Representation for Victims of Crime in the Criminal Trial Process

A/Prof. Tyrone Kirchengast1, Dr. Mary Illiadis2
1Sydney Law School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 2Department of Criminology, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Recent commissions of inquiry have looked into the plight of victims of crime with various recommendations made to advance crime victims’ rights to access justice. This paper considers the two main ways in which victims may be afforded representation in the criminal justice system, by provision of legal counsel to represent victims in the legal process, or by victims’ advocates, non-lawyers trained to assist and represent victims throughout the justice process, including potentially, in court. Although commissions of inquiry have supported the notion that victims remain participants and not parties to a criminal action, only limited attention was given to the vitally important role of the mode of representation in this process. This paper extends this most recent discussion of victim’s participatory rights by considering the advantages and disadvantages of victim lawyers and victim advocates in the Australian context.


Dr Tyrone Kirchengast is an Associate Professor in the University of Sydney Law School and member of the Sydney Institute of Criminology. He is a Senior Visiting Fellow at UNSW Law, Sydney. Tyrone has published widely on the integration of victims in the adversarial criminal trial.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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