Law Commission releases report on the review of the Evidence Act 2006

The Commission has released its report on the review of the Evidence Act 2006. The Act contains a provision requiring the Law Commission to undertake a five-yearly operational review, and to report to the Minister of Justice on whether any provisions should be amended or repealed. The report, entitled The 2013 Review of the Evidence Act 2006 (R127, 2013) was sent to the Minister of Justice on 26 February 2013. 

Consultation and detailed consideration of cases decided under the Act show that the Act is generally working well and is a significant improvement on the law that preceded it. This review has been a fine-tuning exercise rather than a first principles review, and the feedback the Commission received was largely positive and the problems identified were mostly technical and minor.

The most significant recommendation made by the review relates to previous consistent statements under s 35 of the Act. The section provides that an out-of-court statement made by a witness that is consistent with what that witness says in evidence is only admissible if their veracity or accuracy is challenged.

Several other key recommendations were made in the report.