Statutory rights

White (pseudonym) v The King [2022] VSCA 278

Could W consent to joinder of unrelated incest charges in the same indictment?  The statute said an indictment ‘must … comply with Schedule 1’12, which stated that only ‘related offences’ could be joined.

Two judges (at [65]) noted the old principle that a person can waive a statutory right enacted for their benefit – quilibet potest renunciare juri pro se introducto13.  This, however, does not apply where the right is enacted also for public benefit, or the principle is otherwise excluded by the statute (as was the case here).  It followed that the requirement of the statute could not be consented to be waived ‘no matter the attitude of the applicant’.

This principle is from Episode 93 of interpretation NOW!


12 s 159(3)(c) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (VIC).

13 Brown (1986) 160 CLR 171 (at 178), Wardman [2023] FCAFC 13 (at [195-198]).