Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Issue 70 - Oct 2014
Book Review: Criminal Law: Print E-mail

book_criminal_law.jpgPre-trial Practice and Procedure

Author: Michael Francis Lillas
Publisher: Lillas Legal Publishing Pty Ltd 2014

Reviewer: Janice Crawford, Queensland Bar

This publication is a practical handbook for legal practitioners who practise in the criminal law area. Mr Lillas has authored other published works in the criminal law area dating back to 1975.

This book is published at an interesting juncture in the historical development of pre-trial criminal procedures, particularly here in Queensland. The book is comprehensive in its approach to criminal law pre-trial procedures. Although the guidance provided covers all Australian State and Territory jurisdictions, the text remains of relevance to Queensland legal practitioners.

The focus of the book is the principle of “fairness” in criminal proceedings. The book was written as a practical guide for legal practitioners. With recent changes to criminal law pre-trial procedure in Queensland this practical guidance is timely. Narrowing the issues to be decided at trial is important in all areas of the law. It is, in my view, absolutely critical in the area of criminal law. It is an area of the law where, for many complex reasons unable to be explored here, pre-trial requests and applications are not always conducted thoroughly and trials proceed without the benefit of them. For that reason this book is helpful for the junior practitioner. The book does much more than discuss legal history, procedure and objectives of pre-trial criminal law proceedings. It offers practical guidance on all areas of pre-trial procedure in criminal law. These topics range from requests for particulars, duplicity and uncertainty, applications for permanent or temporary stays, judge alone trials and prosecutorial discretion.

The book is well written and accessible to the reader. There is broad inclusion of recent authorities and discussion of many of those. Specific legislative provisions and criminal practice rules across jurisdictions is also included. For students of criminal law this book is an excellent practical guide and highly recommended. For the junior practitioner I would also recommend it. In my view that would be especially so if the practitioner does not have access to an annotated criminal law loose leaf service. For the senior practitioner in this area of law this book may not significantly add to an already expert knowledge. For those practitioners who practise in other State and Territory jurisdictions the book provides helpful commentary.

Considering the scope of the work it is a surprisingly compact text at around 500 pages. It is well priced at $105.00 (including postage and handling). There are a few typographical errors which will, no doubt, be corrected in the next print run.

If you practise in the criminal law area this text would be a useful addition to your professional library.

Click here to download the book order form.

Janice Crawford

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