find the latest legal job
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
LIV criticises 'overly complex' sentencing laws

LIV criticises 'overly complex' sentencing laws


A decision handed down by the Court of Appeal this week shows that Victoria’s baseline sentencing laws need urgent amendment, according to the Law Institute of Victoria.

LIV president Katie Miller said the legislation did not achieve its purpose of providing greater transparency in the sentencing process.

“The legislation does not work,” she said. “It is overly complex.”

Ms Miller said the provisions eroded judicial discretion in the sentencing process and made sentencing partly dependent on other unrelated cases concerning unrelated offending. 

The legislation also requires judges to do a complex mathematical exercise to determine the median sentence, according to Ms Miller.

Baseline sentences are specified prison sentences for seven offences determined by the Victorian parliament on the basis of the median sentence length of previous cases. The median is a statistic equal to the middle value of a set of scores arranged from highest to lowest.

Under the law, which was introduced as an amendment to the Sentencing Act 1991 in 2014, those convicted of murder face a baseline sentence of 25 years. Incest carries a baseline sentence of 10 years in prison and certain drug traffic offences carry a baseline sentence of 14 years.

On Tuesday the Court of Appeal ruled by a 4-1 majority that the baseline provisions were “incapable of being given any practical operation” and that the defect in the legislation was “incurable”.

The judgment found that baseline sentencing was "without precedent in Australian sentencing law". This is the first time the laws have been interpreted by a court.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

LIV criticises 'overly complex' sentencing laws
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Anti-radicalisation programs playing ‘second fiddle’ to terrorism laws
Several academics have questioned the balance between Australia’s counterterrorism legislation and...
 William Ah Ket
‘Bamboo ceiling’ thought piece wins inaugural law prize
A paper that explores the idea of affirmative action to achieve greater diversity among members of A...
Nov 22 2017
Reduced investment protections will make robust commercial arbitration mechanisms all the more critical for investors
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the current trend away from investor protect...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...