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Queensland Law Reform Commission report on expunging criminal convictions for historical gay sex offences – tabled in Parliament –
29 November 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission’s Report No. 74, Expunging criminal convictions for historical gay sex offences, was tabled in Parliament today by the Attorney-General.

For more information, click here.


Queensland Law Reform Commission report on laws governing neighbourhood disputes about dividing fences and trees – tabled in Parliament on 11 May 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission's Report No. 72, Review of the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 (Qld), was tabled in Parliament on 11 May 2016.

For more information, click here.


Queensland Law Reform Commission report on mandatory reporting laws for the early childhood education and care sector – tabled in Parliament on 25 February 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission’s Report No. 73, Review of Child Protection Mandatory Reporting Laws for the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector, was tabled in Parliament today.

For more information, click here.


Queensland Law Reform Commission releases a consultation paper on expunging historical gay sex convictions – 16 February 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission has been asked to undertake a review to ‘recommend how Queensland can expunge criminal convictions for “historical gay sex offences” from a person’s criminal history’.

For more information, click here.


Queensland Law Reform Commission releases a discussion paper on mandatory reporting laws for the early childhood education and care sector – 31 July 2015

The Queensland Law Reform Commission has been requested to undertake a review to determine whether the legislative mandatory reporting requirements under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) should be expanded to apply to the early childhood education and care sector (the ECEC Sector), including long day care and family day care services and kindergartens.

For more information, click here.


Queensland Law Reform Commission releases a discussion paper on neighbourhood dispute laws about dividing fences and trees –
30 June 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission has released a discussion paper inviting submissions from the community about Queensland legislation governing disputes about dividing fences and trees.

The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 (Qld) (the Act) has been operating for three years. The Commission has been asked to review its operation and effectiveness.

For more information, click here.



Queensland Law Reform Commission report on expunging criminal convictions for historical gay sex offences – tabled in Parliament –
29 November 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission’s Report No. 74, Expunging criminal convictions for historical gay sex offences (the ‘Report’), was tabled in Parliament today by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills, The Honourable Yvette D'Ath.

Consensual adult male homosexual activity ceased to be a criminal offence in Queensland on 19 January 1991.

On 4 January 2016, the Commission received terms of reference from the Attorney-General asking it to ‘recommend how Queensland can expunge criminal convictions for “historical gay sex offences” from a person’s criminal history’.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Justice Jackson said:

“Expungement schemes with varying features have been introduced in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and England and Wales. Draft legislation for an expungement scheme has also been released in Tasmania. The main purpose of the review was to consider what the nature and features of an expungement scheme in Queensland should be, and how it should operate.

The Commission makes 31 recommendations.

Justice Jackson stated: “The Commission’s recommendations are informed by a number of general principles:

  • “Expungement is a significant legal step and requires an objective and procedurally fair decision-making framework.
  • Convictions and charges for historical gay sex offences should be expunged if the conduct constituting the offence is no longer an offence under the current law.
  • An expungement scheme should be practical to implement, taking into account the age, form and diversity of relevant records and record keeping systems, and the importance of preserving historical records for legitimate research purposes.
  • Like other expungement schemes, the proposed expungement scheme should seek to restore a person’s position so that, as far as possible, they are treated in law as if the conviction had never been imposed.
  • An expungement scheme should recognise the wider impact on individuals and the LGBTI community of the continued existence of historical gay sex convictions on a person’s criminal history, and the reparative purpose of expungement.
  • An expungement scheme should be as simple and clear as possible both for those seeking expungement and those administering the scheme.”

“The Commission recommends that the proposed scheme should be administrative, rather than judicial. Members of the judiciary are experienced in deciding legal questions on the facts of each case. However, the degree of formality and potential publicity of a judicial process is unsuitable to an expungement scheme that should be kept as simple as possible and which should not involve a retrial or formal rehearing of evidence. The Report recommends that applications for expungement should be decided by the Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.”

“Applications for expungement should be made and assessed on a case-by-case basis. Each conviction or charge, and its circumstances, should be assessed against available records, and the decision-maker must be satisfied that the following criteria have been met:

  1. the other person involved in the conduct constituting the offence (the ‘other person’) consented to the conduct;
  2. the other person was of or above the relevant age of consent; and
  3. the conduct constituting the offence did not occur in a place to which the public are permitted to have access,” Justice Jackson said.

Justice Jackson emphasised that: “The need for these criteria principally arises because the eligible offences may be constituted not only by conduct that has been legalised, but in some cases also by conduct that remains criminal.”

“The Report recommends the proposed legislation should provide for an expunged conviction or charge to be revived if it was expunged on the basis of false or misleading information,” Justice Jackson said.

The Report also recommends that an applicant should be able to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for review of a decision to refuse an application for expungement or for review of a decision to revive an expunged conviction or charge.

