Law Oration 2018 - Are Courts Soft on Crime? Lessons from the Victorian Jury Sentencing Study

Law Oration 2018: Are Courts Soft on Crime? Lessons from the Victorian Jury Sentencing Study

Presented by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania

Please note: The Law Oration took place on August 21 at the Supreme Court of Victoria. A live video of the event and Her Excellency's speech can be found here.

Sentencing and related issues frequently make news headlines and can be politically controversial. In particular there is often a perception that some sentences handed down by judges are lenient and are not representative of community views.

The Victorian Jury Sentencing Study, led by Her Excellency the Honourable Professor Kate Warner AC, took a closer look at the differences between judges’ and juries’ sentences.

By surveying almost a thousand jurors from County Court trials, the study explored jurors’ views on a range of issues related to sentencing including severity, purposes, aggravating and mitigating factors and sentencing discretion.

Using jurors as a sub-category of public opinion, the study’s findings challenge the perception that the community is clamouring for harsher sentences across the board and provide interesting insights into sentencing issues from a lay perspective.

The 2018 Law Oration will explore the results of this study and their implications for the criminal justice system. Held in the wonderful surrounds of the Banco Court, this free event will provide a unique opportunity to hear from one of the most renowned minds in sentencing reform in Australia.

About the 2018 Law Orator

Victoria Law Foundation’s 2018 Law Oration will be delivered by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania.

Prior to her appointment as the Governor of Tasmania in 2014, Her Excellency has had a distinguished career in law research and teaching, with special focuses on sentencing and law reform. She was both a Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania, and Director of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute.

Her Excellency’s research interests included Sentencing and Criminal Justice, and her teaching interests included Criminal Law, Evidence, Criminology and Sentencing. Since her appointment as Governor of Tasmania, she has continued her research in Sentencing.

Her Excellency’s published research includes Sentencing in Tasmania (1991), which has since become an indispensable tool for judges and magistrates. She is a member of the editorial boards of Current Issues in Criminal Justice; Women Against Violence; and the Criminal Law Journal. She contributed the annual Sentencing Review to the Criminal Law Journal from 1998 until 2014. Related to her role with the Tasmania Law Reform Institute, she has written a number of papers and reports for the Board.

Read Her Excellency’s full professional biography.

About the Law Oration

Victoria Law Foundation’s annual Law Oration explores important legal issues that affect our lives and shape our community.

Learn more about past Law Orations.

Event information

Event date 
Tuesday 21 Aug 2018 – 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm


Banco Court, Supreme Court of Victoria
210 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000




Victoria Law Foundation
Tel: 03 96048100


Bookings essential
This page was last updated on August 22, 2018