find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Real Estate & Projects Lawyer (6+ years PAE)
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Top tier firm with offices nationally · High profile clients
View details
Victoria's sense of justice not so severe

Victoria's sense of justice not so severe

The public's sense of justice in Victoria is not as severe as public opinion has suggested, according to a recent study examining Victoria's sense of justice. Melbourne University's Dr. Austin…

The public's sense of justice in Victoria is not as severe as public opinion has suggested, according to a recent study examining Victoria's sense of justice.

Melbourne University's Dr. Austin Lovegrove has this week released some findings of a study he conducted comparing public opinion regarding sentencing leniency with a more subtle measure of the public's sense of justice.

Lovegrove explained that if you ask the public whether sentencing is too lenient or too tough, the overwhelming majority of people will say it's far too lenient - which, he said, represents "public opinion".

But Lovegrove instead pointed out that much of that public opinion is merely generated by people who get their information from the newspaper, read a few facts and, accordingly, say sentencing is too soft.

What Lovegrove attempted to do in his study was to replicate the conditions in a sentencing court and then see whether there was still a large percentage of people who were tougher than the courts - and get an idea of people's sense of justice.

Lovegrove examined 32 different groups of people from workplaces across Victoria and asked participants to consider four different offences including rape, armed robbery, theft and assault. After the details of each offence were explained by a sentencing judge, the participants were asked to consider relevant mitigating factors and impose a sentence, before hearing the real sentence imposed by the courts.

"On balance, the public were less severe than the courts," Lovegrove said.

"[We] found a wide range of factors that people will mitigate on," he said. "In terms of culpability they seemed to understand how human weakness or challenging personal or social circumstances could make a half decent person do something [wrong]."

Lovegrove also discussed the importance of gaining insight into the public's sense of justice and claimed there is too much public debate focused on public opinion. "The public opinion is clear - the courts are too lenient. What the courts ought to be applying, in my view, is a public sense of justice. That's more subtle and not nearly as severe as is generally thought in the community," he said.

The results of Lovegrove's research will be published in an article appearing in the British journal Criminology and Criminal Justice.

- Briana Everett

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

Victoria's sense of justice not so severe
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Unite
07:04
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...