Project 27(II) - Admissibility in evidence of reproductions

Project No. 27(II)

Commenced: 1971
Withdrawn: 1983

Where documentary evidence is admissible it is usually necessary to tender the original document in evidence. At common law, a copy of a document is generally not admissible unless the original is proved to have been lost or destroyed. However, a copy of a document may be tendered under one of three exceptions to the Evidence Act 1906 (WA): ss 73B-73D.

In 1980, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) was in the process of carrying out a general review of the law of evidence in federal courts and territories, including a review of the law relating to the admissibility of reproductions. The Commission and the ALRC agreed to cooperate and exchange information about reproductions on an informal basis.

Terms of Reference

In 1971, the Committee was asked to consider and report on whether and in what circumstances 'reproductions' (such as photocopies and microfilm) of existing documents should be admitted into evidence, and the methods by which reproductions can be produced. This reference required a review of the provisions of the Evidence Act 1906 (WA) governing the admissibility in evidence of reproductions.


As the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) had received a comprehensive reference on evidence in federal and territory courts, the Commission decided that further work on this project would be an unnecessary duplication. The reference was withdrawn in 1983. The Commission undertook to examine this aspect of the ALRC’s final report when it was submitted. (For comments, see Project No. 95: paras 20.13–20.15, 35.1–35.3, 35.11–35.12).

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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