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Acts Interpretation Amendment (Court Procedures) Bill 2003

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2002-2003



THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA





 

 





HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES







 

 





ACTS INTERPRETATION AMENDMENT (COURT PROCEDURES) BILL 2003











EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM















 

 

 

 







(Circulated by authority of the Attorney-General,

the Honourable Daryl Williams AM QC MP)



 

ACTS INTERPRETATION AMENDMENT (COURT PROCEDURES) BILL 2003 OUTLINE

 

This Bill amends the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) to make it clear that a reference in Commonwealth legislation to a summons, information or complaint (or other current forms of initiating proceedings) includes all relevant methods of initiating proceedings.  This will ensure the continued efficient and effective prosecution of Commonwealth offences where State or Territory procedures change.

 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

There are no direct financial impacts from this Bill.

 







NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

 

Clause 1: Short title

 

The short title of this Act is the Acts Interpretation Amendment (Court Procedures) Act 2003.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

This clause provides that this Act commences on 7 July 2003.

 

Clause 3: Schedule(s)

 

This clause provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended as set out in that Schedule.

 



Schedule 1- Acts Interpretation Act 1901

 

 

Item 1

 

This item inserts a new section 27A into the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.   The new section will ensure that references in Commonwealth legislation to the commencement of proceedings (by State or Territory procedures) are taken to include all documents through which proceedings may be instituted in a court, even where the States or Territories amend their procedures or terminology.

 

This clarification is required as a result of amendments to the New South Wales criminal procedure, which will come into effect on 7 July 2003.  The New South Wales amendments will replace the old system of initiating criminal proceedings by a summons upon an information laid or complaint made before a Justice with issuing and filing a “court attendance notice”.

 

Because of new terminology in the amended New South Wales procedures, certain Commonwealth provisions that refer to existing New South Wales procedures may no longer be effective.  This includes certain aids-to-proof provisions in the Taxation Administration Act , the Excise Act and the Customs Act .  It is likely that if the relevant provisions cannot be relied upon and an accused defends a prosecution, then such prosecutions will be such more resource intensive and that then there is a risk that some prosecutions will fail.

 

This amendment to the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 will maintain the status quo by ensuring that the enforcement of Commonwealth law is not disrupted by changes to State or Territory procedures.

 

 

Item 2

 

The Government aims to have this amendment enacted prior to 7 July 2003, when the changes to the New South Wales criminal procedure come into effect.  In the event that this Bill has not been passed by that time, it provides for the amendment to the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 to apply from 7 July 2003.  As this amendment merely enables existing procedures to continue to operate as before, it does not amount to any new imposition on individuals.