Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 20 - Evidence of criminal convictions in civil proceedings

Project No. 20

Commenced: 1970
Withdrawn: 1972

The rule in Hollington v Hewthorn ([1943] KB 587) provides that in civil proceedings, a criminal conviction following trial cannot be tendered as evidence of the material facts upon which that conviction is based. Since its creation, the rule has been widely criticised. This criticism resulted in legislative and judicial reform in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the late 1960s.

As a result of moves in other states to completely abolish the rule, the Attorney General asked the Committee to investigate if further statutory action should also be taken in Western Australia.

Terms of Reference

In 1970 the Committee was given a reference to consider the law relating to the introduction of evidence of criminal convictions in civil proceedings and report on the need, if any, for change.


No legislative action has been taken to implement the recommendations contained in the Committee’s report.

In September 1985, the Attorney General announced that in view of the decision of the Full Court in the Mickelberg case ([1986] WAR 365), the Government had decided that it was now unnecessary to act on this report. However, in light of the continued currency of the Committee’s alternative recommendations, this decision could be revisited.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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