Law reforms needed to keep up with technology
Thursday, 31 January 2013
The State's evidence laws should be revamped to bring them up to date with new technologies and to accommodate unknown future technologies, according to a new report from the South Australian Law Reform Institute.
The Institute, based at the University of Adelaide's Law School, will tonight release its first full report on a law reform issue: The Modernisation of South Australian Evidence Law to Deal with New Technologies.
The report will be launched at the University by Deputy Premier and South Australian Attorney-General the Hon. John Rau.
The report recommends removing and replacing two key parts of the South Australian Evidence Act 1929, following consultation with legal and scientific experts, including members of the legal profession.
Among the reforms recommended are:
- streamlining the way documents and material produced by modern technology - such as the Internet, modern digital processes and hybrid technologies - can be brought into evidence;
- the repeal of outdated provisions relating to communications by telegram and telegraph;
- developing new provisions for using electronic and digital communications in evidence, such as the Internet, social networking, emails and SMS;
- ensuring the new laws can accommodate as yet unknown future technologies;
- basing new South Australian evidence laws on the Commonwealth Evidence Act 1995, which has benefited from extensive consultation and research Australia-wide.
"Technology is changing rapidly and our community has an increasing reliance on that technology. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure our evidence laws are keeping up with the times," says the University's Dean of Law and
Director of the South Australian Law Reform Institute, Professor John Williams.
State Attorney-General the Hon. John Rau has welcomed the report. "One of the key aims of the Law Reform Institute is to help modernise, simplify and consolidate laws. This may lead to the repeal of laws that are obsolete or
unnecessary for today's community, and the use of technology - which has come a long way since 1929 - is a perfect example of that," Mr Rau says.
"The advice provided by the Institute will to help improve our laws and, ultimately, the way in which our justice system serves the community."
The South Australian Law Reform Institute was established at the University of Adelaide under an agreement with the Law Society of SA and the Attorney-General.
The report will be publicly available on the Institute's web page from Friday 1 February: www.law.adelaide.edu.au/reform
Dean of Law School
Director, South Australian Law Reform Institute
The University of Adelaide
Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
The University of Adelaide
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