Review of particular criminal defences

The Queensland Government has asked us to examine and make recommendations about particular defences in the Criminal Code:

  • self-defence in sections 271 and 272
  • provocation as a defence to assault in sections 268 and 269
  • provocation as a partial defence to murder in section 304
  • the partial defence to murder of killing for preservation in an abusive domestic relationship in section 304B, and
  • domestic discipline in section 280.

We are asked to recommend if any changes are needed to reform the law, practice or procedure concerning those defences, including if:

  • self-defence should be made simpler and clearer
  • self-defence should be expanded to cover circumstances when a victim-survivor of domestic or family violence acts reasonably to protect themselves from a perpetrator
  • self-defence should continue to distinguish between provoked and unprovoked assaults and whether it should be limited to circumstances of assault against a person
  • the defence of provocation to assault should be repealed
  • the partial defence to murder of provocation should be repealed.

As recommended by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, the terms of reference require us to consider the mandatory penalty of life imprisonment for murder, specifically:

  • the impact of the mandatory penalty on the operation of the defences, and
  • whether the mandatory penalty should be removed.

Terms of Reference

The terms of reference   (PDF, 777.9 KB) from the Attorney-General are available for download.

Project timeline

The review started on 15 November 2023.

We are releasing a series of background papers to provide information on topics relevant to the review and prompt discussion.

A consultation paper will be published in late-2024. It will include questions for consultation and ask for submissions.

Our final report with recommendations and draft legislation will be given to the Government by 1 December 2025.

More information

If you would like more information on the criminal defences review, email: .

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