Sentencing Advisory Councils: Bridging The Gap Between Academia, Government And The Community

Prof Arie Freiberg1

1Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Sentencing Advisory Councils now operate in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. Similar bodies exist in the United Kingdom and Scotland. Their composition is diverse, including prosecution and defence counsel, serving or retired judicial officers, victims or their representatives, community members and a range of professionals. However, every council has one or more academics as members.


This presentation examines the role of academics on these bodies with particular reference to the contribution they can make to the development of sentencing policy both in terms of research methodology and the content of reports produced by these councils. Bodies such as sentencing councils (and similar bodies such as law reform commissions) can institutionalise the influence of academics by providing them with a formal and continuing forum in which they can promote or advance their work and those of other academics, identify relevant areas of research and attempt to ensure that the quality of work produced by their councils is of a high standard.  As possibly relatively neutral parties in the criminal justice system they may be able to provide impartial, evidence-based input into what are often highly emotive and contentious debates.


Arie Freiberg is an Emeritus Professor at Monash University. He was Dean of the Faculty Law at Monash University between 2004 and 2012.

In July 2004, he was appointed Chair of the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council. In February 2013 he was appointed Chair of the Tasmanian Sentencing Advisory Council. He is a member of the Council of the the Judicial College of Victoria.

He has around 170 publications in areas such as sentencing, confiscation of proceeds of crime, tax compliance, corporate crime, juries, juvenile justice, sanctions, victimology, superannuation fraud, trust in criminal justice, commercial confidentiality in corrections, dangerous offenders, the role of emotion in criminal justice and public policy, drug courts, problem-oriented courts, non-adversarial justice, environment protection and regulatory theory.

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