Judicial Supervision of Criminal Offenders: Implications for practice

Magistrate Pauline Spencer
1Dandenong Magistrates Court

Bail and sentencing legislation in Victoria, Australia allows for judicial officers to require offenders to return to court for regular reviews before the same judicial officer.  This practice of ‘judicial supervision’ evolved out of the interdisciplinary legal philosophy of therapeutic jurisprudence and has been a common feature of specialist or problem-solving courts such as drug court and mental health courts. In mainstream Victorian criminal courts judicial supervision may be employed pre-plea (on bail), post plea (on deferral) and post sentence (as a judicial monitoring condition of a Community Corrections Order). Despite the existence of the legal framework, the approach to judicial supervision in practice varies.  Judicial officers have different purposes for judicial supervision, target different types of offenders, apply different approaches and methods.  Magistrate Pauline Spencer will reflect on the current state of research, the need for the development of a practice framework for judicial supervision and discuss implications for practice, judicial education and future research.


Magistrate Pauline Spencer sits at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court, Victoria, Australia.  She was appointed to the bench in 2006.  Prior to her appointment she worked as a private lawyer and then with community legal centres as a lawyer and in a policy role.  During this time she worked with people with addictions and wrote and spoke about the need for the justice system to find better ways of dealing with people who were committing offences as a result of addiction.  Since being appointed Magistrate Spencer has developed her interest in therapeutic jurisprudence and in particular its application in busy mainstream court setting.


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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