The Federation Press

Commonwealth Criminal Law


Since the first edition published in 2014, the area of Commonwealth criminal law has continued to expand and evolve, particularly in the areas of terrorism, drug importation and sentencing. This second edition has been extensively revised and updated to reflect these legislative changes as well as recent case law. In particular, chapters dealing with child exploitation by way of online pornography and abuse, and counter-terrorism (now referred to as ‘Security of the Commonwealth’) have been significantly overhauled, and the chapter on sentencing includes more recent sentencing practices and guidelines. This second edition continues to cover wide-ranging areas of Commonwealth criminal law, including corporate crime, social security and tax fraud, money laundering, drug offences and offences involving the internet and terrorism. It also deals with the special Commonwealth sentencing provisions provided for by the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and analyses how criminal liability for such offences must be proved under the Criminal Code (Cth). This edition is designed for practitioners and students alike.


Reviews of previous edition:

The Australian Federal criminal justice system is a complex meshing of various Federal statutes, the effects of the Australian Constitution, Federal and state investigative bodies, prosecutorial bodies and courts and state prisons. It is not always obvious what law regulates the elements of a criminal offence, its investigation, the right to silence or its abrogation, trial procedure, extradition and so on. This new text successfully takes on the difficult task of drawing together this lacework of legal threads and presenting them in a studied and practical manner. The text adopts a structure that is accessible to experienced practitioners and strangers to the Commonwealth criminal law. The author is a member of the NSW Bar who practises in the Commonwealth criminal field in both prosecution and defence roles. Equally, the text deals with its subject matter in a balanced and factual way. Overall, the text will provide great assistance to lawyers practising in criminal law. It will also be an excellent resource for those encountering the Commonwealth criminal system for the first time as practitioners or students. The author has embarked on an ambitious task in writing this text. He has succeeded in producing a text of high quality that I think is a valuable addition to any criminal law practice. Read full review... - Tony Di Francesco, Bar News, NSW Bar Association, Winter 2015

… one reaches the conclusion that Commonwealth Crime is a very broadly relevant area – and that even those of us who are not criminal lawyers would do well to either have a copy of this work in chambers or at least know that the work is available, if needed. The foreword of the book states that it is “aimed unashamedly at practitioners and students.” It is also said to fill a genuine gap in the literature. It certainly does appear to do so to me. I heartily recommend it. Read full review... - Louise Floyd, Hearsay, July 2015, 73

There are frequent prosecutions in Victorian courts for offences arising under Commonwealth legislation. This excellent book, comprising some 242 pages, will be of assistance to practitioners involved in that process. … There is also an excellent index. … I found this book readable, accessible and informative. Read full review... - Cahal Fairfield, InPrint, Law Institute Journal Victoria, May 2015

Being a barrister, the author has written this book specifically for fellow practitioners and students too, by presenting in a succinct and accessible manner, the type of information that practitioners need to know in order to advise clients and present matters in court. With its practical approach, the book will obviously be of particular interest to practitioners involved in cross-border and international criminal cases. Note that it also contains tables of cases and statutes - and an extensive and helpful index. As investigations into criminal activity (especially corporate crime) are now conducted more often than not, across several countries, or indeed, worldwide, we feel that this book presents valuable insights and much enlightening comment and information for the benefit of international lawyers everywhere who specialise in criminal matters. Read full review... - Phillip Taylor MBE, Richmond Green Chambers, April 2015

*Phillip Taylor MBE from Richmond Green Chambers, London UK, reviews the book on YouTube channel – Click here to watch… - Uploaded April 2015

Despite the increasing development of Commonwealth criminal law in recent decades, books on the subject are few. Commonwealth Criminal Law seeks to fill the need for practical, yet succinct, guidance on this wide ranging subject. Each topic could easily form the basis of a separate book. However, the author's ability to analyse succinctly the criminal liability framework (including the complex field of sentencing) for these offences is where the book shines. … the book offers a solid overview of the major features of Commonwealth criminal law. With the continuing development of this area of law, this comprehensive book has the potential to become a useful point of reference for both practitioners and students. Read full review... - Melissa Jones, Ethos, ACT Law Society, March 2015

The Federation Press continues to maintain its position as the pre-eminent Australian Legal Publisher by producing extremely high quality works across a broad range of areas. The significant widening of the range of Commonwealth criminal offences in recent years along with the accompanying conferral of new statutory powers for the detection, investigation and enforcement of these offences has resulted in an ever-expanding maze of provisions about which little has been written in the way of guidance for practitioners. The author has responded to this demand in a way that is both practically relevant and succinct. The unique features attending Commonwealth criminal responsibility are revealed in a common-sense way, with separate chapters devoted to offences under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), money laundering and the proceeds of crime, taxation and social security fraud, counter-terrorism, serious drug offences and child exploitation. Along the way, sentencing considerations for each are considered with a concluding chapter devoted to the complex regime under Part 1 B of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) for the sentencing, imprisonment and release of offenders. This text may very well become the first point of reference for practitioners in this area of the law. - M J Burns QC, Queensland Law Reporter, Nov [2014] 46 QLR

Table of Contents

Foreword by the Hon Justice Geoffrey Bellew
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes

1. An Overview of Commonwealth Criminal Law
2. General Principles of Criminal Responsibility
3. Offences Against the Commonwealth
4. Offences under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
5. Money Laundering and the Proceeds of Crime
6. The Security of the Commonwealth
7. Serious Drug and Precursor Offences
8. Child Exploitation
9. Sentencing, Imprisonment and Release
10. Extradition


Of interest...