Dr Anton Hughes

Application of the Uniform Evidence Acts

The application of the acts is set out s4 of the Acts. The NSW Act applies all NSW courts, and includes all bodies required to apply the laws of evidence.

Generally speaking, the law of evidence applies to all proceedings, including interlocutory proceedings and bail applications.

The most notable exception is sentencing proceedings, to which the Act does not apply, unless the court directs: s4(1)(d), (2).

Section 4(3) gives some guidance as to when the court will make such a direction. The court must direct where proceedings involves proof of a fact, and that fact will be significant in determining sentence.

In addition, note s4(4), which provides that the court must direct the act applies if it is in the interests of justice to do so.

In R v Lewis (unrep, NSWSC 1996), Dowd J held that where sentencing proceedings follow a trial, such a direction ought be made.

In relation to sentencing proceedings, also note s94(2) by virtue of which the tendency coincidence rules do not apply.

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