Plea negotiations: Shining light on the negotiated guilty plea process in Victoria

A. Freiberg1, A. Flynn2*

1 Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg, Faculty of Law, Monash University
2 Dr Asher Flynn, School of Social Sciences, Monash University

*corresponding author:

Across all Australian jurisdictions, the majority of criminal cases are resolved by guilty plea as opposed to running a trial. While the number of guilty pleas entered annually is generally well documented, limited information is available on the processes that facilitate such pleas. In particular, there is an absence of Australian research that examines the intricacies of plea negotiation processes, including how the practice operates and what negotiated outcomes actually entail.

This presentation will address the research gap by discussing the findings of the Negotiated Guilty Pleas: An Empirical Analysis project – the first study in any Australian State or Territory to develop a data set of plea negotiations based on a comprehensive mixed-methods analysis of legal aid case files and in-depth interviews with police and OPP prosecutors, defence practitioners and judicial officers from a mix of rural, regional and urban locations across Victoria. In reflecting on the project findings, this presentation will provide a unique analysis of the undocumented practice of plea negotiations in Victoria.

Note: The Negotiated Guilty Pleas: An Empirical Analysis project is funded by the Criminology Research Council (CRG51/13-14).


Arie Freiberg is an Emeritus Professor at Monash University, where he was Dean of the Faculty of Law from 2004-2012. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Australian Academy of Law. He is also a member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration and the Judicial College of Victoria. He is the Chair of both the Victorian and Tasmanian Sentencing Advisory Councils and in 2009, was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his contributions to criminology, sentencing law, legal education and academic leadership. Emeritus Professor Freiberg has over 150 publications.

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