Last updated 1 December 2020
Section 34 of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) (Human Rights Act) upholds the rule against double jeopardy. It states that a person must not be tried or punished more than once for an offence they have been convicted or acquitted of. It applies to criminal, quasi-criminal and regulatory offences.
However, s 34 is not likely to prevent non-criminal consequences from the same conduct or circumstances (e.g. disciplinary or professional conduct proceedings following conviction of a criminal charge).
The right not to be tried or punished more than once will be subject to the general limitation provision in s 13 of the Human Rights Act. This provides human rights may be subject under law to reasonable limits, which are justified in a free and democratic society. See ‘Human Rights may be Limited’ for further explanation.
The rights not to be tried or punished more than once may be engaged:
- when raising the defence of double jeopardy during criminal law proceedings (e.g. where a person is charged with an alleged offence they have already been acquitted of or is charged with two separate offences arising from the one act)
- when refusing to issue or revoke a licence (e.g. a real estate, letting agent or motor dealer licence) on the basis of criminal convictions
- during disciplinary hearings and disbarment following criminal convictions (e.g. of doctors, lawyers and psychologists).
These examples have been adapted from Australian cases. They are provided by way of example only, and are not a substitute for legal advice.