Lawful Correction is a complete defence to a criminal charge which means it leads to a verdict of ‘not guilty’.
The defence is contained in section 61AA of the Crimes Act 1900 which states that you are not criminally responsible for an offence arising from applying physical force to a child if:
- You were the child’s parent or were acting for the child’s parent
- You applied force to punish the child, and
- The force was reasonable
A ‘child’ is a person under the age of 18 years.
A person ‘acting for a parent’ is:
- The child’s step-parent, or the parent’s de-facto partner or relative, or a person to whom the parent has entrusted the child’s care, and
- Who the parent authorises to use physical force to punish the child
In the case of Indigenous persons, a person acting for a parent includes a person recognised by the Indigenous community as having special responsibilities towards the child.
The factors relevant for determining whether the force was ‘reasonable’ are:
- The child’s age, health, maturity and other characteristics
- The nature of the alleged misbehaviour, and
- Any other relevant circumstances
Physical force that is more than trivial or negligible is not reasonable where applied to:
- The child’s head or neck, or
- Any other part of the child where
The harm is likely to last more than a short period of time.
If you are going to court for Lawful Correction, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers 24/7 on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an experienced defence lawyer who will advise you of your options and the best way forward, and fight to secure the optimal outcome.
Read on for more information.
Section 61AA of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Defence of Lawful Correction’ and reads as follows:
61AA Defence of Lawful Correction
(1) In criminal proceedings brought against a person arising out of the application of physical force to a child, it is a defence that the force was applied for the purpose of the punishment of the child, but only if:
(a) the physical force was applied by the parent of the child or by a person acting for a parent of the child, and
(b) the application of that physical force was reasonable having regard to the age, health, maturity or other characteristics of the child, the nature of the alleged misbehaviour or other circumstances.
(2) The application of physical force, unless that force could reasonably be considered trivial or negligible in all the circumstances, is not reasonable if the force is applied:
(a) to any part of the head or neck of the child, or
(b) to any other part of the body of the child in such a way as to be likely to cause harm to the child that lasts for more than a short period.
(3) Subsection (2) does not limit the circumstances in which the application of physical force is not reasonable.
(4) This section does not derogate from or affect any defence at common law (other than to modify the defence of lawful correction).
(5) Nothing in this section alters the common law concerning the management, control or restraint of a child by means of physical contact or force for purposes other than punishment.
(6) In this section:
“child” means a person under 18 years of age.
“parent” of a child means a person having all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority in respect of the child which, by law, parents have in relation to their children.
“person acting for a parent” of a child means a person:
(i) is a step-parent of the child, a de facto partner of a parent of the child, a relative (by blood or marriage) of a parent of the child or a person to whom the parent has entrusted the care and management of the child, and
(ii) is authorised by a parent of the child to use physical force to punish the child, or
(b) who, in the case of a child who is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (within the meaning of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 ), is recognised by the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community to which the child belongs as being an appropriate person to exercise special responsibilities in relation to the child.
Note : “De facto partner” is defined in section 21C of the Interpretation Act 1987 .
(7) This section does not apply to proceedings arising out of an application of physical force to a child if the application of that force occurred before the commencement of this section.
(8) The Attorney General is to review this section to determine whether its provisions continue to be appropriate for securing the policy objectives of the section. The review is to be undertaken as soon as possible after the period of 3 years from the commencement of this section. A report on the outcome of the review is to be tabled in each House of Parliament within 6 months after the end of the period of 3 years.
Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.
Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.
Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.
We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.
Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
Highest Level of Client Satisfaction
We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.
Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.
We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.
We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm
We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.
The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.
We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.
Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
Free First Appointment
For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.
We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
Specialist Lawyer Guarantee
We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.
This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
All NSW Courts
From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.
And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.
All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.
An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.
Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.
Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
Results-Focused Law Firm
Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.
The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.
Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.
No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.
The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
Team of Lawyers Behind You
Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.
Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.
A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.
In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
Familiar with Magistrates and Judges
Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.
Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
- the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
- Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
- Parramatta, near the justice precinct.
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.