Justice Jackson said: “The Executive Summary to the Report includes an overview of the proposed scheme which the Commission recommends, together with a useful comparative jurisdictional guide outlining the key elements of the Commission’s proposed expungement scheme compared against similar schemes in other jurisdictions. Further detail about the scheme recommended by the Commission is outlined in the Commission’s recommendations which are collated together, following the Executive Summary.”

“The Commission undertook extensive community consultation as part of its review and thanks all those organisations and individuals who contributed to this process”, Justice Jackson said.

A copy of the full report is available online at the Commission’s website at: <http://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/publications>.

For further information about the report, please contact Mr David Groth or Mrs Cathy Green at the Queensland Law Reform Commission Secretariat by email at LawReform.Commission@justice.qld.gov.au or by telephone on
(07) 3247 4544.


Queensland Law Reform Commission releases report on laws governing neighbourhood disputes about dividing fences and trees — released 11 May 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission’s Report No. 72, Review of the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 (Qld), was tabled in Parliament on 11 May 2016.

The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 (Qld) (the Act) provides a State-wide statutory framework to assist neighbours to resolve issues and disputes about dividing fences and trees.

The Commission was asked to review the Act to determine whether it is working effectively and whether it can be improved.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Justice David Jackson, said:

“The Commission concludes that overall the Act provides clear rules about neighbours’ responsibilities for dividing fences and trees to help them to avoid disputes, as well as effective and accessible mechanisms to help neighbours resolve dividing fences and tree disputes if they do arise.”

“However, the Commission’s report also makes a number of recommendations to improve the Act, including its simplicity and ease of use”, Justice Jackson said.

In relation to trees, the Commission’s recommendations include amendments to:

  • more clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of neighbours and tree-keepers and the remedies available to affected neighbours;
  • give neighbours affected by a tree on land more than 4 hectares the right to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an order about the tree;
  • increase the current maximum amount from $300 to $500 that tree-keepers must pay towards the removal of overhanging branches when served with a notice under the Act;
  • expand the matters that QCAT must consider when making orders about trees to include whether the tree detracts from the amenity of the land affected by a tree; and
  • limit the scope of QCAT’s power to make orders about severe obstruction of sunlight and severe obstruction of views by a tree.

The Commission’s recommendations about dividing fences include amendments to:

  • remove doubt about the types of land to which the Act applies; and
  • enhance the power of QCAT to make orders in urgent circumstances to prevent an adjoining owner from constructing or demolishing an unauthorised dividing fence.

The Commission also recommends changes in relation to the Act’s dispute resolution processes, remedies and penalties, including amendments to:

  • provide a stronger focus on informal resolution by neighbours before approaching QCAT;
  • ensure greater procedural consistency between tree disputes and dividing fence disputes before QCAT, and to improve the accessibility of QCAT proceedings; and
  • shift the focus away from punishment and toward a practical approach to non-compliance with QCAT orders about dividing fences and trees, including by allowing applications to QCAT for further orders in the event of non-compliance.

The report also makes a number of suggestions in relation to public education and awareness about the Act to enhance community education and awareness.

“The Commission undertook extensive community consultation as part of its review and thanks all those organisations and individuals who contributed to this process”, Justice Jackson said.

The report is available on the Commission’s website at http://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/publications.


Queensland Law Reform Commission report on mandatory reporting laws for the early childhood education and care sector released –
25 February 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission’s Report No. 73, Review of Child Protection Mandatory Reporting Laws for the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector, was tabled in Parliament today.

Mandatory reporting is a legislative requirement imposed by statute to report a suspected case of child abuse to a relevant authority.

Workers in the early childhood education and care sector (the ECEC Sector) in Queensland, which includes long day care and family day care services and kindergartens, are not subject to a mandatory reporting requirement.

The Commission was requested to undertake a review to determine whether the mandatory reporting requirements under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) should be expanded to apply to the ECEC sector.

The Commission has recommended that the mandatory reporting obligation under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) (‘the Act’) should be expanded to apply to approved ECEC services under the Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) and the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (Qld).

The Commission has also recommended that the mandatory reporting obligation should apply to an approved provider, nominated supervisor or family day care co-ordinator of an approved ECEC service, or a person employed by an approved ECEC service who holds at least an approved certificate III level education and care qualification or higher.

The Commission’s recommendations are based on extensive research and on public consultation.

A copy of the full report is available online at the Commission’s website at: http://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/publications.

An Executive Summary is included at the beginning of the Report.

For further information about the report, please contact Mr David Groth or Mrs Cathy Green at the Queensland Law Reform Commission Secretariat by email at LawReform.Commission@justice.qld.gov.au or by telephone on
(07) 3247 4544.


Queensland Law Reform Commission releases a consultation paper on expunging historical gay sex convictions – 16 February 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission has been asked to undertake a review to ‘recommend how Queensland can expunge criminal convictions for “historical gay sex offences” from a person’s criminal history’.

Consensual adult male homosexual activity ceased to be a criminal offence in Queensland in 1991.

