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Circumcision in Australia: Reforming the Law


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Marshall, W 2011 , 'Circumcision in Australia: Reforming the Law', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


The thesis considers the application of Australian law to male circumcision and recommends law
reform to improve its regulation. There are no specific laws that regulate the practice in Australia.
Very few clear answers present themselves when the general law is applied to circumcision. The
law suffers from inaccessibility, uncertainty, jurisdictional inconsistency, and problems with
enforceability in its application to circumcision. It is also unable to respond in a timely and
effective manner to problematic developments, and has not significantly assisted in fostering
improved health and ethical standards for circumcisers.
The thesis discusses the application of criminal law, family law, private law and human rights to
the practice of circumcision. It also discusses the legislation in foreign jurisdictions which
specifically addresses male circumcision. The thesis adopts the analytical perspective of an
implementation minded law reformer. This perspective is used to inform the critical analysis of
the law and the law reform recommendations proposed. The perspective is pluralistic and
concerned with formulating reforms that are designed for ready implementation.
The thesis recommends the enactment of a federal Circumcision Act, or mirror State and
Territory Circumcision Acts. This legislation should establish a circumcision regulatory,
monitoring and licensing body within the jurisdiction it operates in. The Act (or Acts)
recommended distinguish between circumcision performed with patient consent, and
circumcision performed upon incapable minors with parental consent. The thesis recommends,
subject to specific exemptions, the prohibition of circumcision performed on incapable minors.
The thesis also details law reform to improve the health and ethical standards of circumcisers in

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Marshall, W
Keywords: circumcision, law, reform, regulation, legal, male
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