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Royal Prerogative of Mercy review

Topic: Police & Justice

The Department of Justice is conducting a review into the Royal Prerogative of Mercy and whether petitions for mercy and their outcomes should be publicly available.

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What’s this about?

The Department of Justice has been requested to review whether petitions and their outcomes should be made publicly available.

The Royal Prerogative of Mercy is a broad discretionary power exerciseable by the Governor acting on the advice of the Executive Council, and more specifically, the Attorney General. 

The purpose of the power is to temper the rigidity of the law by dispensing clemency in appropriate circumstances. There are no legal restrictions on the exercise of the power. The power is only exercised in exceptional or special circumstances, and where it is necessary in the public interest. 

The Governor's power to review convictions and sentences is a statutory power vested in him by section 76 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001. A petitioner must provide material which raises doubts or questions as to their guilt, the mitigating circumstances in their case, or any part of the evidence in the case. Where such material has been provided, the Governor possesses the power to refer the matter to a judicial officer for an inquiry into the petitioner's conviction or sentence.

Due to the highly sensitive and personal nature of petitions, petitions and their outcomes are currently not made public. 

Have your say

There are two ways you can submit your feedback.

  • Email: [email protected] with the subject ‘Review into Royal Prerogative of Mercy'
  • Mail: Review into Royal Prerogative of Mercy – Submissions
    Office of the General Counsel
    Department of Justice 
    GPO Box 6
    Sydney NSW 2001

Have your say by 9 February 2018.

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Topic: Police & Justice
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