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Is the 'Golden Rule' of full prosecution disclosure a modern 'Mission Impossible'?


Plater, D and de Vreeze, L, Is the 'Golden Rule' of full prosecution disclosure a modern 'Mission Impossible'?, Flinders Law Journal, 14, (2) pp. 133-188. ISSN 1838-2975 (2012) [Refereed Article]


It is almost universally acknowledged that the prosecutor's modem role with respect to the disclosure of relevant material in its possession must be that of the candid 'minister of justice' in line with the 'golden rule' of disclosure, which requires full disclosure of any relevant material. Accordingly, the real controversy in relation to disclosure concerns the precise boundaries and content of this duty. This article charts the issues that have arisen since the landmark case of R v Ward [1993] 1 WLR 619 raised serious issues of prosecutorial obligations for disclosure in England. In particular this article asks whether it is realistic to expect the police and/or the prosecuting lawyer to deal fairly and objectively with issues of disclosure. It is clear that the prosecution's disclosure obligations must be framed within a formal disclosure regime. Despite the major problems of principle and practice that have arisen in England, it is, nevertheless, still possible to offer some suggestions about the framework of a formal system of disclosure that is both fair and workable. Considering the effective incorporation of the English system of disclosure into Australia law with R v Mallard (2005) 224 CLR 125, such a framework is appropriate for both England and Australia. Disclosure may be both difficult and expensive to achieve 'but the costs of non-disclosure are now prohibitive'.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Law in context
Research Field:Criminal law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Criminal justice
UTAS Author:Plater, D (Dr David Plater)
UTAS Author:de Vreeze, L (Mrs Lucy Smejkal)
ID Code:81816
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2013-01-08
Last Modified:2018-03-19

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