Articles on Justice

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Will vouchers to access legal aid services be the fix the Australian legal system needs? AAP/Lee Besford

‘Coupon justice’ won’t address legal aid crisis

Most Australians with legal problems are unlikely to be able to access the help they need. Unless you’re wealthy and can pay for a private lawyer, or extremely poor and disadvantaged and able to access…
The number of inmates in Victorian prisons is on the rise as part of the government’s tough on crime stance. But at what cost? shutterstock

Tough on crime: Victoria is not learning lessons from abroad

Locking up people is easy. It is the first refuge of intellectually bankrupt politicians clamouring for votes by “getting tough” on crime. A good general will read history before going to war, so a good…
The murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher sparked much social media comment, some of which threatened to compromise the criminal trial of the accused. AAP/Facebook

Trial by social media: why we need to properly educate juries

This week, the Standing Council on Law and Justice (which constitutes the attorneys-general of the Commonwealth, states and territories) published a report on the impact of social media on juries. The…
Barry O'Farrell, seen here with Police Minister Mike Gallacher, has pursued several criminal law reforms aimed at disrupting criminal organisations. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Our right to silence is too important to lose

The move to dilute the right to silence in NSW is unjust, constitutionally questionable and unnecessary. The O'Farrell government announced a “watering down” of right to silence laws in response to bikie…
The evidence is in: policies to name and shame young offenders are based on knee-jerk assumptions and disrupt rehabilitative efforts. BlueRobot/Flickr

Naming and shaming young offenders: reactionary politicians are missing the point

Last month, Queensland’s Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie called for the public naming of all youth who appear in court. Echoing practices from the deep south of the USA where t-shirts, signs outside homes…
Drug kingpin Carl Williams cut a plea bargain with Victorian authorities before being murdered in jail. AAP/Julian Smith

Plea bargains and the efficiencies of justice

In 2007, the infamous underworld figure [Carl Williams](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Williams_(criminal) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder and three counts of murder, on the…
The military court system in Australia has gone through many ups and downs with more to come. AAP Image/Australian Department of Defence

The new Australian Military Court: a fair go for defence force personnel?

Last week, the Commonwealth Attorney-General Nicola Roxon introduced a bill establishing the Australian Military Court as a constitutional court. If the bill passes, it will bring Australia into line with…
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton holds up Azaria’s death certificate, confirming her daughter’s death by dingo attack. AAP/Patrina Malone

Lessons from the Chamberlain case: the human cost of wrongful conviction

The Azaria Chamberlain case is a reminder that the criminal justice system does get it wrong, with each error bearing its own human cost. On Tuesday, the Northern Territory Coroner’s office concluded an…
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton can finally close one of the most traumatic chapters in Australian history. AAP/Shane Eecen

Azaria Chamberlain inquest: forget the dingo jokes and recognise Lindy’s trauma

Imagine that your nine-week-old, longed-for daughter is taken by a wild animal in the night. Imagine you are suspected of killing her, and then convicted of this crime and imprisoned. Imagine that long…
In Australia, forensic evidence is coming under increasing scrutiny. Andrea Hayward/AAP

The CSI effect: are jurors starstruck by forensic evidence?

FORENSICS AUSTRALIA – Jurors without technical training are frequently required to consider complex forensic evidence. It’s not just a matter of understanding the forensic evidence: in the case of “opposing…
Convicted killer Arthur Freeman is led away from the Supreme Court in Melbourne. AAP

The fraught issue of how we deal with mentally ill offenders

Arthur Freeman’s involvement in an altercation in Victoria’s Barwon prison this week has again highlighted the fraught issue of how we deal with offenders who commit crimes that many of us assume could…

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