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When completed, this publication will contain information in relation to hundreds of different areas of law, including substantive offences, evidentiary rules and preliminary instructions. The scope of the information included will vary depending on the nature of the topic. It is anticipated, however, that there will be three main types of document:

  1. Commentary - The first page in each topic contains brief commentary in relation to the relevant area, to assist judges in determining when to give the charge and the required content of the charge
  2. Charges – These documents provide a template judges can use to direct the jury on the relevant area. Some topics include Additional Charges, which are designed to be added to the primary charge if certain factual circumstances arise.
  3. Checklist – This is a written checklist summarising the relevant law, which can be handed to juries (with appropriate modifications) to assist them with their task.

Each of these documents can be accessed online, under the relevant topic headings. They are intended to provide assistance to judges on how to charge juries in a range of different areas, in a clear, comprehensible and accurate fashion. The precise way in which these documents will be used remains at the judge’s discretion, and it is not anticipated that the documents will be used without modification. Judges are best placed to determine what is appropriate and necessary in each case, and how best to tailor the charge or checklist to the factual circumstances. In appropriate cases it is anticipated that judges will modify the language and order of elements of charges and make whatever other changes are necessary to best communicate the law as it applies in the case before them.

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Victorian Criminal Charge Book


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