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Reforming WA’s Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime Legislation

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UWA Law School Online CPD Series

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Reforming WA’s Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime Legislation: Lessons from a Comparative Study of Queensland, NSW and Western Australia

Professor Natalie Skead, Dr Sarah Murray and Dr Tamara Tulich

Over the past two decades Australian states and territories have introduced a raft of legislation aimed at stripping those involved in criminal activity of their ill-gotten gains. However, in doing so, this far-reaching legislation has the potential to undermine accepted legal principles and protections. This presentation reports the findings of the first Australian empirical study examining the impact and effectiveness of the range of confiscations available under Australian confiscation of proceeds of crime legislative schemes. The project team conducted 40 interviews with legal and government stakeholders and members of the public directly or indirectly involved in or affected by the operation of confiscation legislation in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. From our findings it is clear that Western Australia’s legislation is the most far-reaching and potentially the most inequitable. Based on the empirical study and comparative legislative analysis, the team formulated best practice recommendations for the reform of Australian proceeds of crime legislation, with a view to ensuring just, valid and effective statutory schemes that achieve their legitimate objectives.

CPD Value: 1 CPD point in Competency Area 4: Substantive Law

About the presenters

Professor Natalie Skead has been Dean of the UWA Law School since 2017.

Natalie's principal research and teaching areas are Property, Land Law and Equity and Trusts. She completed her doctorate on the proprietary implications of Australian proceeds of crime legislation. She is a prolific researcher with an extensive publication record in Property, Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime. Equity, Trusts, Remedies, Natural Resources and Legal Education.

Natalie is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, Chair of the Australian Law Academics Association, Associate Editor of the Legal Education Review and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2017 she was the recipient of the national award for teaching excellence in law from the Federal Minister of Education and Training.

Prior to joining the academy, Natalie practiced as a solicitor for over ten years specialising in Corporate Finance, Commercial Litigation, Property and Securities.

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Dr Tamara Tulich is a Senior Lecturer at UWA Law School. Tamara researches and publishes in the areas of preventive justice, anti-terror lawmaking and indefinite detention regimes, and is a co-editor of the collection Regulating Preventive Justice (Routledge, 2017). Tamara’s recent research projects focus on expanding diversionary alternatives for Aboriginal youth with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, understanding the role of law and culture in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in responding to and preventing family violence, and reform to Australian proceeds of crime legislation.

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Professor Sarah Murray from the UWA Law School is an expert in constitutional law, the role of the courts and less-adversarial reform. She is a member of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia and is Co-President of the International Society of Public Law for the AUS-NZ Chapter. She has published widely in Australia and internationally and is the author of The Remaking of the Courts- Less-Adversarial Practice and the Constitutional Role of the Judiciary in Australia (Federation Press, 2014) and a co-author of The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia – History, Principle and Interpretation (CUP, 2015) and Winterton’s Australian Federal Constitutional Law (Thomson Reuters, 2017).

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