An argument for uniform Australian sentencing law

Bagaric, Mirko 2013, An argument for uniform Australian sentencing law, Australian bar review, vol. 37, pp. 40-68.

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Title An argument for uniform Australian sentencing law
Author(s) Bagaric, Mirko
Journal name Australian bar review
Volume number 37
Start page 40
End page 68
Total pages 28
Publisher LexisNexis Butterworths
Place of publication Sydney, N.S.W
Publication date 2013
ISSN 0814-8589
Summary Sentencing law and practice impacts on fundamental individual interests, both from the perspective of offenders and victims. It also affects community safety and security The scope of sentencing law and its principal objectives are broadly similar throughout Australia. However, there are many important differences, especially in relation to sentencing practice, with some jurisdictions appearing to impose considerably heavier penalties for certain offence types. This article argues that uniform sentencing law should be implemented throughout Australia. The likely benefits would extend beyond achieving greater consistency in sentencing outcomes. A move toward uniform national sentencing laws would provide the catalyst for an objective, evidence-based review of sentencing policy and practice, thereby providing a vehicle for harmonising the law with a wealth of empirical data regarding the objectives that can be achieved through a system of state-imposed sanctions. It would also present a meaningful opportunity for a normative assessment of the justifiable operation of sentencing law. The main impediment to uniform sentencing laws is likely to come from state and territory governments seeking to maintain control over this often socially controversial area as a means of securing and maintaining community support. However, this obstacle is not necessarily insurmountable. It is not clear whether sentencing policy is, in fact, a main driver of voter preferences. Some politicians may prefer to have ·national uniformity' as a buffer to counteract reflexive calls for tougher sentencing that often occur following particularly serious crimes or seemingly light sentences handed down by courts.
Language eng
Field of Research 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure
Socio Economic Objective 940405 Law Reform
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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