Can a law made in a certain state apply in other states?

The courts in AUSTRALIA presume that "Legislation does not have extraterritorial effect", which means for e.g. the Crimes Act NSW cannot apply to Queensland or any other place outside of NSW. This presumption was announced in 'Green v Burgess [1960] VR 158'.

However, I'm looking at The Crimes (Appeal and Review) Amendment (Double Jeopardy) Act 2006 (NSW) and s99(2) provides that:

"This section extends to a person acquitted in proceedings outside this State of an offence under the law of the place where the proceedings were held. However, this section does not so extend if the law of that place does not permit that person to be retried and the application of this Division to such a retrial is inconsistent with the Commonwealth Constitution or a law of the Commonwealth."

This statute is related to the double jeopardy principle. So, apply the presumption of legislation's limited territorial effect, will someone be covered under this NSW Act if they have been acquitted of a crime in a Queensland court?

Thanks :)


Thanks Richard. That was heaps helpful :D I wonder if you're doing my course...

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    A law made in one State has no application in another State, and nor does this Act make it so.

    The section you are referring to sets out two sets of circumstances under which the traditional ban on "Double Jeopardy" is set aside.

    Under this new law :

    1) Someone who has been acquitted of murder can be re-tried for the same crime if "New and compelling" evidence, that could not reasonably have been discovered by the State at the time of the first trial, is discovered, or

    2) Someone who has been acquitted of a crime carrying a sentence of 25 years or more can be retried if it can be shown that the acquittal was the result of "crimes against the administration of justice" - witness tampering, threats to the jurors, etc.

    The law allows for a person that *could have been* prosecuted in NSW but was actually prosecuted in another State to be retried under this Act in NSW only *if* the laws of the State where the trial occurred also allow for a retrial. As it happens, Queensland is the only other State that has, so far, adopted these double jeopardy rules.

    So, if someone committed a crime for which they could have been tried in NSW or in QD, or in WA, and they are actually tried and acquitted in QD, then if it turns out that the acquittal was the result of witness tampering, they could be retried in NSW. However, if the original trial and acquittal were in WA, he could not be retried in NSW, because WA still has a complete ban on double jeopardy.


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