‘New directions for law in Australia’ is out!

ANU Press has now published New Directions for Law in Australia: Essays in Contemporary Law ReformThe book is available free as a download, or at a cost as a print-on-demand hard copy.

My chapter

How Interpretation of Indistinct Covert Recordings Can Lead to Wrongful Conviction: A Case Study and Recommendations for Reform (PDF, 0.1MB)

Find the audio version here to hear all the examples and audience reactions

Covert recording (‘bugging’) is now authorised in almost every major police investigation. Unfortunately, because the need for secrecy compromises control over recording conditions, the audio is often indistinct. Legal practice regarding the use of indistinct covert recordings in trials has evolved haphazardly over the past 30 years, with no consultation of phonetic science. is has resulted in a number of anomalies, notably the fact that detectives are allowed (as ‘ad hoc experts’) to present their own transcripts of indistinct audio to ‘assist’ the jury in interpreting the audio evidence. This chapter highlights problems with this practice via a case study of a murder conviction obtained on the basis of a demonstrably inaccurate police transcript, then suggests directions for reform.

Book blurb

For reasons of effectiveness, efficiency and equity, Australian law reform should be planned carefully. Academics can and should take the lead in this process. This book collects over 50 discrete law reform recommendations, encapsulated in short, digestible essays written by leading Australian scholars. It emerges from a major conference held at The Australian National University in 2016, which featured intensive discussion among participants from government, practice and the academy. The book is intended to serve as a national focal point for Australian legal innovation. It is divided into six main parts: commercial and corporate law, criminal law and evidence, environmental law, private law, public law, and legal practice and legal education. In addition, Indigenous perspectives on law reform are embedded throughout each part. This collective work—the first of its kind—will be of value to policy makers, media, law reform agencies, academics, practitioners and the judiciary. It provides a bird’s eye view of the current state and the future of law reform in Australia.

Other chapters

Foreword The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Introduction Ron Levy, Molly O’Brien, Simon Rice, Pauline Ridge and Margaret Thornton

Keynote: Reforming Law – The Role of Theory Margaret Davies

Part I. Commercial and Corporate Law

1  The Privatisation of Australian Corporate Law Ross Grantham

2  On the Road to Improved Social and Economic Welfare: The Contribution to Australian Competition and Consumer Law and Policy Law Reform Russell Miller AM

3  Tax, Inequality and Challenges for the Future John Passant

4  Brand New ‘Sharing’ or Plain Old ‘Sweating’? A Proposal for Regulating the New ‘Gig Economy’ Joellen Riley

5  Good Call: Extending Liability for Employment Contraventions Beyond the Direct Employer Tess Hardy

6  The Australian House Party Has Been Glorious – But the Hangover May Be Severe: Reforms to Mitigate Some of the Risks Gill North

7  Back to Basics: Reforming Australia’s Private Sector Whistleblowing Laws Kath Hall and Heather Cork

8  Lawyers as Whistleblowers: The Need for a Gatekeeper of Justice Whistleblowing Obligation/Exception Suzanne Le Mire and Christine Parker

Part II. Criminal Law and Evidence

9  Criminal Justice Law Reform Challenges for the Future: It’s Time to Curb Australia’s Prison Addiction Lorana Bartels

10  Is Criminal Law Reform a Lost Cause? Simon Bronitt

11  Rethinking Rape Law Reform: Challenges and Possibilities Wendy Larcombe

12  The Fraught Dichotomy between Context and Tendency Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases – Suggestions for Reform John Anderson

13  Improving the E ectiveness of Corporate Criminal Liability: Old Challenges in a Transnational World Jonathan Clough

14  Stereotypes in the Courtroom Blake M McKimmie

15  The Justice Motive: Psychological Research on Perceptions of Justice in Criminal Law Diane Sivasubramaniam

16  How Interpretation of Indistinct Covert Recordings Can Lead to Wrongful Conviction: A Case Study and Recommendations for Reform Helen Fraser

17  Australia’s Lower-level Criminal Courts: Tackling 21st Century Problems in a 19th Century Paradigm? Anne Wallace

Part III. Environmental Law

18  What is the Mainstream? The Laws of First Nations Peoples Irene Watson

19  Overturning Aqua Nullius: Pathways to National Law Reform Virginia Marshall

20  A Governance Framework for Indigenous Ecological Knowledge Protection and Use Natalie P Stoiano

21  Reforming Environmental Law for Responsiveness to Change Jan McDonald

22  Future Water: Improving Planning, Markets, Enforcement and Learning Cameron Holley

23 Effective Law for Rural Environmental Governance: Meta-Governance Reform and Farm Stewardship Paul Martin, Amanda Kennedy and Jacqueline Williams

Part IV. Private Law

24  Pitfalls of Statutory Reform in Private Law: Recipient Liability for Breach of Trust Darryn Jensen

25  Recent Reforms to Australian Charity Law Matthew Harding

26  Consumer Protection, Recreational Activities and Personal Injury Compensation: Inconsistency in Need of Reform Joachim Dietrich

27  Statutory Interpretation and the Critical Role of Soft Law Guidelines in Developing a Coherent Law of Remedies in Australia Elise Bant and Jeannie Paterson

28  Meeting the Potential of Alternative Remedies in Australian Defamation Law Robyn Carroll and Catherine Graville

29  Designing Reparation: Lessons from Private Law Simone Degeling and Kit Barker

30  Apologies, Liability and Civil Society: Where to from Here? Prue Vines

31  Renovating the Concept of Consent in Contract and Property Law Robyn Honey

32  Nudging Charities to Balance the Needs of the Present against Those of the Future Ian Murray

Part V. Public Law

33  Voluntary Voting for Referendums in Australia: Old Wine, New Bottle Graeme Orr

34  Reforming Constitutional Reform Scott Stephenson

35  Does Australia Need a Popular Constitutional Culture? Lael K Weis

36  Constitutional Dimensions of Law Reform Gabrielle Appleby and Anna Olijnyk

37  The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security: A Point of Increasing Influence in Australian Counter-Terrorism Law Reform? Dominique Dalla-Pozza

38  Rights Dialogue under the Victorian Charter: The Potential and the Pitfalls Julie Debeljak

39  Court Records as Archives: The Need for Law Reform to Ensure Access Andrew Henderson and Kim Rubenstein

40  A Positive Freedom of Public Speech? Australian Media Law Reform and Freedom of Political Communication Andrew T Kenyon

41  The Need for Reform of Australia’s Birth Registration Systems Melissa Castan and Paula Gerber

42  Simplifying Government Secrecy? Daniel Stewart

Part VI. Legal Practice and Legal Education

43  Australian Legal Practice: Ethical Climate and Ethical Climate Change Vivien Holmes, Stephen Tang, Tony Foley and Margie Rowe

44  Strengthening Australian Legal Ethics and Professionalism Adrian Evans

45  Since Lawyers Work in Teams, We Must Focus on Team Ethics Justine Rogers

46  The Legal Roots of a Sustainable and Resilient Economy: New Kinds of Legal Entities, New Kinds of Lawyers? Bronwen Morgan, Joanne McNeill and Isobel Blomfeld

47  Wearing Two Hats: Lawyers Acting as Mediators Mary Anne Noone

48  Enabling Marginalised Voices to Be Heard: The Challenge to Law Reform Bodies Liz Curran

49  The End of Ramism: And the Shape of Things To Come Craig Collins

50  Shared Space and the Regulation of Legal Education Paul Maharg

51  Dreaming of Diversity in Legal Education

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