The Commission has released a Consultation Paper (WP 74) seeking the community’s input on the issues raised in the review.  The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 29 March 2016.

In recent years, expungement legislation has been passed in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and, most recently, the Australian Capital Territory. Legislation has been foreshadowed in Tasmania, and calls for similar reform have also been made in New Zealand.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Justice David Jackson, said:

“The consultation paper gives an overview of the relevant legal issues in the review, and asks a number of specific questions. These questions relate to:

    • whether the expungement of historical gay sex offences can be achieved under existing laws or whether it requires a new legislative scheme;
    • eligibility for such a scheme;
    • the criteria for expungement;
    • the effect of a conviction becoming expunged;
    • procedural features; and
    • other miscellaneous matters".

Justice Jackson said:

“The scope and effect of expungement schemes operating in other jurisdictions are different. There are, however, some key similarities. In particular, each scheme operates on a case-by-case basis with the general purpose of expunging convictions for conduct that would not now be an offence”.

The consultation paper is available online under ‘Publications’ at http://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/publications#2

For further information about the review, please contact Mr David Groth or Mrs Cathy Green at the Queensland Law Reform Commission Secretariat by email at LawReform.Commission@justice.qld.gov.au or by telephone on (07) 3247 4544.


Queensland Law Reform Commission releases a discussion paper on mandatory reporting laws for the early childhood education and care sector – 31 July 2015

The Queensland Law Reform Commission has been requested to undertake a review to determine whether the legislative mandatory reporting requirements under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) should be expanded to apply to the early childhood education and care sector (the ECEC Sector), including long day care and family day care services and kindergartens.

The Commission has released a Discussion Paper (WP 73). The discussion paper is available online under ‘Current reviews’ and under ‘Publications’.

The Commission is seeking submissions on the issues raised in the discussion paper.  The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 30 September 2015.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Justice David Jackson, said:

“Mandatory reporting is a requirement imposed by statute to report a suspected case of child abuse to a relevant authority. All Australian states and territories have enacted mandatory reporting laws of some description. However, the extent of the requirement is not the same in the different jurisdictions.

In Queensland, the persons required to report such cases under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) include doctors, registered nurses, teachers, police officers who work in child protection, people engaged to perform a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014 (Qld), and officers and employees working with children in the care of departmental or licensed care services.

Workers in the ECEC sector are not subject to a mandatory reporting requirement”.

Justice Jackson said:

“If the Commission recommends that mandatory reporting should be expanded to apply to the ECEC Sector, it is also required to make recommendations as to which professionals, office holders or workers within the ECEC sector should be subject to the mandatory reporting requirements. In undertaking its review, the Commission is required to  ensure that any recommendations for reform are practical, workable and cost-effective for both the child care industry and government”.

The Terms of Reference also require that if the Commission determines there should not be such an expansion, it is required to provide reasons for this position.

For further information about the review, please contact Mr David Groth or Mrs Cathy Green at the Queensland Law Reform Commission Secretariat by email at LawReform.Commission@justice.qld.gov.au or by telephone on (07) 3247 4544.


Queensland Law Reform Commission releases a discussion paper on neighbourhood dispute laws about dividing fences and trees –
30 June 2016

The Queensland Law Reform Commission has released a discussion paper inviting submissions from the community about Queensland legislation governing disputes about dividing fences and trees.

The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 (Qld) (the Act) has been operating for three years. The Commission has been asked to review its operation and effectiveness.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Justice David Jackson, said:

“The Act provides rules about each neighbour’s responsibility for dividing fences and for trees so that neighbours are able to resolve any issues about dividing fences and trees without a dispute arising.

Where neighbours are not able to resolve those issues, the Act has different mechanisms to help neighbours facilitate the resolution of any disputes about dividing fences or trees”.

Justice Jackson said:

“The discussion paper, Review of the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011, explores a range of issues under the terms of reference including:

  • whether the allocation of responsibilities, liabilities and rights under the Act promotes resolution by neighbours of issues relating to dividing fences and trees;
  • whether dispute resolution processes under the Act are fair, just and effective;
  • the simplicity and ease of use of the Act for members of the community;
  • whether the Act provides the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) with sufficient powers to resolve issues;
  • the remedies and penalties provided in the Act;
  • QCAT’s power to make orders to protect the severe obstruction of a view;
  • the ability of a neighbour to serve a notice on a tree owner to prune overhanging branches; and
  • whether the scope of the Act should be expanded to include disputes about retaining walls built on neighbouring properties' boundaries.

“The Commission wants to hear the views of the community about how the Act is working in practice and whether it can be improved.” Justice Jackson said.

The discussion paper is available online at http://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/publications#2.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 10 August 2015.

For further information about the review, please contact David Groth or Cathy Green at the Queensland Law Reform Commission Secretariat by email at LawReform.Commission@justice.qld.gov.au or by telephone on (07) 3247 4544.

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