Charles Cato


The purpose of this article is to examine the hearsay rule, with a view to considering some much needed reform. It is submitted that it is within the power of the courts to reform the hearsay rule, which is a judicially created evidential concept, rather than await legislative reform. Recent cases of the High Court of Australia, Walton v The Queen, R v Benz and Pollitt v The Queen have involved consideration of difficult aspects of the hearsay rule, without however, providing any firm or certain basis for reform. It is submitted that sensible reform can be achieved by simply narrowing the operation of the scope of the hearsay rule without creating further ad hoc exceptions, as some of the Justices have suggested might be appropriate. The desirability of reform of hearsay has also been recently suggested by senior English Judges.