Over the past decade, homicide law reform surrounding the partial defences to murder has animated debate among criminological scholars and legal stakeholders in Australia and the United Kingdom. In response to these debates, criminal jurisdictions have conducted reviews of the partial defences to murder and implemented reforms targeted at reducing gender bias in the law which has played out through the operation of the partial defence of provocation. This research examines the different approaches taken to addressing the problem posed by provocation in Victoria, New South Wales and England. In doing so, it explores questions around the need for reform to the law of homicide, the effects of these reforms in practice, and the influential role of sentencing in questions surrounding homicide law reform. Throughout the analysis key frameworks of criminological thought in relation to feminist engagements with the law, the conceptualisation of denial and the influence of law and order politics upon the development of criminal justice policy are applied. By drawing on 81 in-depth interviews conducted with legal stakeholders across the three jurisdictions under study, and an analysis of relevant case law, this research concludes that reforms implemented to counter gender bias in the operation of homicide law have produced mixed results in practice, particularly in connection to the law’s response to three key categories of person in the courtroom: the jealous man, the female victim of homicide, and the battered woman.
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