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Monday, 14 December 2009

The CPA is almost here ... if only we knew what it says

Elucubrator's inspired prediction has been proved correct - but by the slimmest of margins. Reprints of the amended Criminal Procedure Act 2009 will not be released before it comes into effect on New Year's Day, but they have been printed and will be available from Jan 4.

In an ideal world it would have come out much earlier. The amending Act, the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2009, contains so many changes to the original that it would be dangerous to rely on the current print. I've got no objection to doing my own statutory interpretation but I draw the line at having to assemble the legislation myself like a mecchano set.

Last week's InBrief advised that updated reprints will be released on 4 January 2010. Other acts which are affected will be reprinted with their amendments as the year goes on.

Both AustLII and Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents only consolidate their legislation when it comes into force. (I don't know how long this takes, I assume it's an automated function). So updated versions of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 will also not be available on their services until the new year.

The CPA comes into force having had a lot less scrutiny than the Evidence Act it arrives with. Nobody has been game to attempt to produce an annotated textbook because of uncertainty about what the act would eventually contain. The Judicial College have produced a Victorian Criminal Proceedings Manual which does not follow the CPA section by section, but instead provides an overview of the legislation and broad statements of legal principle. The JCV added six new chapters to their Manual last week.

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