation and reform of the law on hearsay, documentary (including electronic) evidence and expert evidence , on which the Commission has published three separate Consultation Papers (the “specific reforms”) . The law in these three areas comprises a combination of common law and legislation, and the Commission’s Report will involve recommendations proposing consolidating and reforming the existing law . In this context, the Commission is minded to take this opportunity to consolidate into a single Bill the existing legislation together with the reforms being proposed on hearsay, documentary and electronic evidence and expert evidence. While this would not produce, at this stage, a comprehensive statement in legislative form of all the law of evidence, the Commission considers that, taking into account the reforms being proposed in the three specific areas mentioned, it would constitute a worthwhile step in that direction (...) "

"The Commission is currently inclined towards appending to its forthcoming Report a single draft Evidence Bill containing both the general consolidation and the specific reforms discussed above, which would in general apply to both civil and criminal proceedings. This general approach would be subject to some exceptions such as in the area of hearsay in respect of which the Commission is currently inclined to the view that separate treatment for civil and criminal proceedings is required."
As the Commission explains:
"The purpose of an Issues Paper is to provide a summary or outline of a project on which the Commission is embarking or on which work is already underway, and to provide readers with an opportunity to express views and to make suggestions and comments on specific questions (...) These Issues Papers represent current thinking within the Commission on the various items mentioned. They should not be taken as representing settled positions that have been taken by the Commission."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:18 pm

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