Vic Act to Establish the Police Informants Monitor Receives Assent

Monday 27 September 2021 @ 11.22 a.m. | Crime | Judiciary, Legal Profession & Procedure | Legal Research

The Police Informants Royal Commission Implementation Monitor Bill 2021 (Vic) ("the Bill") was first introduced by Victorian Minister for Crime Prevention Natalie Hutchins on 22 June 2021. The Bill passed both houses by 9 September 2021 and  received assent on 14 September 2021.

The Police Informants Royal Commission Implementation Monitor Act 2021 (Vic) (“the Act”) fully commenced on 15 September 2021.

Purpose of the Legislation

As outlined in the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum, the Act:

“establish[es] the statutory office of the Police Informants Royal Commission Implementation Monitor (‘the Implementation Monitor’) and [contains provisions to] ensure the Implementation Monitor has the reasonable and necessary powers, as recommended by the Royal Commission, to fulfil their role."

The Royal Commission

The Bill was introduced in response to recommendations put forward by the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants (“the Royal Commission”). The Royal Commission was conducted by the Victorian Government and was established in December 2018. The Royal Commission follows the publication of a High Court case, which revealed that a former criminal defence barrister was a registered Victoria Police informant.

The Royal Commission released its final report on November 2020 and made a  total of 111 recommendations directed towards the:

  • Victorian Government;
  • Victoria Police;
  • Director of Public Prosecutions;
  • Victorian Bar Council;
  • Public Interest Monitor;
  • Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission;
  • Law Institute of Victoria;
  • Law Council of Australia;
  • Legal Services Council; and
  • Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner.

Recommendation 109 within the final report of the Royal Commission, specifically, states:

“That the Victorian Government, in establishing the role of the Implementation Monitor, provides the Implementation Monitor with the support of a small secretariat located within the Department of Justice and Community Safety, and all necessary and reasonable legislative powers required to fulfill their role”.

The Implementation Monitor

The Implementation Monitor's main functions are to:

  • monitor and assess the implementation of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission; and
  • report to the Attorney General on the progress and adequacy of this implementation.

In achieving its function, the Implementation Monitor is empowered to do such things as:

  • assess progress throughout the implementation process;
  • access documents and meetings of the Implementation Taskforce, which is responsible for the coordination and completion of the implementation;
  • provide advice to support the implementation process; and
  • require regular reports from the Victorian Police regarding its progress in fulfilling its disclosure obligations. 

Comment and Reaction

Commenting in a November 2020 Media Release, Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said:

“The Commission’s findings are serious and significant and individuals and organisations must be held accountable ... We’ve already taken action to make appeal proceedings more efficient and transparent, allowing for further appeals if new evidence emerges showing a substantial miscarriage of justice – and if we need to go further, we will.”

In Minister Hutchins' second reading speech regarding the Bill, she commented:

“This Bill is an important step to ensuring that the Implementation Monitor is empowered to perform their role in the manner envisaged by the Royal Commission. The Implementation Monitor will provide the Victorian community with confidence that implementation is being independently monitored and Government and other lead agencies are being held to account, with the outcome of increased confidence in our criminal justice system and ensuring that the events that led to the Royal Commission never happen again”.

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Police Informants Royal Commission Implementation Monitor Act 2021 (Vic) and explanatory materials available from TimeBase's LawOne Service

Police Informants Royal Commission Implementation Monitor Bill 2021 (Vic) and explanatory materials available from TimeBase's LawOne Service

Media Release: New Laws To Keep Royal Commission Reforms On Track (, Premier of Victoria, 24 June 2021)

Media Release: Government To Act On All Recommendations Of Royal Commission Into The Management Of Police Informants (Premier of Victoria, 30 November 2021)

Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants: Victorian Government Response and Implementation Plan (Victorian Government, 6 May 2021)

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