Victorian Magistrates perceptions and use of judicial supervision in mainstream settings

Dr Benjamin Spivak1, Magistrate Pauline Spencer2, Professor James Ogloff1
1Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University of Technology, 2Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

Judicial monitoring allows for an accused/offender to appear before the same magistrate on multiple occasions to encourage and monitor engagement in rehabilitation programs. While Victoria permits judicial supervision, the relevant law allows for extensive magisterial discretion in determining when the mechanism should be used (i.e. what are the characteristics of accused/offenders that are best targeted for judicial supervision), how it should be employed in practice, what techniques should be used in supervision hearings, how often review hearings take place, and what specific goals supervision should be aiming to meet.

This paper will outline the results of a research project aimed at addressing the lack of information around magistrates’ use and perceptions of judicial supervision. The research utilised surveys and semi-structured interviews to examine who was being targeted by judicial supervision and why, what types of supervision were utilised by magistrates (e.g. pre-plea, post plea, post sentence), what, if any, barriers to judicial supervision are perceived by magistrates, and what techniques are being used by magistrates in court review hearings when undertaking supervision.


Dr Benjamin Spivak is a lecturer at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University of Technology. His research interests lie primarily in the field of legal decision-making and he has published in areas such as risk assessment, public health and jury decision-making.


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